A year ago today, I married El Husbandio, as he's become known as on my blog. Thank you, yes, we're doing great and loving being married!
We woke up this morning after a good (first!) night's sleep in our new house. Yes, on sofa and floor, pending furniture, but still, very comfy and warm. Exactly how we feel in being married after a year.
Today couldn't pass me by without a bit of reflection. Memories, love and special treats are all wrapped into today's special date, but I wanted to think about how marriage is different to being boyfriend and girlfriend. Yes, all these things can come with non-married couples, any sex, age and culture, but these changes are what I have seen come around in the 12 months since our ceremony on the beach.
We represent each other when the other cannot. We rarely can't make things, but if for example, a family event came up and one couldn't make it, the other would go in their place, where possible. I remember having a chat with my mum a few years back when my cousin died; had my sister or I been married, we would have expected our husbands (just boyfriends at the time) to have gone to the funeral in our place. We were both abroad at the time and couldn't make it back. It's a step up from being a couple, representing each other in absence - you're a recognised unit.
Living together came to El Husbandio and me only after we were married. As he's from Costa Rica and I'm British, visa requirements wouldn't allow us to live together for longer than three months - and that meant three long months of not working for El Husbandio. He was essentially a tourist. Great as that sounds, there were lots of days when he was a bit lost, at a loose end - it's so much better now we've both got a focus and motivation in our jobs! Living together has been a lot of fun, with some trials and bumps in the road, but we wouldn't have it any other way. I feel more at 'home' than ever, even having moved four times since we've been married. Our first night in our first house last night felt... right.
Of course, we have plans, but since graduating from being a couple to a married couple, our plans have taken a step up too. We're now talking about kids. About bringing his family over to the UK to visit. About DIY projects on our new house. About when and how we might buy an upgrade on our little Toyota. None of this would have been on our radar a year ago. We're more settled and are beginning to grow roots here in Bristol - we're thinking more long-term and bigger. How exciting! Planning has gone to a whole new level when we have our own and some shared dreams and ideas.
Another way marriage makes our union different is the relationships we have with our and each others parents. I feel more than ever that I have a home in Costa Rica with his family and have learned a lot about how their family unit functions, but I've also learned more about my family in this time. I know El Husbandio feels the same way in reverse. It's a good feeling - it's always better to find ways of understanding your family. Everyone gets disappointed with situations here and there, everyone has arguments... Families are notorious for being difficult sometimes. Getting to know what drives them and how they feel is important and builds links further for the future and can bring a family closer. I thought I knew what marriage was about, having watched my mum and dad over the last 30 years, but never more than now.
How else has life changed since this time last year? Our finances are more intertwined now we're married. Partly as we now live together, but also because we have plans, a shared bank account, and a limited income. That sounded quite scary at first, but it's wonderful to be able to plan and share together. We've worked out a way to share responsibility of bills and to cope with less money than we expected, and it's working. Share and support: keystones in a successful first year!
I don't know if this is all guff to you; maybe you do all this with your other half and you're not married. Maybe you're married and don't do these things. However, for us, they're important in ways they haven't been before. I've always been an independent person, and I've learned how great it can be to have your best friend, cheerleader and lover on your team, officially. It's taken a lot of work, time, stress and money to get us in the same country and married, and we try every day not to take it for granted. Despite some barneys, some differences and challenges, we're one blessed couple.
Happy anniversary, mi amor xxx
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Born to be a Tourist