Archive for February, 2012
What Changes

After Ailish and I were engaged, I met up with a friend for tea. She got married in 2008, and I asked her what surprised her most about marriage. She said what most surprised her was how much more she loved her husband now than when she had married him.

This seemed unreasonable to me. In this day and age, relationships don’t work that way. People live together before they get married. They see each other every day. Heck, Ailish and I had bought a house together a year into our relationship. At that point, we were pretty significantly committed to each other, at least financially if nothing else. And everyone else I talked to said that nothing really changes when you get married.

Everyone else was wrong.

Sure, the day to day stuff does not change. You still have work to do. You still have bills to pay. If you are lucky, you still get Friday night dates. You’re probably both better at Settlers of Catan, but that comes from massive amounts of practice, it is not a skill imparted by the universe on your wedding day.

But you have a commitment to each other. You have a promise to look out for each other, to care for each other, to be partners for the rest of your lives. That brings security. You know you can get through the minor disagreements. Mistakes will be forgiven. Decisions can be made together. Crises shared. Sidewalks shovelled if someone stays out late. That commitment simply doesn’t exist until you say your wedding vows.

And with that commitment, with that partnership, once everything else falls away, you can love each other more than before. More than when you were dating, more than when you were engaged.

Ailish and I were married for less than nine months. I was not always the perfect husband, she was not always the perfect wife, though we tried. But we loved each other more in April than we did the prior August, when I was sure I could not possibly love anyone more. And I would have known her better and loved her more perfectly had we been sitting on our front step when we were 81 and 90, yelling at kids to get off our lawn (and shooting them with lasers). It did not work out that way, but I will always be immensely happy for the time we did have together.


I used to have long hair. But, since long before Ailish ever met me, I’ve kept it short. Really, really short. Every few weeks, it grows long enough to drive me crazy, and I shave it. An advantage to having a significant other is they can be recruited to shave your head. You see, it’s really rather difficult to get it all, especially on the back of your head. Ailish hated shaving my head.

You see, Ailish really would rather I’d have grown my hair out. Not long, you understand, but more than, say, an inch. Given how frustrated I would get with my hair, I doubt Ailish believed it was ever long. But she’d have been much happier had it been, say, “average short”. A few times, she tried simply refusing to shave my head, but it didn’t help. I simply would not compromise. I was quite capable of shaving it myself, it just wouldn’t be as neat. So, reluctantly, every few weeks, Ailish shaved my head.

Ailish also rather liked the ‘scruffy, unshaven’ look. In all fairness, it’s possible she actually preferred a full beard and mustache, but I never got that far. Every so often, I’d stop shaving. Ailish would notice and approve. But, you see, the problem was the kissing. Neck kisses were a particular favourite of hers and eventually, as I got more and more scruffy, Ailish would start to squeak and back away. And that was that. Looks are fine, but no way could looks get in the way of kissing.

If you find a picture of me in Montreal, you will see that my hair is slightly longer than normal, and I’m unshaven. That was planned.