People always say that marriage will change you, but I didn’t really know how it would change me until it happened. Having several years on my own, I felt pretty set in my habits and personality, so I knew some of that would change. And of course, there’s the proverbial “learning how selfish I am” lesson.
But the thing that has surprised me most is how vulnerable I feel.
There are two places I notice this the most. The first is in my fear. When I was single it rarely bothered me to live alone, travel alone, go home alone, answer the door alone. Now that I’m married, I feel more fear when I’m home alone at night or traveling alone. I’m not saying that I’m terrified and make Nick stay with me every second, just that I notice more fear than I used to.
I wonder if this has to do with some sort of unconscious defense mechanism- if I allowed myself to feel afraid when I was single, I would have either always been afraid or never taken risks.
The second area is in my ability to feel love. Since I married Nick I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the strength of my feelings of love towards him. It’s interesting because I remember friends talking about loving their boyfriends, and I never really felt that overwhelming, knee buckling, heart melting love before marriage.
Even the decisions to date and marry Nick were very much logical ones that I made mostly with my rational brain (I specifically remember conversations with friends where I told them that I loved the man Nick was and enjoyed spending time with him, but I didn’t feel that overwhelming love feeling people often talk about). It’s not that I didn’t love Nick, but that I was still holding back my full feelings out of- I presume- some sort of self-preservation or fear of being hurt or used. I was just so used to taking care of myself and not letting anyone else touch me emotionally. It took marriage to fully trust and lean into Nick- therefore learning to love and receive his love in a real way.
It’s a very interesting feeling, this deep love, and I suppose you could just say that it’s still the “honeymoon phase,” but it feels like something much stronger.
It feels like I’ve opened a door I can never shut.
A door that makes me more vulnerable to pain than I have ever been,
But a door that also opens me to more love than I’ve ever felt.