Holy cow, guys! I've been married for a full week now! Typing that I realize that it's nothing compared to the grand scheme of things- our marriage is just a baby! We haven't gone through any struggles or hard times yet! So what am I doing celebrating a week (and two days) of marriage?
Well, like all big changes in life, it's brought so many growing experiences, and I feel like I should document them in some capacity. This is my new life, and I love recording the important changes here. So without further ado, I will now write down some things I've learned in my whopping 9 days of marriage.
The morning I got married, I expected to feel a considerable change in the way I felt- a sort of shift in the universe, so to speak. But I was surprised at how natural it all felt! Walking out of the temple, facing all my loved ones as a Rhineheart rather than a Whetten felt so peaceful! I hadn't lost any of my family ties, or the special bonds I have with my siblings. I had gained something so much more! I now have the opportunity to grow closer to my parents, as our family dynamic has changed considerably. In addition to that, however, I have a whole NEW family I get to meet, and love, and learn with. It's the neatest feeling knowing I really am a part of this wonderful family- both sides. I don't know how or why I was blessed with such fantastic in-laws, but I thank my Heavenly Father for them often. I really do have the best of the best.
Throughout our engagement, it was like we were fighting an invisible battle with the adversary. We could hardly go a week without arguing over something stupid, accidentally hurting someone's feelings, and vice versa. I cried over everything it seems, and more than once I questioned whether I was making the right decision in sealing myself to a man I had only known since October. Countless times over the past three months I would feel completely and totally worthless. Yes, I was engaged to someone I loved more than life itself, but why on earth would he actually choose me? I would sit and pick through all my individual flaws and shortcomings until I felt like the stupidest, ugliest, fool of a girl. And try as I might, I couldn't shake the feelings of utter nothingness. Looking back, I know that those feelings were not mine. I know that Satan was trying his absolute hardest to deprive me of the blessings of a temple marriage, and the knowledge that we won out against someone so dead-set on separating us is the most victorious feeling! Ever since we walked out of the temple, I have felt positively on top of the world. I haven't struggled with my self image hardly at all since that beautiful day. It's almost like God has been rewarding us for making it to the temple by letting us feel so great about ourselves and each other.
Going off of my previous bulletpoint, I have never felt more beautiful nor comfortable with myself as I have since I got married. Part of that is, I'm sure, because Satan can't convince me I'm not worthy of the temple, but another, larger part of it is because my husband has seen ME. All of me. Not just my face, not just the outline of myself through clothing. He has seen the full and complete me, without anything covering or hiding the parts of my body I choose to keep hidden from the rest of the world. And despite seeing the thighs that are just a little bit jigglier than I would like them to be, despite having seen and touched the stomach that's bigger than I wish it was... Despite all of that, he still thinks I am the most beautiful girl he's ever seen. And rather than feeling shy or ashamed of my flaws, I have learned to embrace them. Because they make me who I am, and who I am is perfect for my husband. And I am finally okay with myself because of it.
All growing up, I hated sleeping in the same bed as someone else. HATED it. I would rather have slept on the floor than share a mattress with anyone- regardless of if I was related to them or not. Granted, it has taken some getting used to, and some figuring out (Tanner tends to punch me in the head in his sleep if he's not on the right side of the bed), but now I don't want to sleep alone! Being close to him all night is one of the most peaceful feelings. Mornings are also now more bearable, because when he wakes up he pulls me close to him, and that's just the tops. Plus... That boy is a space heater, and my toes get super cold at night. Win-win! ;^)
Speaking of doing things alone... How did I ever shower alone?! (too real? Haha) It's just nice to have someone to talk to while you're sudsing up, you know? And, let's be real honest here for a second: who really gets their whole back cleaned every time they shower? Who can even reach back there? Spouses are a convenient fix for that age-old problem... And showering together saves water- I think. Ha!
Even though it's only been a matter of days, I already have sensed a change in how I feel about my Tanner. I have loved him throughout this whole process, but since we've been married it's become a much deeper feeling. Since I have been with him day in and day out for a week now, we've gotten to know each other a LOT better. I know a lot more of his little quirks and funny habits, and they've only made him more dear to me. I know, I know, I'll probably get super annoyed with them at some point, but for now it has been one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had, getting to know this unique and wonderful human being. Before we were married, we didn't get to see each other at our most comfortable state of being- not that we were constantly putting on a show around each other, but there are just certain things that don't happen while you are dating/engaged. But now we know. I know how much he hates wearing shoes, and he knows how much concentration it takes me to get my eyeliner just exactly right. Little things like that have been so much fun to discover, and I am looking forward to learning even more about each other.
Even on our honeymoon, we couldn't escape some of the realities of life. The first night in California, Tanner felt sick all night. Then two days later I hurt my leg so badly I could hardly walk. We also took turns throughout the week feeling sick at one point or another, because we were VERY adventurous with our meals. Glamorous? No. Picture-perfect? Definitely not. But I wouldn't change those experiences for anything. I love taking care of my love, and having him take care of me has been so comforting as well. Real life can and will suck, but knowing we have each other, and we're both willing to do whatever it takes to make the other feel better, is such a blessing. I really scored with this guy.
The biggest learning curve of all, however, has been sex. I know it can be awkward to talk about (which it absolutely should NOT be), but I am going to try to have an open and honest dialogue about it on the blog. No, I am not going to go into detail, nor am I going to tell stories, but I strongly feel that healthy sex within marriage should be discussed, and encouraged! Stepping off my soapbox, this aspect of our relationship has been one of the most challenging and rewarding parts to develop. The whole process is a big learning experience, as we learn how to physically express our love and affection for each other. It's far from the standards of sex that Hollywood has projected all over the media, but it's unique, and it is a wonderful thing. Challenging at times, but it has been a beautiful way that my husband and I have been able to get closer to one another. Waiting for this powerful expression of love has been so worth it. At times it felt like we couldn't possibly wait another day, but knowing we waited to share this together has been a reward in and of itself. I'm excited to keep learning and growing this part of our relationship!
And so there you have it. My discoveries and feelings of this whole marriage business so far.
I honestly cannot believe how blessed I am to have married such a great person. We are far from perfect, but we refuse to give up on each other, and I look forward to how much we will have grown a month, and a year, and a decade from now.