How is married life? – the impossible question

Since getting married three months ago, one of the most popular questions of me is, “How is married life?” This question is one that always makes me a little giddy, but at the same time a bit befuddled.

Befuddled? Well, it’s kind of a difficult question to answer, when I think about it. For one, not much as far as my relationship has seemed to change, except that now we live together and have earned the titles of husband and wife. The simplest and most immediate answer that I can and often do give, is that married life is fantastic. I wake up every day next to the boy I fell in love with when I was fifteen years old. I miss him every day I have to spend at work. We watch sitcoms together every evening from the comfort of our own couch, in our own living room, in our own apartment. I make him dinner, and he fixes my computer.

But that’s not all that life has held since I got married, and I think most people would be skeptical of me if I tried to argue that it was. So what else could I tell someone who asks the inevitable, “How is married life?” For me, getting married has entailed the additional life steps of moving out and living independently from my parents. On top of that, only a couple weeks before the wedding I began my first full-time, real-life, pertinent-to-my-college-major job. Thus, “married life” for me is waking up Monday through Friday at 6:30 in the morning, driving in rush hour traffic back and forth from the office, sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day, watching what seems like half my paycheck disappear to taxes and benefits, paying for rent, utilities, food, internet, and a wild assortment of other things you never think about when you’re dependent on your parents, cooking dinner, keeping our place clean, and collapsing into bed by 10:30. It’s all very adult. It’s not quite what you imagine life to be when you’re still living in your childhood bedroom and planning for the seemingly distant future. But it’s still pretty great, once you get past all the disappearing money and lack of free time.

It’s like the saying goes, “It’s the simple things in life.” Or something like that. It’s having our own couch and living room, where we can do what we want and not worry about interruptions. It’s spending weekends in their entirety together, from morning to night, and not having to worry about driving across town to see each other (not to mention traveling 850 miles to see each other as in our long-distance years). It’s buying the groceries I prefer and making what I feel like eating for dinner. It’s experimenting with recipes. It’s watching the sun rise from my living room in the morning. It’s staring at our framed wedding photos lining our walls.

The simple things. They’re actually the most notable about my newly “married life.” But since I can’t go into such detail during small talk, here is where I can really lay it out, even trying to understand for myself what “married life” really means.

I guess it means all of the above. It may also mean dealing with my husband leaving his wet towel on the bed after he showers, and forgetting food on the counter that should be put away. Perhaps also my leaving cabinets open and the both of us allowing our dirty clothes to pile up until it drives one of us crazy. Even further, it’s balancing family time with our time, and putting in the effort to be social, when we often just feel like holing up together like hermits.

But really, it’s all pretty awesome. Perhaps the next time someone asks me how “married life” is, I’ll say, how is it to live with your best friend? Daily chats, comfortable silence, sometimes irksome, most times a party, blasting music, fighting over the remote? It’s just like that. But better.