Romance in marriage

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The hubs and me -- photo by Maui wedding photographer Jana Morgan
The hubs and me. Photo by Maui wedding photographer Jana Morgan

The other day I was thinking about marriage and my husband and what it means to be with that one person for the rest of my life. Not that it's bad or anything, on the contrary — I love my husband to death and I'm glad that we're married. But that day I was struck by a few thoughts about this whole marriage business…

After a talk with a single friend about his new love interest, the thought struck me that I will never again get to experience the thrill and romance of new love. That whole time in my life is over for me. That's means that wow, I probably will never feel that one-of-a-kind, stomach-twisting, nerve-tingling, hormone-churning Brand New Love feeling again.

(Sad face.)

Solidifying that notion was the thought that my husband (and most of the men I've dated) will never be as romantic as he was when we first met. All those Brand New Love hormones dissolve and then, once you're married, not only does it dissolve but daily life gets in your way what with worries about horribly boring things like insurance, rent checks and thoughts about romance and grand gestures too easily get swept aside to deal with real life issues.

Then, of course, while I was fretting over my el depresso thoughts, I got a phone call about my parents' impending separation, which then REALLY ruined my day.

When Aaron come home from work that day I immediately let him know that I was having a rough time. And instead of ignoring me to play video games, he sat and watched ridiculous movies with me all night. Watching movies turned into cuddling, which turned into talk of sexy-time, and so we made our way into the bedroom. Once in bed and in his arms I ended up bawling my eyes out! (WTF Megan!? Way to be sexy.) But Aaron was awesome. He talked me through all my emo bullshit and then he acted silly with me to make me laugh. And it's like — Okay, we may not be as romantic as we were when we first started dating, but we ALWAYS have each other's back. And that is pretty damn romantic!

My husband was so romantic by just being sweet to me that night. It didn't take a grand gesture, it didn't take buying me something, and it didn't take a new love — it just took the time that he wanted to spend getting laid, and spending it instead talking to me about about my feeeeeelings and then trying to make me laugh. Amazing.

Then I realized that even though I will never again experience the thrill of a new relationship, I have the thrill of a growing relationship. And as my relationship grows, so should my ideas of romance. It's not always flowers and making out and playing Peter Gabriel songs on a boombox. Sometimes it's crying followed by making jokes about naming your unborn children terrible things (like “Awesome” and “Second Kid”).

Thanks to the universe and my husband for giving my sad-pants attitude the little kick in the ass that it needed.

he hubs and me -- photo by Maui wedding photographer Jana Morgan
Yep, we still got it.

Comments on Romance in marriage

  1. Dude, L.O.L. on the children’s names! My FH and I like to do that too, but “Second Kid” just about tops off the list. I am emailing him this article. Thanks for the perspective!

  2. Family story:

    After fifteen years of marriage, my parents are talking and my Dad says “You know, I never really loved you when we were first married.”

    My Mom was understandably crushed. But as she thought about it, she came to this conclusion: He couldn’t compared his love for her now to the love he had for her fifteen years ago.

    I too am looking forward to the “old love” as my fiance and I get married and start to live our lives together. New love is awesome. But it has too many ups and downs compared to old love.

    • That reminds me of the awesome Michael Bolton song “Said I Loved You But I Lied.” He sings about how his love has grown so much that he now realizes that, compared to now, he didn’t really love her when he first said it.

  3. I agree. 100%. Realizing how good it is to be in that longterm relationship is awesome. Knowing my FH can always make me laugh when I need cheering up, and that he still loves me after I’m bitchy because I’m overheated and have been hauling luggage is awesome. Or that he offered to come to the hospital with me to visit family, despite absolutely hating hospitals. That is way better than that new love feeling any day, in my books at least.

  4. I like to think up children’s names that take a little bit of effort to figure out what’s wrong with them. Initials are great for this. My fiance’s last name starts with “S,” so I’m fond of recommending Aaron Steven if it’s a boy, or Bradley.

    • I know someone whose initials spell “I’m God”. Funny thing is, his parents never realised.

      • My married initials are MEG and although I hate being called Meg, it makes me happy. 🙂

    • I have a friend in the Army who had to use an alternate spelling for her son’s middle name, lest his initials be I. E. D.!

  5. Just when things start to feel irreversibly boring and mundane in a relationship, a twist of fate makes you experience NEW new love for the person you’ve loved all along. And I think that’s somehow more exciting than regular ol’ new love.

    • Absolutely true. Just because it’s the same old person doesn’t mean it can’t be new love…

  6. Thank you so much for this important post. I wish there was more of this on the site – like, I know it’s Offbeat BRIDE and not Offbeat WIFE and technically I’m still an offbeat bride and not a wifey yet but still…this addressed a lot of fears that I’ve been afraid to speak out loud and it was described with honesty and wisdom and humor and…I just can’t thank you enough for this.

    As much as I love the posts about rockabilly dresses and tiny feathery hats, THIS is what I really need from Offbeat Bride.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    • Hey Erika, first of all you are SO welcome. I’m really glad this resonated with you. And second, we have actually had some similar feedback before and we very much agreed with it. So we’re definitely making an effort to feature more meaty posts like these that deal with the nitty gritty of marriage. We’re lookin’ out for you girl! 😉

      • Yes please.

        Although I am still very much in love, sometimes it feels like the wedding planning and people planning just gets in the way!

        I’m looking forward to being married (in a month) and ‘returning to real life’ – we have a date night once a week (so we can have qualitity time together) and it will be so nice to have weekends for adventures and outings rather then wedding planning!

        Then we can start on the baby making too!!!

    • Ditto, 10000%, particularly because I’ve been having a minor (see: major) freakout about this exact issue this week!

      • Same here. I’ve been freaking out about the lack of romance in our relationship lately. Luckily, my boy is understanding and has made an effort the past couple days.

    • COMPLETELY AGREE!! Thank you for this…it really hit home! And dude, those pictures of the shark attack on the blog are ridiculous!!!!

      • HA! I know, right? I hope you read the warning before you got confronted with the leg meat, some people skip over that and are unprepared. 😉

  7. Thanks for putting yourself out there to give us all this post.

    It’s sad that we usually only hear about this aspect of long-term relationships in a joking or resigned manner (i.e. all the old tired quips about couples never having sex after marriage and wives who are cold in bed and ball and chain ridiculousness) instead of owning this as a realistic challenge to face with your partner and something to work on, together, forever.

    • My FH gets really angry when people (i.e. coworkers, uncles, etc.) say “It’s never the same after you get married,” or “You’re gonna have to start doing everything she says from now on,” or “ball and chain” remarks and other stupid comments like that. We’ve been together for almost 6 years, and have only fallen deeper and deeper in love, (and become better and better friends!) and have become more and more committed to taking care of one another for the rest of our lives. Hence WHY we are getting married! It’s truly frustrating to hear these sorts of comments, and I completely agree that it’s totally refreshing to read about working on your relationship in a healthy way, instead of whining and turning to old cliches.

      • I have a great deal of fun asking people questions when they make these comments. Questions like, “Why are you still together?” and such. If nothing else, it makes them grateful for what they DO have, for a day or so anyway. I also enjoy dropping words like “equal partnership” and “communication” and “respect (each other)” into the conversation, to hopefully make people think. It’s rarely and “advice” thing, more of a “this is my philosophy/relationship model” thing, or just “concerned questions time.” Heck, even just having someone concerned that they felt that way about their relationship is enough to get people thinking sometimes.

        Fortunately, I know of a few couples that have gone on to be much better for both of them because of these kinds of questions leading them to think about about what they wanted out of their relationship that they weren’t getting, and thinking maybe they could communicate that to their partner. I like saying “communicate about what you’re thinking” rather than “tell your partner how you feel” because “communicating” makes people think business-like, thinking ahead, and listening; whereas “tell her” makes them think “yell at her.” Not what I’m getting at lol.

  8. Puntach was brought up as a potential child’s name. It’s also the name of my boy’s favorite Dungeons and Dragon’s character.

    • and by “Dragon’s”, I meant “Dragons”. I really have to proofread before closing the page.

      • Hey if you take the apostophe as possesive it kinda makes sense given that most DnD dragons like to believe they own the whole world and…I’ve just realised this is actually too nerdy for the internet.

        • Ladies and gentlemen, this is a momentous occasion… someone was actually TOO nerdy for the entire internet. Katy you should get some kind of award. 😉

  9. Well, don’t quote me because I don’t quite remember where I heard this (I think it was Motherlode on NYT), but they did this study of couples in their 80s, who had been married a long time, and 90% of them (!) say that they do not have that “spark” anymore like when they first met.

    At first glance that sounds depressing, but think – as you yourself mature and change, so does your relationship….sure, it’s not a “spark” like when you first met, but something more long-lasting, you know they’ll be there for you in tough times, etc.

    Similar to – you don’t love, say, Sesame Street as much as you used to, but you look back on it with fondness and you still watch TV, but different programs now, etc. (Or maybe I just need to get out of the house more…maybe that wasn’t a good example LOL).

    Basically, you’ll change as you become older *anyway,* the trick is to find someone whom you’re willing to take that gamble to stay alongside you, through the changes of yourselves and life.

    • I like to think that it goes from a spark to a flame, and a flame to an ember. Embers are still lit and burning, they’re just more settled where they are.

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