When we were newly married, we couldn’t get enough of each other’s company. We’d been best friends for ages, but now we actually got to live together, and it was fabulous. We wandered about holding hands and smiling, as newlyweds often do.
Often, more seasoned married couples would take one look and say something patronizing like, “Aw, that’s sweet. Newlyweds are adorable. It’s so fun right now, but wait until the honeymoon wears off…”
My 22-year-old rebellious heart was enraged. “WEARS OFF???” I’d fume internally. “How dare you take this love that we’ve grown into and dismiss it as a phase? Why do you have to tell me that it will wear off? I don’t believe it.”
We are now 35 with a bunch of kids interrupting our sleep. If there was a time for the honeymoon to wear off, surely it’s happened by now.
You know what? They were right. I was wrong. The honeymoon doesn’t last forever.
Nothing maintains its novelty indefinitely. But what they didn’t tell me is this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Years in, we are comfortable with each other in ways we weren’t then, despite our long friendship. We can laugh at things that would have been mortifying back then. I know him and can anticipate what will be helpful. I know which spot on his back always itches and I’ve gotten better at knowing when to move closer and when to give space.
But they were also wrong.
It’s true that novelty (by definition) has to wear off, but the happiness of the honeymoon isn’t really just about novelty. It’s about discovering and enjoying each other and this gift of marriage. And this is ongoing. Andrew and I aren’t the same people we were then. We get to keep discovering and enjoying each other. The marriage is also drastically different than it was… I’m more stable as a human (big sigh of relief) and it’s morphed and grown around our family and our selves.
It isn’t all perfect, but the struggles give depth to the joys. It’s a good gift, this marriage. If I had a chance to talk to newlywed me, I’d tell her: