True life: I’m married! What’s marriage really like, three years in?


Photo: Courtesy Brett Baker Photo: Courtesy Brett Baker

I folded my husband’s laundry for the very first time when our marriage was just a few days old. I sat cross-legged on our mattress—which had no bed frame—and thought about how happy he’d be when he came home to see all of his clean clothes folded and put away. I was a good wife already, I thought. I had even ironed some of his dress shirts.

When I heard his car pull up, I ran to the front door and flung my arms around him dramatically like they do in the movies. I told him what I’d done.

You can imagine how deflated I felt as I watched my new husband retrieve, unfold, and re-fold all of his laundry because, as he said (in the kindest way possible), I hadn’t “done it quite right.”

You see, my brand new husband was 6’7″, and apparently there’s a certain way one must fold his shirts to make sure they all fit in the drawers instead of ramming up against the corners like a shop full of discount area rugs.

This is why they say the first year is the hardest, I think. It’s a peculiar cocktail of expectation, bliss, growing pains, and adrenaline. It takes just a little while to break it in, to realize that all arguing isn’t bad and that some expectations aren’t meant to be met; it’s O.K. if we each do our own laundry or don’t eat our dinners at our kitchen table most nights. It’s just fine that our favorite date nights include Chipotle, Netflix, and being in bed by 9:30pm.

It seemed to me that everything during that first year had to be a conversation. “How should we cook the eggs?” or “Where should we put the Christmas tree?”

One of my very favorite parts of marriage now is how all that can go unsaid. My husband knows that my attention span is too short to get the trash all the way to the outside trashcan, so when it’s sitting by the front door, he’ll silently take it out. And I know that, for some reason, when my husband vacuums the downstairs, he always forgets the kitchen. So I’ll be sure to do it instead.

Three years, one dog, two bad car purchases, the birth of one son, and thousands of loads of laundry later, we’ve found our year-three pace. And we’ve accepted that this complex relationship that we call a marriage will always be changing, growing, stretching and finding a way to get more comfy in our home.

So much can change in three years, although I do still meet him at the front door.