There’s a Carrie Underwood song where she says “I never was the kind to think about dressing in white, wasn’t waiting on a prince to come riding into my life, thought I was happy on my own until you came and proved me wrong.” That sums me up so perfectly. I was not the girl with a secret wedding Pinterest board. I never had aspirations of having a wife-life. I wasn’t even sure I believed in that happily ever after nonsense. I was very independent, very stubborn. I liked things my way or no way. I did not want to ask permission, to check in, to share. It was my life, my choices. And I liked it.
And then I met my husband…and I had no idea how empty I really was until he just slid right into my world and completed it, completed me so entirely that I now cannot imagine a single day without him in it. I was like a Disney princess singing to birds and dancing in the forest (okay, not really. I don’t even like birds). Suddenly, being Mrs. Gutierrez was everything I never knew I always wanted.
But, I must confess, there are a couple things I do miss about being single.
#1: Watching what I want to watch on TV.
I know, such a simple and silly thing, but have you ever had to sit through the Grand Tour or an hour straight of BMW racing videos on YouTube? Like, that’s love right there. I not only sit there, I engage and pretend I’m actually interested (well, actually, the Grand Tour is pretty hilarious and I kinda liked the show, but do NOT tell him that). But, in fairness, he does put up with my shows like Project Runway and Teen Mom and actually engages as well (I’m pretty sure he even secretly likes them. He once told me he thought he saw Maci when we were at the mall and I SWEAR there was a touch of excitement in his voice).
I guess in the end, though, having to compromise on TV shows led us to what are now “our” shows, things we didn’t watch before but that we now watch together, like Ghost Adventures (BEST show, OMG) and 90 Day Fiance (don’t laugh, it’s actually the funniest show, I swear) and Little People LA and Atlanta (he prefers Atlanta; I prefer LA). With the kids, the jobs, the house, the toddler not sleeping for the last 2.5 years, watching TV at the end of the day is often all we have so what we watch has become less important than the time together. I miss holding the remote at all times, but if I’m holding his hand instead, I’m okay with that.
#2 (no pun intended): Pooping in private.
Some people say that in a marriage, there’s nothing to be embarrassed of. Share all things. While our daughter turned out to be a C-section in the end (and he literally saw my insides during that surgery), it was 24 hours of labor and 3.5 hours of pushing prior to that, so he’s really seen, like, ALL of me. We’ve had food poisoning, flus, dripping noses and and eyes from horrible allergy attacks (we both suffer from them), been on 5 days of practically no sleep and maybe 3 showers between the two of us, kidney infections, a colonoscopy, and all other range of gross that only a spouse can love.
But to this day, I just don’t poop in front of my husband. It is not that I’m embarrassed (everyone poops, and he does so for roughly 30 minutes at a time, sometimes multiple times a day and with zero shame); I just don’t like an audience of any kind. When I was single, I could poop freely, any time the urge struck. Now, I have to wait until he’s not home or he’s distracted with something else or the house is noisy and nobody will notice. He actually has dubbed me the “mystery sh*tter” and will tell people “If my wife poops, I don’t know about it.”
I share everything with my husband. Except this. Maybe the day will come when I let ‘er rip and don’t care anymore, but that day is not today. Or tomorrow. Or, like, anytime soon.
#3. Being able to decide where to eat.
How does this happen? Is it just that when you fall in love with someone, you become completely unable to decide on where to go for dinner? How do I no longer have a firm feeling of what the hell I want to eat? Although I know what I DON’T want to eat and it’s typically exactly what my husband is craving. Throw in the kids and what they like and are the in the mood for and forget it. You’ll all die of starvation before someone just PICKS A PLACE TO EAT.
We have gone so far as to try those online tools that tell us where to eat. But here’s the problem: we don’t want any of their suggestions either. How can nothing sound good when you’re hungry? And the longer it takes to decide, the more hungry you are but the LESS decisive you become. Oh, and don’t even try the “I’m fine with whatever, you decide” thing cuz I promise you, that doesn’t work either. It inevitably elicits that insincere “No, babe, YOU decide” response from one or both of us until we can’t only not decide what to eat, we can’t decide WHO decides. If we let the children decide, we’d only eat Taco Bell and McDonald’s (which, actually, is usually where we end up because we’ve debated every other option so long they are now weak with hunger) so we try to decide between us, but it almost never gets us anywhere.
Suddenly, anything my husband wants to eat sounds like poison, but if I choose something, my entire dinner will taste like guilt for not letting it be his choice instead. Or, if I go with what he wants, my dinner tastes like disappointment and compromise. On the rare (and I mean RARE) occasion that we actually agree on what to eat, man oh man, it is like the best meal ever. So savor it because it probably won’t happen again for a very long time.
The married life is not for everyone, but it is for me. I love it. I love my husband. I love being his wife. I love our marriage. And, bonus, it’s completely eliminated the 3 things I hated most about being single.
#1. All the chores are mine.
My husband has said before “My wife does not like to clean.” I don’t. I hate it. I hate chores. But I also hate mess. So chores/cleaning was a necessary evil. When I was single, I had to do all of it or it didn’t get done. Granted, there was a lot less of it, but still, I couldn’t NOT do it. Now, I have this clean-freak Virgo husband who is always there to help out (and, admittedly, actually does a majority of the cleaning). I cook; he does the dishes. I do the laundry; he puts it away (except towels – after all these years, he still doesn’t fold them precisely how I like, even though he tries). I kept the toddler alive all day; he cleans her off at night. It’s a wonderful balance.
And while it seems like something trivial, it’s a key indicator of the fact that we are a unit, a team. We do it all together or not at all. It is a daily reminder that I am not alone, that I have a partner in this life. I have to share the remote, but I also get to share the load. He has someone to make sure he doesn’t run out of deodorant and packs him a lunch for work the next day and I have someone to kill the spiders and carry heavy things in from the car. Honestly, I probably do more chores now than I did when single, but when it’s for those you love and with the one you love most, I just don’t mind as much.
Oh my God, how did I ever date? It is so tedious and so much work. Getting all dolled up, making sure everything is shaved, sucking it in all night, trying to keep up a conversation and seem funny and interesting and smart (and hoping he’s at least one of those things too). The will he/won’t he, the do I want him to or don’t I. Will he call? Why didn’t he call? Why won’t he stop calling? Is it okay to say this? What did he mean by that? Is it to soon to do this? Can I really put up with that? The instability of it all is just exhausting!
And, worse, it’s kind of a ridiculous game for the most part. Trying to seem like you inherently are exactly what they want/are looking for when you don’t even really know if you want them in return (and the inevitable fallout when one or both of you start being “real”). Trying to seem interested enough but not overly eager so they continue to pursue. Trying to decipher if he’s working really hard to do you or to wife you (and if you even want to be wifed up by this dude anyway).
Not that dating is entirely the worst thing ever. There’s excitement in the wonder and there’s beauty in how new everything is, like a shiny unwrapped present. It could be a Lamborghini. Or it could be a Pinto. The potential and the possibility is fun, even invigorating sometimes, but, more often than not, you end up disappointed. They won’t all be as bad as a pinto, but most of us gotta go through a lot of mediocre rides before we find that Lambo.
In truth, sometimes I miss the anticipation, wish we had more “firsts.” But I would never trade it for the security and comfort I find in our marriage. Not that I have become complacent or lazy; I still do shave all the right bits and get dolled up for him and laugh at all his jokes, even the ones that are not funny or the ones I’ve heard about 1,000 times. I just don’t have to. And if I don’t feel up to it, that’s okay. He loves me anyway.
And while nothing is really “new” or “shiny” anymore, he still gives me butterflies pretty much every day. When giving me a kiss is the first thing he does when he walks in the door or when he sneaks a smack on the butt when the kids aren’t looking or even when I just see him being the best damn daddy I could’ve ever dreamed of for our kids, my heart skips a beat and I love him more than the day before.
When schedules allow, we still go on dates, and married dating has its own kind of magic. Not the first-time kind of magic. The forever kind. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
I was one of those single people who was happy to be single. I often used the phrase “single by choice” and was proud of it. I wasn’t going to settle. I wasn’t gonna put up with no crap. I had worked my butt off in life and I didn’t need anyone’s help (anymore – but that’s another post for another time). I liked my quiet, peaceful evenings. I liked the lack of drama. I liked being in control, in charge of everything in my life. I was fine on my own.
Fine, yes, but lonely, too.
It was not something I ever wanted to admit, but I was lonely quite a bit. And I don’t mean because I didn’t have a plus-one at weddings or nobody to send me flowers on Valentine’s Day. Actually, I still don’t get flowers on Valentine’s Day. I’m not allowed near plant life. I once killed a cactus (on accident, and I don’t even know how!) so it’s to save the flowers, not anything against me. I’m talking about being lonely in the quiet moments where the silence starts to seem deafening and the empty space beside you suddenly feels enormous.
Yes, I could watch whatever I wanted to watch, but I had no one to laugh with at a funny part or hide in the shoulder of at a scary part, or cry in outrage at something particularly offensive, or get me a snack during the commercials.
I could eat whatever I wanted, but there was no one there to enjoy it with, no one to compliment the chef (if I even cooked, because cooking for one always felt sad to me), no one to give me a handful of fries in exchange for 3 onion rings (yes, exactly three. I’ve perfected the ratio).
Sure, bathroom freedom and privacy is nice, but have you ever been sick all alone? Ugh, it’s the worst. No one to bring you mac and cheese (my version of chicken noodle soup) or rub your back or run to Target to grab you some medicine or cough drops or more mac and cheese (I really like mac and cheese, okay?). For every moment I was glad to be on my own, there were probably a dozen I wished I had someone to share it with.
I have traded the things that I miss for things I cannot live without. I have given up the “firsts” to be with my “last.” I share not only the remote and the housework, I share my heart and my life. We may never know what we’ll have for dinner, but I know who will be sitting at the table. Sometimes I long for solitude, but the moments are fleeting. It doesn’t take long before there is something I want to show him, tell him, share with him, or just have him near me. Marriage is this crazy wonderful thing where you can somehow be alone together and it’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever known.