There’s no doubt about it, fewer millennial couples are getting married. Do we even need marriage these days or is it an outdated institution and merely an opportunity to put ourselves and our relationships on display? Throughout my twenties, I definitely didn’t expect I’d ever get married. I was in a stable, committed relationship and honestly didn’t see the need for it. Sure, I got butterflies in my stomach every time I imagined picking out my wedding dress and welled up as I watched friends walk down the aisle, but did that mean marriage was right for me?
As it turns out, my perspective has completely shifted since marrying Nick a year ago. I was absolutely certain nothing at all would change. We’d exchange rings, have a big party with our nearest and dearest, and then we’d go back to regular scheduled programming, right? In reality, things have changed, even if it’s on a subconscious level. I do feel differently about our partnership since getting married and like I’ve learnt a thing or two…
Here’s what I’ve learnt since tying the knot:
- Marriage is a big freaking deal— there’s nothing quite like saving up, planning and carefully writing your vows before reciting them in front of everyone you know to make things feel official. While I always imagined our wedding to be one big party, the ceremony, the vows and the significance of it all is what truly matters.
- Security — It may sound silly, but I feel so much more secure and confident in our relationship since getting married. Hearing Nick’s beautiful and thoughtful vows really cemented his love for me. Sure, he demonstrates his commitment to me every day, but I feel comfortable knowing that we were both ready to take the leap toward married life together.
- It’s less stressful than planning a wedding — Planning a wedding, especially when you’re as detail-oriented as I am, can become all consuming. Being married is actually pretty low key most of the time and I love that we’re able to just sit back and enjoy it. That said, continuing to have fun together, surprising and prioritising one another is pretty important.
- We need to keep working on ourselves (separately and together) — Sure, we’re a unit and a pretty solid team, but it’s important we continue to have our own lives, hobbies and friendships. I could never expect one person to be my everything. Getting married doesn’t excuse you from continuing to work on yourself and to work through your issues.
- We want to make things work — Whenever we do have an argument, we tend to resolve it quickly and communicate more effectively than before we were married. I honestly don’t know why this is, but maybe knowing that we’re married and in this together makes us want to work through any problems that arise and be gentler with each other.
- You share each other’s joys and burdens — When one of you goes through something difficult, whether it’s losing a job or the death of a family member, the other person shares your pain and carries part of the burden. When things feel super heavy, it’s incredibly beneficial to have someone to lean on. And when you’re on top of the word, it feels amazing to have someone’s excitement levels match your own.
- Gratitude is everything — Nick does so many little things for me and looks out for me in subtle ways and I always try to reciprocate and be grateful. Obviously it depends on your dynamic as a couple (I know couples who are sarcastic 99% of the time..) but remembering to be kind with each other goes a long way.
- Other people’s support is everything — Not everyone will understand your marriage, but knowing they’ve got your back is crucial especially as you navigate the highs and lows. Personally, I’ve been through a lot of changes since moving to New Zealand. While Nick might not be precisely the person some of my family and friends envisioned me marrying, they’ve been 100% supportive of our relationship and eventual marriage. They even flew all the way from Canada to celebrate with us. It’s comforting knowing your loved ones are with you every step of the way.
- It’s not just about becoming Mr. and Mrs. — Truthfully, we could’ve achieved everything above without ‘putting a ring on it’ and long-term relationships are just as official and important as marriages. Some cultures believe in and prioritise marriage more than others. Some people change their names, others don’t. Slapping a label on something won’t magically fix it or somehow make it more valid.
While things remain mostly the same on the surface level, I now do believe that marriage changes a relationship and its dynamic. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts whether you’re single, in a long term relationship or married!
Photos by the incredible, Sophie Isabella