Very frequently in the following months to your wedding you are asked, "how is married life?". My response is always, "it is not much different than engaged life. If anything, Kate feels quite different because she has to change her name in 90 different places..."
I may have oversimplified a little. A whole lot has changed. My life has gotten better in many ways.
This past week I participated in my first holiday season being married. It was full of new experiences mixed with the old traditions and turned out to be quite a time. So, did it all go well or was it a scene out of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation?
Here are just a few things that were different this holiday:
- I had the opportunity to be in a new "family photo".
- Traveled more then ever (13 hours; Boston>South Jersey>Catskill, NY>Central MA>Boston)
- Spent actual Christmas with Kate's family (the infamous "taking turns" with the holiday)
- Experienced new "Wilson traditions"
- Brought "Wolf traditions" to the Wilson's.
- Was able to open present with our wonderful dog Bipsy!
- Was able to see and spend time with more family then ever before.
- Received a ton of gift cards
- Woke up the latest I have ever woken up to unwrap presents (9am opposed to 6am)
- Gave out more "holiday thank you hugs" than ever before.
- Was warmly welcomed to spend part of the holidays in 5 different homes.
- Increased my New England sports gear by 300% on Christmas day (thanks Ellen!)
Based on these 12 things, I think it went pretty amazing. It really drove home the value of family, relationships, and our need for connection. Still, no matter how great this all feels the reality is also in the challenge of adapting to your new normal and change. The change in how you used to celebrate holidays and the people you spent it with.
I would be lying if I were to say it was easy to leave my family on Christmas Eve and not spend Christmas and my sister's birthday with her for the first time in my life. I can finally understand the challenges newly married couples face when it comes to the "splitting" the holidays. This really tests the true the essence of marriage; support, flexibility, and compromise. Compromising does not mean giving up something you enjoy (although that may happen), it means to get through something and reach an agreement with your partner that has its own intrinsic benefits. During this specific change for me, the support from both families was amazing, completely appreciated, and ultimately made our first married Christmas a successful one.
I can't thank Dave and Ellen enough for welcoming me into their family in such a genuine way, while also thanking my parents for being so supportive in some of the changes that marriage brings your way as well.
Change is a complicated matter when it comes to humans, they either really love it or hate it. If it requires effort, they hate it. If it provides pleasure, they love it. If there is no perceived problem, there is no big change. Sometimes you don't know what direction to head in, or it doesn't excite you to make changes. Once you are able to see that every ounce of effort is worth the change you are making, it is a no brainer. The value of change and growth is overwhelming and the support is monumental.