My husband Todd and I tied the knot. Our wedding was amazing and everything went well. We had awesome cool misty weather, and we both had the time of our lives. Then we went on a honeymoon that blasted even our wildest dreams out of the water. And now we're been back in regular life, enjoying not having to plan a wedding. On the surface, not much has changed (I haven't even gotten around to changing my name yet, because we're buying a house and name-changing while making such a huge purchase would be nightmarish). But I am deeply amazed at how completely different being married feels from being Todd's girlfriend or fiancée. I suspected that something would shift, but I had no idea that it would be this profound and truly perspective-altering, in such a wonderful way.
In years past, I went through a phase of thinking that I would never want to be married, because it doesn't really change your relationship and if (God forbid) that relationship ever ends, it's a huge hassle to get out of (to say the least). Now that Todd and I are married, I've come to feel strongly that it does change your relationship in a way that can't be achieved without the marriage (or handfasting, or commitment ceremony, etc).
Before we married, I knew that Todd and I were 100% committed to each other, and that he was my favorite person in the universe and that we'd always be there for one another. But during our eighteen-minute-long ceremony something happened, some sort of magical math equation was completed whereby the two of us were joined together in a sum that's much, much greater than either of its parts. Almost as soon as we were pronounced husband and wife, I felt my trust and my investment in our relationship deepen — something I didn't even know was possible, given how deep it was to begin with. It was, and is, such an amazing feeling that manifests itself in ways both large (I now have a sense of peace and calm knowing that I will always have a partner in good times and bad) and small (after two and a half years, suddenly I can pee in front of Todd).
To those who genuinely don't want to get married for philosophical reasons, I say that your choice is your own. But I'm so thankful that my perspective changed, because I would otherwise have no idea how wonderful the state of being married is. Todd and I are more together than we ever have been before. Getting married is a huge decision and commitment, but it was the easiest one I've ever made. That eighteen-minute ceremony, and the life that has been following after it, have truly made me a happier and more complete person. If you're gearing up to your own wedding day, be on the lookout for that shift in emotion. It may come gradually as you settle into married life, or like me you may suddenly feel bowled over by it. Either way, reveling in the knowledge of it as it changes the way you approach the world can be one of the most pleasurable and memorable experiences of a lifetime.