When my friends and I were in college, we used to play this game where we would guess who the first to get married would be, then the second, all the way through the last. Given my somewhat irrationally high standards/pickiness and my rocky track record in the love department, I was the odds-on favorite for bringing up the rear on the march down the aisle. So what a shock it was when my boyfriend got down on one knee on the second anniversary of our first date and asked me to spend the rest of our lives together. Through tears and kisses, I said yes and there started a year and a half whirlwind of planning. Getting married remains the most wonderful experience of my life. Spending hours celebrating with my dearest friends from across the country, while pledging my life and love to the greatest man in the world was the best experience I could have asked for. However, the only thing I didn’t expect was making the move to married life solo.
Though some of my friends had promising loves of their own, they’ve fizzled or slowed down since then to the point that there isn’t a marriage in sight. That’s not to say none of my friends have said “I Do.” I’ve had several male friends from college take the plunge and a select few female friends as well. But my core group, the women who I leaned on most heavily in college and in the years directly following, aren’t planning a trip to Kleinfeld’s or a “Say Yes To The Dress” appearance anytime soon. Normally being the leader isn’t something to chafe at, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish someone would hop on the boat and meet me on marriage island.
If it isn’t obvious, allow me to say that marriage changes things. Gone are the days when all you want to do is hit the town with the boo, dine at the hottest restaurants, drink at the sexiest lounges and just spending your days in bed without a care in the world. Getting married forces you to change, albeit in a good way. Suddenly your life is re-prioritized with a distinct skew toward the future. You and your partner start thinking about plans, from home improvement projects to furniture orders to, gasp, having a little person of your own. And while I can say that these changes, were not only welcome, but really, really fun in their own right, it would be a lie to say that it didn’t feel a tad bit lonely. Sure my husband, being a few years older than I, has a number of friends who have also settled into domesticity. However, there is a stark contrast between me (pre-childbirth) and them (post-childbirth). If marriage is a change, having children is a systemic shaking of your day-to-day reality. Moreover, I’m simply not as close to these wives of friends as I am the girls who saw me through hall crawls, broken hearts and wild times in college. So moving into this chapter of adulthood is something I’d love to share with them.
While I’m holding it down for the ladies at Home Depot and talking DIY projects, my girls are still living in the bliss of pre-married life. While I’m plotting out what paving stones I’d like to use in the backyard and what patio furniture makes sense, my girls are heading off to Europe and enjoying carefree weekends in the city. That’s not to say that my husband and I don’t have the opportunity to be equally as carefree, but addressing the domestic side of life together happens just as frequently. And that’s not to say that pre-married life isn’t without its troubles, frustrations or radical differences from singledom. But those changes can often pale in comparison to what you face after getting hitched and truly interweave your life (emotionally, legally and financially) with another person.
Being the first one in the group to get married has been a fun experience, allowing me to truly experience marriage in an untainted, wide-eyed way. But as I settle into year two (with having kids being something that we won’t be flirting with for a few more years), it would be nice to share my new reality with the people I love and relate to the most. To be able to relate to them just as I did when we all were firmly settled into the same life-stage just a few years ago: Young, unmarried professionals trying to find their ways through adulthood. And it wouldn’t be too terrible to have a few wild bachelorette parties under my belt before I’m out the game for nine months growing a person.
So ladies, come join me on this journey. It was the best decision I ever made, but would be even better with my besties.