Probably the most over rated, disappointing and drastically changing period of marriage is during the first ten years. It is during these years that you systematically decide and figure out all the faults and annoying habits of the person you have decide to share your life with. Since so many of us get married before 30, it is also the time in your life where you are busy figuring out just about everything else about adult hood as well. It is during these years that we begin missing our youth and seeing all the mistakes we made or forks in the road where we may have possibly taken the wrong path.
The first year or the honeymoon period is an exact replica of the exact opposite that you will experience once you get a couple years under your belt. The sex, joyful conversation and laughter that saturates this honeymoon period will quickly dissipate into nagging, annoyances and rotten behavior. Eventually both spouses realize that there really is nothing that exciting about picking up after someone else and listening to them complain non-stop. We become snake like, shedding our skins to unveil our true self. Husbands finally get to see their wife in sweatpants without makeup more often than not and wives learn all the deep and disgusting details of their husband’s daily routine (or lack thereof).
While all this metamorphosis is going on we usually decide that we just have to add children to the mix. We take the fun out of sex by copulating with the sole purpose to produce offspring and then spend nine months trying to figure out what the hell we have done. When the kids begin to arrive they take the magic right out of the relationship and rather than admit that our spouses are boring and routine we keep adding more people to the house to try and make up for it. Finally, we lose all reason to speak to one another and actually have an excuse. Actually we begin to develop excuses for everything in the first ten years of marriage. We are too tired for sex, too busy to cook, too frustrated to make civil conversations, too broke to hire a babysitter and go out to dinner and getting too old to care anymore.
The kids are growing, the career paths are beginning to get paved, and the savings accounts may even start to begin adding up a little. We usually want things that we think will make us happy during this decade but quickly find out that the big home, fancy mini-van, Disney vacations, water craft and other things leave us pretty empty. After all it’s hard to enjoy things like this if there is no one to enjoy them with. Spouses are so wrapped up in making a living, making ends meet and making the children happy that weeks, months and years fly by until suddenly it’s your ten year anniversary. Not only can you not believe that you have been married ten years, you can’t believe that you have stayed married for that long either.
The anniversary night we begin to relic in our memories. We may take a look at our wedding photo or those hideous pictures from the hospital while our children were being born. We have nothing new to talk about so we continuously talk about the old. The old times, the old days or the old that we are beginning to feel. It can be like sitting across from a stranger whose eyes look familiar but whose hands don’t feel so. This can be a pivotal night. We can either decide to wake–up and realize that the fruit of our labors over the past ten years is a full culmination of the life that we have made together or we can decide that we are going to give up. We made it through the hard parts and the road ahead is certain to bring on more change.
The first ten years of marriage can often be the hardest. With so many things that we want to do and be together, our dreams can split us into different directions and divide household in an instant. What we experienced before we got married was most certainly a result of all the dopamine built up in our brains. For many, the first ten years end up being disappointing and not at all similar to the fairy tale we imagined in our head. There are bills to pay, mouths to feed and lives that have to be lived.
So many people come into a marriage thinking it will be like a vacation. The first ten years of that same marriage tell a very different story. When we are married, especially in the beginning we are forced to reveal all the inner sides of ourselves and make decisions about things like religion, money, kids or where to spend Christmas that can make getting along or even liking each other more difficult. Few of us take the time to ask these questions of each other prior to our ceremony. In the first ten years we find out about each other all the things that we didn’t know about ourselves and that our spouses were trying to hard to hide. This is a period of tremendous growth.
The first ten years of marriage also can break and mend our hearts times over. We may think that we are falling out of love or losing each other but the grandiose truth is that we are just beginning to be found. We begin to figure out what is important in our lives and what exactly it is that we want to take into our futures. For lots of us, we decide to take each other. As life begins to settle down after the ten year mark there is a certain zone of comfort that we fit well into. It may be or seem a bit boring but it is not risky and demands us to move from a spot within that is born out of love. Real love. True Love. The kind of love that survives tens years. If it wasn’t for the first ten years of marriage we would not make it to that spot.
The first ten years of marriage are what either makes or breaks the relationship. If we can make it through this period, we can make it through anything. We should enjoy these first years as much as possible and strive to create memories that will last us a lifetime. After all, we can’t get them back and if we play our cards right we can have many more decades waiting ahead of us!