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.

Christopher Thompson
February 14th, 2012 8:36 PM

All relationships, and particularly all marriages, have their ups and downs. But I also know with absolute certainty I would never have left Ailish.

Christopher Thompson
February 14th, 2012 8:37 PM

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Monique Pablo
February 19th, 2012 7:11 PM

You couldn’t have put that any better Chris. And I guess that’s why you’re still hurting so much. Because you really know what it is to love someone with all your heart and to have found your perfect match. I hope that one day soon you can find peace.

Lonna Cunningham
May 1st, 2012 4:19 PM

You’re right, Chris – the vow changes something. Somehow, it just does.

You and Ailish had something absolutely magical. I am glad that you have had the chance to know this magic in your life … and sorry that the time was so brief.

Your love for Ailish inspires me, even now.

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