10 Things That Have Surprised Me About Marriage

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10 Things That Have Surprised Me About Marriage

A year and a half ago, this handsome fox and I tied the knot.

And, as everyone had promised, that magical day really was just the starting line for bigger adventures to come.

It feels crazy, really, looking back on all that has happened in that short amount of time.  From finally moving in together after we got married, to fixing up and putting Barclay’s 120-yr-old house on the rental market, to jumping through a hundred hoops to get our Spanish visas, to sorting through and giving away nearly everything we both owned, to packing up what was left into a handful of suitcases for our big move, to saying good-bye to everyone and everything we loved back in Kansas City, to flying across the ocean with our two pups to begin this new chapter in Spain, to moving flats yet again a few weeks after we arrived, to making the most of cheap airline tickets and traveling around Europe as much as possible, to hosting nearly a hundred days of visitors here in Barcelona, to the endless daily adventures that have come with learning a new language, a new culture, a new social circle, and a new rhythm here in this country we call home — the past year and a half has been a wild and wonderful whirlwind, to be sure.

Still, our biggest adventure through it all has been just the ordinary, behind-the-scenes, everyday-ness of learning how on earth to be married. 

I feel like the two of us went into marriage fully “expecting the unexpected”, ready to pivot and learn and deal with lots of new curveballs that would be coming our way.  But to be honest, we’ve both been a bit surprised by how unsurprising marriage has been so far, in the best of ways!  Maybe it’s because we got married later in life and had already done some of the deep work to know our own selves well, maybe it was years of honest conversations and counseling together as a couple before we ever tied the knot, or maybe we’ve just been exceptionally lucky to have a relatively smooth ride thus far.  Whatever the reasons, both Barclay and I have been pleasantly surprised at how the transition into a new season of life together as the has felt like the most normal, natural thing in the world.

We’re love being married!

For sure, though, there have still been a few little surprises that we didn’t see coming with this whole marriage biz.  So in honor of Valentine’s Day this week, I thought I would dust off our old 10 Things I’ve Learned series and share a few.

Barclay and Ali Martin Wedding

10 Things That Have Surprised Me About Marriage

1. Just how much fun it is.

Last month during our Ask Ali Q&A on Instagram, someone asked what has surprised us the most about marriage.  And this was the first thing that popped into my mind — marriage is fun!

I know, it probably sounds like the most obvious thing in the world.  But in the months leading up to our wedding, both Barclay and I were amazed by how often people repeated the word “work” when giving us marriage advice — how much work it is, how to make this or that work, how the work will all be worth itso much work.  It’s all true, of course, marriage is undoubtedly work.  But here’s the thing — as two people getting married in our mid- and late-thirties, who had spent all of our adult lives watching most of our friends go through various stages of marriage, separation, divorce, and even loss — this wasn’t news to us.  If anything, we had ditched the rose-colored glasses about marriage long ago, and were already counting on a lifetime of constant, nuanced, loving work to make this marriage last.

What we didn’t hear many people talk about was how much sheer fun marriage could also be. ♡

Oh my gosh, you guys, I smile and laugh at home now more than I ever have in my life.  Usually in the tiniest, simplest, most ordinary everyday moments.  Whether it’s hitting the snooze button for a few extra minutes of groggy morning snuggles, to cracking up as our dogs lose their freaking minds when it’s time for breakfast, to texting an endless stream of inside jokes back and forth during the day, to cozying up on the couch while we finish our Spanish homework, to sharing that last pour of wine while we finish the dishes after a dinner party, to indecipherable end-of-the-day chats through mouthfuls of toothpaste — getting to live this married life together has just instantly added so many extra little sparks of joy to our days.  And over time, they’ve added up to create a vibe here in our home that feels so light and comfortable and fun.  I love it so, so much.
To be sure, we totally have our hard days too, when marriage does feel more like work.  But most of the time, I just feel so lucky to get to hang out with my favorite person in the world each day.  It’s the best.

2. My inner introvert isn’t overwhelmed by all of the togetherness.

I have to confess — one of my biggest worries going into marriage was how my super-introverted-self was going to handle all of the nonstop togetherness that comes specifically with living together.  Not to mention, living together in a brand new foreign country where we moved knowing hardly anyone.  And on top of that, working from home together five days a week in a tiny little European apartment.

As an introvert who has always loved keeping a pretty full social schedule with friends, I’ve always relied heavily on my solo time at home to rest and recharge my extroverted batteries between hangs.  So I was a little nervous about giving up most of that precious alone time when we got married.  Lol, so much so, that I even made Barclay sit down for a little nerdy pow-wow before we moved to brainstorm a list of possible ways that we could give each other space if someone (read: mostly me!) got overwhelmed.

Turns out, it’s all been surprisingly ok!  Actually, more than ok.  :)

I think that I completely underestimated the fact that:

  1. I was marrying a man who knows me (and can read me) incredibly well.  Like, he already knows that after a party, or a long day, or having hosted visitors for a few days, I’m totally going to be that girl who makes a beeline for the sofa and doesn’t want to go anywhere (or probably chat much) for the rest of the day.  And he’s cool with that, and is happy to give me space and not take it personally.
  2. I am capable of communicating my needs too. I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but I underestimated how easily I could just speak up (!!) if I need to stay in for the night, or go off into another room, or just in poke my earbuds and be in my own world for a few hours.  I’ve always felt comfortable doing that around my close friends, and also felt super-comfortable speaking up when Barclay and I were dating, so I’m not sure why I thought it might be harder in marriage.  But it’s quite the opposite — I think that any partner is always relieved to have the other speak up for what they need, rather than trying to read his/her mind.
  3. Hanging out with him is a completely different kind of social energy.  This was probably the biggest surprise of all.  I think I underestimated how hanging out with my husband is just a totally different kind of social energy than hanging with a group or even other close friends.  And also, how time spent just doing everyday life around the house with him now also feels notably different than the time we spent together when we were dating and engaged (<– when our time was focused more actively on hanging out on “dates”, versus being home together and often doing our own things).  Our life together as a married couple now just feels incredibly comfortable and easy and natural.  And I think because of that, it doesn’t require the extra extroverted energies I was expecting.

To be sure, I still really mega-enjoy those random hours when I get the house to myself.  Or when he’s out of town traveling, Barclay likes to joke that I don’t really start to miss him until the third or fourth day.  (Lol, not true, but also kind true.)  But in general, my introverted self gives marriage two thumbs up. ;)

3. Two words: fried eggs.

Gotta say — I had no idea until we got married that my husband’s fried egg game was so strong!  It has been a eggcelent surprise.

Also, gotta say that looks smokin’ hot first thing in the morning in the kitchen holding that sauté pan.

4. Opposites don’t always attract. 

For some reason, I think I’ve always had this subconscious idea that “opposites attract” when it comes to the not-so-fun adulting parts of marriage.  Like, I always assumed that there would be one partner who’s just naturally (and happily) better at figuring out tax stuff, one who would be better at keeping the plants alive, one at turning off the snooze button and rolling out of bed, one who’s good at home repairs, one at keeping up on mail/email/texts, one who likes to manage investments, one who’s really into lawn care, etc., etc.

Mmnm, nope. 😂 Turns out both of us are equally terrible at all of these things.

In retrospect, I’m sure this has always been the case with most couples.  Dad probably was never “better” at handling our family’s finances — he just took that responsibility on decades ago, and figured it out as he went.  Mom was probably never “better” at grocery shopping and meal planning — she just stepped up to the plate and taught herself how to cook the kinds of food she wanted to feed her family.

Here in our new marriage, we’re still in the experimental stages of how exactly to divvy up those responsibilities.  For example, dread them as I do, I’m newly in charge of taxes for two people.  As much as he loves hitting the snooze button, Barclay drags himself out of bed first in the morning (and bonus, brings me coffee in bed!).  We also made a joint new year’s resolution to make ourselves read some finance books and try to learn more about investing.  And together, we have concluded that we have zero interest in tackling more home remodeling projects in our life, ha, so we have agreed to just always live enough below our means that budget in a contractor when we need one.

I will note that — as two individuals who were single for the first long stretch of our adult lives — we both thankfully have at least moderate experience with the full spectrum of adulting responsibilities.  But if you come over to our house and notice that all of our plants have accidentally died, well, you can know that we’re both to blame.

5. This whole marriage thing still often feels surreal.

Even a year and a half into this marriage business, I’m surprised at how I forget that we’re husband and wife.

Like, I still wake up many mornings and turn to see him sleeping next to me and think, “Oh yeah…we’re married now!”  Or I’ll catch myself calling Fiona “his” dog or Henry “mine”.  Or I’ll be listening to friends talk about being single and start nodding along, still feeling like I still am too.  Or, perhaps most often, I’ll hear someone mention the Martins, and completely space off that they’re referring to us.  (This whole name change business is still weird!)

Most of the time, it does seem real.  But this whole “feeling married” thing was definitely not a flip-of-the-switch kind of thing.  It’s all still sinking in.

6. We go through impressively more…



…than either of us ever expected.

Lol, deep down, I think that Barclay still doubts that women really need that much toilet paper.  (And doubts that the middle-of-the-line tp is worth the “splurge” over the cheap, papery stuff.)  Likewise, I still marvel at our ever-growing pile of clothes in the laundry basket.  I mean, I know men’s clothes are bigger, but still.  :)

7. Our issues are still our issues.

When Barclay and I first started seeing a therapist together years ago, I think that I imagined that with enough work, we would eventually be able to “get past” most of our main sources of tension/conflict.

Turns out, our main issues are still our main issues.

Or, as our therapist calls them, our “unsolvable problems.”

We’ve actually come to find the idea quite freeing — that every couple (or every relationship, really) has a few core tensions that will probably never really be “solved” or disappear.  And that that’s ok.  The goal instead is to find healthy ways to hold those tensions as a couple, and better communicate through them.  It’s not always easy, of course, and I know that we’re just young pups as a couple and have decades more to learn about this.  But even in our first year and half of marriage, it’s been cool to watch us slowly getting better at navigating some of our own “unsolvables.”  And learn how to better give more grace to ourselves as individuals and as a couple.

8. What it’s like to have a caregiver.

From the moment I first met Barclay, I was blown away by the depth of his compassion, generosity, and caring heart for the world.  But I have to say, being on the receiving end of that kind of love — especially when it comes to the day-in, day-out, inconvenient, non-glamorous needs that can come with chronic pain — gosh, it still brings tears to my eyes each time I think about it.

He has simply been amazing

I honestly had never let myself imagine that someone else could step so fully into that space in my life.  And more, that someone like him could do so day after day, week after week, year after year with such patience and generosity.  (Like, he’s the man who is actually happy to offer me my 1000th back rub.  And spins doctors visits into “dates.”  And regularly breaks out in sweats because he insists on sherpa-ing both of our suitcases everywhere we go.)  His steady care behind the scenes is one of the most powerful gifts I’ve ever experienced.  And while it’s still hard for me at times to not feel guilty that I was the one who brought this challenge into our marriage — a challenge, no less, that will probably only get harder with time — I’m slowly learning how to receive and believe this love.  I’m so grateful for it everyday.

9. Europeans think we’re crazy.

Specifically, when we mention that we got married almost exactly two years after our first date.  Most of our European friends’ eyes grow wide as they exclaim, “Really?!  You only knew each other for two years?”

People in Europe definitely tend on average to wait much longer to get married.  Which has definitely been a bit of a change coming from the Midwest, where waiting for two years seemed like — oh — an eternity.

10. The “little stuff” still doesn’t get old.

More than anything, I feel like the best surprise of marriage has been the simple fact that all of the tiny everyday things I was looking forward to with our life together really are just as sweet and as wonderful as I had hoped.  Like, I still can’t get over the fact that he wakes up early to bring me coffee each morning.  And I still smile seeing his clothes in the closet next to mine.  And I still appreciate having him as my dog-walking date, and still grin each time I pass by our mailbox labeled “Señor y Señora Martin,” and still love sitting side by side with our laptops to book tickets for our next adventure, and still get butterflies in my stomach anytime he pulls me in for a kiss.

I had hoped that I would never come to take any of these things for granted in marriage.  And at least so far, they haven’t lost their magic.  I’m so thankful for this chance to experience it all.  And grateful, as ever, for him. ♡♡♡

Ali and Barclay Martin Wedding in Kansas City

How about you?  Any surprises to share?

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56 comments on “10 Things That Have Surprised Me About Marriage”

  1. Aw, I love everything about this post. We’re in our second year of marriage too and I relate on so many levels! :)

  2. I loved this post! We are preparing for our wedding in September and it was refreshing to read. Thanks!

  3. I adore this post! Haha, I also completely agree about the dramatic increase in laundry (and grocery bills). :)

  4. Bravo!!!!!!! This is just fabulous!!!!! Love on!!!

  5. My surprise: It just keeps getting better and better. It’s hard to believe on your wedding day that it could get any better, but after 15 years and two kids, I can say that its so true! Enjoy the ride! ;-)

  6. Ali, I love this post so much, especially your first point. I’m always a little annoyed at married folks’ insistence on calling marriage hard work first and foremost when describing that relationship, like, love can’t be real if it’s easy. Or, unless you’re working at it, you’re not really committed. As a single person, I’ve always wondered why married people seemed to insist on managing my expectations down, if I indicated that I would like to be married. “Oh, be careful what you ask for, ” they say. “It’s soooo hard, and so much work!” It’s awesome to read words from someone who finds being in a lifelong commitment to your best friend and mate as enjoyable, of all things. Quelle surprise! :)

  7. Forty years on and still learning new things about my spouse. Always a surprise lurking somewhere. I hope you’ll always be as happy as you are now 40 years down the road! We are!

  8. Oh my gosh – the toilet paper (of all things) really hit home LOL! My husband tried to insist we buy cheap stuff for a while and finally I had to put my foot down. Some of the little things are hilarious!

    Love your content on the blog and instagram !!


  9. I love the idea of “unsolvable problems.” Every relationship definitely has its share!

  10. My husband and I have been married for 12 years but both were married before for 14+ years. I think the most wonderful thing that has happened in this second marriage that never happened in my first, is the peace found by allowing us to have unsolvable problems. We will sometimes run into those problems and watching us handle them so calmly and lovingly is such a gift.

    • I’d like a tip or two on handling the “unsolvable problems” We are also second marriages. Married now 17 years. It’s a struggle. Thank God for my faith…….

    • This one is for MK
      The book “Love and Respect” broke it down for my hubby and I. We are both strong willed independent people who can get into arguments easily with each other. This book helped us understand each other better, communicate better when friction does enter the picture, and now we are 15 years married and so deeply in love and happy. Some people are easier to live with. My husband and I aren’t those people. Hahaha. Learn yourself, accept and love your spouse for who they are, and work on your own areas and don’t worry about their areas. Working on marriage doesn’t have to be drudgery. Working on marriage can be the wrong phrase. Perhaps growing in marriage. . It is growing in love towards each other. Each day is a chance to grow closer.

  11. So happy that you are so happy!

  12. So sweet! Love is the best! I can totally relate to the “marriage is work” thing. I have never felt that marriage is work and I used to think that maybe my husband and I are weird because of that, so thank you for mentioning it. When people talk about marriage being work, I can’t relate and it makes me feel almost bad, like there must be something wrong with our marriage if it’s easy. Which makes no sense – it’s like we’re conditioned to believe that love should be hard when, sure, it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Anyways, that point just really resonated with me.

  13. My biggest surpriise is that here we are.. 37 years later, and still going strong. The time has flown by in the best way. My husband asked me just a couple of days ago, do you know what today is. Well I didn’t lol, but he told me it was the anniversary of or first date.. 40 years ago!! What a life weve shared in between. Be happy,, Ali. Enjoy each and every moment because it is truly a once in a life time thing.

  14. I have to just second the part about how even after 5 years of marriage my husband still comments on the excessive amount of toilet paper we buy (mind you: it’s NORMAL). And I would definitely agree that there is more laundry!

    And as a fellow introvert I tend to agree – the spousal togetherness isn’t the same social energy. But I do have times where I have to tell my husband “Give me ten minutes. Don’t look at me, don’t talk to me, don’t even be in the same room,” when I’ve had a long day and he nods and leaves :)

  15. How sweet! Me and my fiance have been living together for about 3 years and I feel the same way!! It’s not overwhelming – it is a mutual nurturing experience where we take care of each other using what strengths and qualities we have in each of us. I love that you are taking the time to appreciate the small things! <3

  16. I love this Ali. After almost 28 years of marriage, there are fewer surprises, but a lot more love and more “now that’s a t-shirt” sayings. We love being together, P an introvert, me an extrovert, and we’ve figured out the dance. The biggest blessing of all, our 3 kids. Love you and Barclay so much. XO

  17. When you marry your best friend, it’s not “work” at all. But the two of you have to work together to iron out issues that come up, learn that differences in how you each were raised aren’t necessarily bad. We are kind of the opposite of you guys. We married at 19, and grew up together! You always have to respect each other, talk things out, sometimes compromise. You support each other when times are hard; when kids are having difficulties, you work through it together. You put that person before yourself many times; leave the last biscuit for him/her; pull their clothes out of the dryer first and hang up.

    We will celebrate 50 years in December.

  18. Thank you so much for sharing today! My husband and I have been married for 17 years. Yikes!
    God bless you always.

  19. My husband and I have been married 52 years. We got engaged on our second date (all in one week). People said it wouldn’t last LOL. I can’t remember a day when he didn’t tell me he loved me. And now that he has Alzheimer’s, he may have forgotten a lot of things but never our relationship right from the beginning. No matter what the circumstances, we have been devoted to one another. And although he has advanced Alzheimer’s, he never forgets to tell me he loves me many times a day, and thanks me for taking care of him. There are times when I am exhausted, mentally and physically, but I wouldn’t trade one moment . He is my husband, friend and lover. As far as surprises – well, we’ve had quite a few, some good and some bad. But we’ve always managed to laugh and roll with the punches. Many blessings to you both. Enjoy those little surprises along the way.

    • God bless you and your husband, Mrs. Frasher! Happy Valentine’s Day! <3

    • Mary Ann: You are a heroine, as all caregivers are. My mom had Alzheimer’s as well and my dad lovingly cared for her until the day she passed away. They were married over 60 years. In the end, she didn’t know him anymore, but lovingly called him “the guy who takes care of me.” Blessings to you each day. Remember to take care of YOU, Mary Ann; so you can continue to take care of your dear hubby. Alzheimer’s is “The Long Goodbye,” as it is called. Bless your heart, Mary Ann.

  20. You have blessed more than most. I am pleased to hear about a modern day Cinderella story!

  21. I loved this post! I found myself nodding along at many of your TEN THINGS. And guess what? My husband and I met when we were 17 and 18, dated 5 years, and now will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary this fall.
    In so many ways, I still feel SO lucky, because we still are giddy in love after all this time. And he still writes me little love notes every morning that he puts next to the full coffee pot before he leaves for work as I’m still asleep.
    But—Along with years and years of happiness, we have had our share of hurt and sadness and misunderstandings over these many years—-and I think the “work” of marriage people refer to is “working” to keep communication open; “working” on not taking a loving spouse for granted; or even “working” on a schedule that allows you to be together for alone time when you are in the midst of raising children. The “work” of marriage isn’t negative—it’s just what it is, a necessary part of two people living together, and should seamlessly integrate into one’s daily lives.
    My final bit of advice: no matter how angry or hurt, or stressed, or tired one might be—treat each other with respect. ❤️

  22. Reading this made my day and brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful relationship.

  23. I loved reading this post. My husband and I are 10.5 years into our marriage, and it feels about the same as yours. I have finally gotten used to the name change. I believe it really does help to be older when you marry. In our case, it’s my husband who has the pain issue – bone spurs in his left hip socket – which has slowed us down quite a bit, to my sorrow. The thing we enjoy doing most while we’re at home is volunteering at our local state park, taking tours out, and he just can’t do as much of that as he did even a year ago. It’s very hard watching him be so uncomfortable with walking. There are indeed some issues that don’t go away, but if you are committed to your marriage, I think you’ll find that even they become easier to deal with. The one thing I hope we never lose is our ability to be silly. That, more than anything else, keeps us laughing. And we laugh a lot. May you and Barclay continue to laugh a lot and enjoy marriage!

  24. After 22 years we still feel the same way! We have worked together for the last 20 years…24 hours a day which my husband says he gets extra credit, LOL. Just last week someone told my husband (when I went to the ladies room) we looked like teenagers the way we were talking and looking at each other at the bar! I still love waking up next to him. Blessings to you and your husband.

  25. Wow! So great to read such a positive post on marriage! Thanks! As many have said it just gets better…after 45 years, 2 kids, & 6 Grands , it is better! Wishing you many more years together!

  26. Sweet! Nice to hear such positive thoughts about your marriage! Congrats, may you have many more adventures together!

  27. I’ve been married 9 years and what surprises me the most is how fast the time has gone by. We’ve had so much fun together! Enjoy every moment because it goes by faster then you think it will.

  28. When I read this, tears of joy for you welled in my eyes. I love the recipes I have tried so far and love following your adventure. Thanks so much for sharing your recipes and your amazing love and life!

  29. THE LAUNDRY!! Wow that is so real, thought it was just my husband. We recently expated to Rome and I have never hated his laundry as much as I do now with small European washers and hang drying. LOL

  30. I loved this post so much. Thank you for sharing!

    My husband and I have been married for a little over 3 years. We dated 5 years before we got married and moved in together after we got married. My biggest surprise is that even when we’re in a fight (and that happens often because I’m an opinionated girl lol), I still want to be with him. I still want to sit on the couch next to him, even if things are still tense after a disagreement. Good or bad, he’s my person :)

  31. Haha! My husband also can’t believe how much toilet paper we go through. Glad to hear that it’s not just me! :-)

  32. Lovin’ your love story, especially on St Valentine’s Day!

  33. Hi,
    Happy Valentine’s Day. I have been married for 40 years… we are retired, have a lot in common, share the same interests and have not tired of each other yet. We do lots of exploring and traveling.

    I have a question on a recipe – did not see any other way to reach you to ask it. I want to make your pulled pork in my instant pot for my husband’s 70th birthday in March. Your recipe says serve immediately. But I want to make it the day before, refrigerate it, then reheat for the party. Is there any problem with doing that? I will also be making bbq beef, shredded chicken, salads, cleaning the house, decorating, etc. so don’t want to save everything to do for the day of the party. Please let me know. Thanks.

  34. Awww. I loved this line: “…and still get butterflies in my stomach anytime he pulls me in for a kiss.”

    This post was wonderful. Thank you for sharing this. It was so fun and inspiring to read!!

    May you still “get butterflies” 50 years from now!

    (I have a feeling you will :)

  35. What a great and encouraging post. I have been happily married for 32 years and I had never heard the term “unsolvables”. It is a perfect term for those things we just don’t see eye to eye on and never will. They don’t have to be the reason for splitting up. Thank you for sharing such a valuable truth. Best of luck to you and your husband.

  36. This was such a great post!!!

  37. I loved reading this! We’re a year into marriage, also in our mid-thirties, and all of those little moments are just the best. I’m so glad that you and Barclay finally found one another.

  38. As someone with chronic migraines (at 36), I completely relate to your words about being cared for by a spouse. It’s the most humbling, sacred thing in the world to have someone be there with you in your pain.

    And laundry!! SO TRUE. ;)

  39. When you find a partner that you can share your life with, it helps you in all the ways you mentioned. One more is that you can relax about knowing that at the end, when you will be truly alone again, you had the best trip getting there.

  40. This is such a lovely blog post! You two are made for each other, enjoy the ride.

  41. I needed to hear #7 today!! Thanks!!!

  42. Yes! I resonate with all of this. I remember especially when we were first married that it felt so much easier and more fun than everyone ever told us. We’ve been married for nine years now and I still think all of these things are true!

    • I will also say that we got married when we were in our early twenties, and I love that we got to grow up together, in some ways. We figured all the adulthood stuff out together and because our lives hadn’t been established yet, we grew together.

  43. Thanks for writing this! As a fellow introvert (who has lived independently for nearly 8 years now and LOOVES her own space), it calmed my mind and heart to read your marriage feedback. It also sounds like you’re incredibly happy which is also a wonderful thing to read! :)
    On a totally different note – up until a couple years ago, I had a lot of anxiety and mental blocks around investing. It seemed complicated, and intense, and very rigid (not a lot of room for mistakes). Then I came across a couple of resources that have helped me SO much – the Her Money podcast with Jean Chatzky really opened my eyes and made everything seem so much less scary. From there I got really interested in investing so I read a bunch of articles on Learnvest.com (really great for financial planning and financial information on a bunch of topics) and InvestorJunkie.com (crazy helpful website for all things investing). I also got Investing in Your 20s and 30s for Dummies and Personal Finance for Dummies. I don’t know where you are in your investing journey, but hopefully some of those resources help you!

  44. I love that you’ve posted this at this time of year. Yes, because it’s Valentine’s Day, but you’re recognizing one AND A HALF years of marriage. That half is important, as is every day.

    My husband and I got married on 2-12-12 (2012), a date that truly came to me in a dream; it seemed perfect because we have a palindrome thing (easy to remember!) and, if we do happen to forget (oops), we can fix it two days later. (Oh, plus it’s Abraham Lincoln’s actual birthday, a truly good person in our history.)

    We just celebrated our 7th anniversary, but we’d been together for 28 years before that (1983). Even so, there was a difference after we actually “did it.” Our bond is stronger and our concern/love for each other is deeper, and that”little stuff” becomes even more appreciated. But yes, those “unsolvable problems” (just basic differences, maybe? Skimpy TP v. Charmin’? Over/under? Mayo v. Miracle Whip?) will probably never go away. I’ve come to generally accept them (or at least, I’ve given up pointing them out, as has he). Mostly.

    What I still marvel at, altho maybe not every day, is that there is a person here on earth who still wants to spend time with me (even when I don’t want to spend time with myself), who is smart enough to understand when I need to be by myself, who will not necessarily accept my “constructive criticism” when offered but will come back later and recognize my point (often, not always), but who, most importantly, loves me, accepts me, and can make me laugh louder and more deeply than anyone I know. It’s the “laugh factor” that will get you through the night. Yeah, that long cold dark one.

    Marriage IS hard but, yes, amazingly, it’s worth it. Congratulations, YAY, and much love to both of you!!

    Oh, and your wedding was not only so beautiful, it just looked like it was a lot of fun. See, the laugh + fun factor, it keeps you goin’., so go for it.

  45. I loved this post! I can relate to a lot of it, especially that marriage is easier than I expected. I’m quite sure that I’m not responsible for that. I was fortunate to find a cheerful, relaxed, agreeable spouse who really cares for us. We’ve been together for 25 years and married for 22. Wow! It’s shocking to even type that!

  46. Hi there,
    I am a new reader to GimmeSomeOven. I found you when looking for a Fried Rice Recipe. Wow! that recipe is amazing. I’m 54 and have never made a better Fried Rice dish EVER! Then I started delving deeper in your website, your narrative.
    I feel like a found a blessing, a gift. I married my husband and age 39 and he was 40; neither one of us had been married . We went to counseling for nearly 4 years before we married to work on our “issues” before we married. We have now been married 15 years. We still see a counselor. Ya know what? I adore the couple we are more and more with each year. We also are bad at most of the same things. :)
    Thank you for your honestly, joy, fun and recipes.
    I’ve never posted on blog; other than FB. You and yours are so inspiring that I just had to this time.

  47. Your life seems a little similar to mine. I moved from Australia to Japan with my boyfriend and two cats in 2012. Since then we’ve gotten married, moved back to Australia for a little, came back to japan for another 3 years and are now planning to go back home for good. Moving countries with a partner and pets is tough but it’s the type of challenge that strengthens a relationship.

    I was really young when I got married (23) so I was admittedly a bit nervous about such a huge commitment but at that point I felt like moving countries together was a bigger deal than signing a paper. And I was right! Married life is great! Not much changed really except now I have a pretty ring and I check the “mrs” box on forms now. We just celebrated 5 years of marriage the other day :)

  48. This post was so sweet to read. I’ve been married for six months now; it’s funny to me to read that even at a year and a half, the fact that you’re married didn’t really sink in yet. I know that feeling! So surreal and wonderful. My husband and I were actually together for almost years before marrying (met at 20, married at 27). Even still, marriage seems to have brought so much newness, so many new ways to understand each other. I adore my husband and love being married. In a world that seems to be so cynical toward marriage, and well over half of all marriages end in divorce, it’s refreshing to read about someone so enthusiastically in love with their spouse.

  49. This is beautiful. 💜

  50. After 21 years of marriage, we still part with a kiss and hug as if we may not meet again. And when we come together again, we hold each other so tight, and feel the energy flow between us. 21 years seems like yesterday. We don’t believe opposites attract. We are so in tune and so alike that there is never any friction. We share love, respect, friendship and trust. Marriage is wonderful.