Marriage is a continuous learning experience, no matter what the relationship was like beforehand. Some people date for only a few months, some people date for years, some people commit to living together before tying the knot. As common as this is for many relationships, none of those situations explain what my husband and I went through before marriage.
We were in a unique situation: we went from a four year long distance relationship to getting married immediately after. There was no time spent in between going on regular dates and there was no time spent living together. We were apart and then we were really, really together.
Now we have been married for four months! This is the most time that I have ever spent with my husband. It finally feels like everything is how it’s supposed to be. Life is far different, but infinitely better than I ever imagined it would be. It has been an incredible journey so far, full with countless joyous experiences and endless learning
It was quiet the transition from a long distance relationship to marriage. Every couple will experience that transition in different ways. But for everyone, the transition will be full of joy, a few reality checks, and countless lessons learned. These are a few of the little lessons that I have learned in the first few months of marriage after my long distance relationship.
We still have a lot of growing to do together… but that is the best part!
In the four years that we were apart, we both grew into two individual people. In many ways, we both changed from the people that we were before we started the long distance relationship. Even though we watched each other grow from afar, it is a different experience being together all the time. We still have a lot to learn about each other. But that really is the best part about finally being married. We know that we will support who the other has become, and that we will spend the rest of our lives growing together in marriage.
He will be busy.
Every time we visited one another during our long distance relationship, we made our time together our priority. We would set aside school, work, and other commitments for a few days to just enjoy our time together. That’s how it should have been. That is not how it is now. I always knew that he had a busy schedule, but sometimes is can be a little disheartening to step aside and understand that our time will come after everything else. But that is how it is, and that is what I signed up for. As much as I wish he could stay home and hang out with me all day, he is still an officer and a medical student. While I completely support and understand his busy schedule, it took a little while to get used to. But it also wonderful to know that at the end of the day, our time together is still as important as ever.
Be true to the person I have become.
I did a lot of growing when we were apart, and I am really proud of the person I have become. The purpose of marriage is for you to be yourself and completely trust that your partner will love and support that person unconditionally. When we were in our long distance relationship, there was no way for my husband to fully understand that person, simply because he wasn’t around me all the time the way he is now. When we were together, I wanted to impress him. The feeling was similar to going on a first date. But that isn’t the case now. I’m not trying to impress him all the time. I’m showing him and communicating to him who I am, and how to best support that person. I spent four years figuring out who I was, and I can’t let that change.
It is important to understand that expectations and reality can be very different.
Being apart, I did a lot of visualizing what life would be like when we were finally together. The reality is that it is nothing like I expected. That isn’t a bad thing, it’s actually better than expected! But it is also an eye opener when four years of visualizing turns out differently than anticipated. Throughout a long distance relationship, dreaming about the future is totally normal. It helped me get through the distance. But now that we are together, I cannot rely on my past dreams to guide me through the reality of the present.
Quiet time apart is totally ok.
I blog, he plays video games. I go in the bedroom and close the door, he stays on the couch. It isn’t because we’re mad at each or don’t want to be together. It’s because we also need that quiet time apart to focus on what we enjoy as individuals. When we were apart for four years, I wanted nothing other than to spend every second of every day with him. Granted we do spend 90% of our free time together now (we were in a long distance relationship after all, we have that right) but I also enjoy my time alone. It does not mean I love him any less!
Cooking dinner for him is extremely fulfilling.
I absolutely love the fact that I can take care of my husband now! I love serving him through the small act of making him dinner. I was never able to do that before. In fact, there was very little that I could do to take care of him when we were apart. I remember when he was grumpy about eating the food at West Point, or days when he was sick, and all I wanted to do was make him feel better. Now I have that opportunity, and I take advantage of it whenever I can!
Everything we do is an adventure!
Our first move, our first trip to the grocery store, getting our first pet… it was all so exciting because we never experienced that before! At least not together. Even as we explore town and make dinner, we are experiencing life’s little joys together. We waited so long for that, and it is so much fun to finally be in this position! And the best part is that we want to do everything together. We were apart for so long that even errands seem like a great way to spend time together.
I fall in love with him in ways that I never expected to.
As I am finally understanding what it is like to be with my husband and experience life with my husband, I am realizing that he has more qualities that I love than I ever knew! I find myself falling in love with all of his little habits. Sure some of them are slightly annoying or quirky, but they contribute to a personality that I am discovering and falling for every day.
Marriage is a constant learning experience, especially when there is so much to learn! But the best part is that, after all this time, we are learning about life together.