Please enjoy this guest blog by my oldest-friend in the world, the newly-married Mr. Daniel Emas. We went to preschool together, and besides a tough patch in middle school when he stole my quote-journal, we’ve been friends ever since! He made the trek to Athens this fall to visit, and when Judge and I were eating at Cali-N-Titoes with him, we asked him to write a blog about the realities, joys and challenges of living with someone of the opposite sex forever. We laughed, we cried, we learned. Hope you do as well, faithful readers.
“I don’t know why, but I never struggled with a fear of commitment. The idea that I would get married and love my wife forever did not seem to scare me. Truthfully, I think it’s easy to love someone forever. Forever is an abstract idea, a distant future that a future version of myself will be more than equipped to handle. However, forever is only a sidekick to the much more intimidating “every single day”. Loving someone forever means that I love them every day, and loving them every day means I love them in this moment, and in ten minutes, and in four weeks, and when you are sleep deprived, and when your wife brings home a cat. In marriage, the ins and outs of loving and living with someone every day can be quite the surprise. Forever may get all the glory, but it’s in the every single day where the joy is found. With that being said, here are some things about the everyday I’ve learned in the first few months of marriage.
1. Sharing a bed with another human being every single night is amazing…and an obstacle to sleep.
The following is a running diary of a hypothetical Friday night spent sleeping in a bed with my wife.
11:00 PM We are both in bed. Our previous activities have left me quite tired, while unfortunately Caitlin is wide awake. I find it hard to drift off to sleep, while she her phone keeps vibrating every time she buys something on Amazon. She is purchasing items at a pace of one every forty five seconds.
11:20 I have finally overcome the noises of the phone, and have drifted off. Caitlin has run out of money, so she puts down her phone and decides it is time to cuddle. I jolt awake when touched by her ice hands.
12:45 I have finally entered into a deep sleep and begin to dream. In my dream, I am forced to fight a horde of zombies in order to pass a final in a class I didn’t know I had. In reality, I am flailing my arms and legs, both sending the blankets into chaos and occasionally making contact with my wife. Caitlin then wakes me to stop the madness. I struggle to return to sleep, somehow blaming her for this interruption.
2:10 Caitlin arises to use the restroom. I am awakened by the bathroom light, which seems to me at the time to be “Road to Damascus” bright. Both the light and my fondness of unnecessary Biblical metaphors delay my return to sleep.
4:30 I wake up freezing. I have only a sheet covering my body. Caitlin has a blanket covering her, and another blanket has been on the floor since the great zombie battle of 12:45. The floor seems a mile away to my tired self, so I move closer to Caitlin to get under her blanket. Despite my perceived subtlety, Caitlin awakens and misinterprets my movement as an attempt at affection, and sleep is delayed.
7:00- I wake up, for good this time, and spend a few minutes looking at my sleeping wife. I look long enough to appreciate her beauty, but stop before it gets serial killer creepy. I then attempt to inception her into making me breakfast when she wakes up. As usual, I fail, and she attempts to return to sleep as I leave the bedroom to start my day.
Married Man Tip #1- Keep a blanket underneath the bed on your side. That way if she takes all of the blankets, you can grab it as a back-up instead of debating whether to wrestle one away from her.
2. Your social calendar is booked forever the second you say “I do”.
Before I was married, I was convinced there was not enough time in the world to do all the things I needed to do, and spend time with all the people I wanted to spend time with. I had to fight to make sure I had enough time to do my job, get an adequate amount of sleep, maintain as many friendships as I could, spend time with Caitlin, see my family, and still have time left over to just enjoy some alone time. Upon getting married, I had to add all the items on Caitlin’s calendar to mine, and vice versa. Suddenly, I have to find time for her family and mine. Her friends are also apparently as important as mine to keep in touch and spend time with. On top of all that, a night with “no plans”, where it is just her and I in the apartment, is not only rare but cherished. Because time spent with just Caitlin and I is important and desired, it means that I am literally busy every night of my life. Everything that I do outside of my time with just her, means I have to cancel our hangout. I understand now why your wedding is the best day of your life; because you will never have that many friends again.
Married Man Tip #2- I am an individual who needs quality alone time every week to function. I love my wife, but I don’t always want to enjoy a cup of coffee and a book with Sister Wives as background noise. My advice: claim the mornings. Going to bed together is important (see above), so most nights are not going to be available for alone time. Be the person who gets up first, and enjoy as much of the morning as you can. If you get tired, you can always nap later and give her a little bit of alone time.
3. Seriously, don’t let your friends wind up with awful people.
Those who are married or in serious relationships always talk about the importance of “couple friends”. Couple friends (as in, being friends with another couple) are essential. However, I feel most people misunderstand their importance. It’s not so the man can have a man to talk to while the womenfolk gossip, as there are plenty of single people that are brilliant conversationalists no matter who is around. Couple friends are great because they understand the complexities of your new life. It’s not just common ground, it’s common expectations. Seeing a friend once a month seems low, but couple friends understand how busy your new life has become. They understand how staying home and making a summer salad and watching Chocolat with your wife is a valid reason to not leave the house.
Married Man Tip #3- You probably assume your couple friends will all be the friends you grew up with and their new significant other. This is unlikely, as schedules and distance will quickly separate many of your friends from you. Therefore, you have to constantly be finding new couple friends. Some things to consider:
1. Do either of them have a job that could benefit you (i.e mechanic or chiropractor)
2. Are they remotely interesting to talk to?
3. Do you think they will stay together? Know beforehand who’s side you are taking in case of split. (Some answers may surprise you!) (#TeamJudge)
4. Can you trust their advice and sincerely respect their opinions?
5. Are they so much more successful than you that you dread hearing their life updates?
6. Do they seem like they will be good parents or do you already know their kids will make you want to not be around them sometime in the future?
4. The word “clean” means different things to different people.
Since I do a large portion of work from home, there are certain expectations that go along with that in terms of domestic responsibilities. I do my best to keep the kitchen clean, take the garbage out, keep counters clear, etc. However, I have learned that I “lack attention to detail”. Talking to my other married friends though, I’m not the only one who doesn’t always Lysol the stove when cleaning the kitchen, or puts the decorative pillows in the wrong place on the couch (in my case, “the wrong place” is away in a closet). I’ve already been permanently banned from wrapping presents, and I’ve been told my attempts at making a bed are comical.
Married Man Tip #4- You will forget to do things you’ve been asked to do. This may or may not be a common occurrence, but always assume you did. Every week, do 2 or 3 things that are above or beyond her expectations. That way, when she points out something you forgot to do, you can simply apologize and point out something else good you did, highlighting that you are still a good husband, just forgetful sometimes. It should diffuse the situation, and allow you bonus time to do what she asked.
Final Thoughts- I had a couple more I thought about, but I figured I’d wait for the sequel to share them. Caitlin and I have been married for six months, and I couldn’t imagine that I would love her this much, or that marriage would be this much fun. And whoever you are reading this, my hope for you is that you discover or have discovered marriage to be this unique adventure of tremendous joy, and that you get to wake up every day in love with your life.”
Any other newly-married couples out there want to share some things they learned throughout their first year? Advice loved and appreciated