One thing that has been surprising about being married a year is how it doesn't feel that strange or different. I don't really remember if I expected things to change much, but if I had to guess then I would probably say that at some time in the past I would have expected married life to consist of more changes than the current reality. Things just aren't that different. There are a few changes that I can think of below:
- Name change: While my name didn't change, it is nice that M changed her last name. It is nice being able to see my last name come through on emails from her.
- Financial budgeting: Now that we are married there is a certain level of security we both take with our finances. We still have our separate checking accounts, but more and more expenses are falling on our joint account. Also, we are able to review our finances as a couple, which will allow us to make prudent decisions in the future. It is nice knowing how much money we both make and what we are spending that money on. Also, with dual income/no kids (DINKS for those marketing readers) it means we can try to aggressively save our money.
- Fairness: One thing that my Dad burned into my head as a kid was that "life isn't fair." This is very true in life and also in marriage. It is impossible to try and line things up so that both partners get exactly what they want. There are small decisions like emptying the dishwasher and big decisions like trying to plan a move to another state. Sometimes the outcomes will favor M and sometimes they will favor me, but at least with being married it gives us a longer time period to work things out. Also, at points when it doesn't feel even and there might be an opening for a disagreement, it is helpful for me to remember that I am married and making sacrifices is part of the deal.
- Relationship Clout: The clout or equity in being married is much higher than in being in a long-term, committed relationship. I don't know how much of a difference it makes in day to day life, but I enjoy being able to reference my wife in conversation and getting a certain level of respect.