Pieces of Me

The White Rabbit

This is the third time I have sat down to write this post. The third time. I think I need to stop and listen. I think the Universe is trying to tell me something. After I wrote about our Happily, Ever After I knew that this post would be next. The post about me falling down the Rabbit Hole and chasing the elusive White Rabbit:  the perfect marriage. Yet somehow every time I have sat down to write the words don’t come.  When they do, they are only a jumbled mess.

The mess of words was supposed to resemble something of our first year. A tough first year. Where we struggled to find love in a new world of living together. We struggled to find intimacy in a new world of juggling work, house, housework and everything else that we squeezed in between.

In the car on the way home from work one night, I spoke to my husband about this post. I asked him about our first year. We have both agreed that our first year was tough, but we never said anything more than that. I had emailed him a copy of the jumbled post I had been working on and I was now asking him what he thought. He turns to me, sitting there in his suit and tie, stuck in traffic and says “I don’t remember it like that.” I was f-l-o-o-r-e-d. What? What do you mean? Of course it was like that!

He took a deep breath, as he often does when he sits there trying to explain something to me. He exhaled and said “Yes it was tough, but it wasn’t that bad”. In my pride filled, stubborn prowess, I stared straight ahead and kept re-writing the post in my head.

pink roses

It has been weeks since that trip home. I have churned over and over this post and what it means. We had both lived at home until we were married. Comfortable, traditional, European homes. So when we got married and moved out, it was a huge first for the both of us. Juggling work and house was hard. In my usual way I tried to do too much. Keep it Picture Perfect. But sitting here now, almost ten years married, and I realise, the first year was neither good nor bad. It just was. What was bad, was my perception of that first year.

Since that first year I have found myself signing off wedding cards to our friends and family with my favourite Leunig quote “love one another and you will be happy, it is as simple and as difficult as that.” In our first year, I was forever thinking that I was dealing with more of the difficult rather than the simple. Yet, looking back now, that first year was simple. I was the one who was difficult. I think that in my need to be in control, I was in fact my own White Rabbit.

pink roses, Leunig, first year

I had a mental checklist, one that I had chiselled as reflection of the old traditional marriages around me. I was trying to keep up the illusion, an illusion I had created, but thought was perfectly real. I thought I was being watched. Being tested. I couldn’t fail. But now I can see – that no one was even watching.

  • Lee

    It’s difficult leaving home for the first time to venture out into the wide and sometimes wild world; to become independent – there is not only so much to learn about life outside of the home one was raised in; but so much to learn about one’s self, as well. It’s really the first step towards being your individual self.

    Life is different “out there”. To take that step and take on a marriage as well, at the same time, really compounds the difficulty, I would imagine. The adjustments would be massive.

    Living with another person may sound so much fun, adventurous, romantic and glamorous on paper; but as in most things….reality is totally different; and as in most things in life, we never know how we’re going to react until we’re face to face with a situation. That’s when we find ourselves having to stand up and be counted.

    The party always has to end – the wedding ends…the honeymoon is over and that’s when the hard work begins.

    It sounds like you’re doing okay, Josefa. And it sounds like you have since the beginning…to question and look at the progress of your marriage and of your self with honesty is proof. 🙂

    • i think it is important to question things, it provides clarity and always finds the truth

  • LydiaCLee

    I think women often see things differently to men. Not necessarily how it is, but how the emotional taint of the event is, and that grows larger in the female mind. We (me included) twist things up into big deals while the rest of the world sails by, usually oblivious to the big dramas in out head. We do need to raise this stuff and talk about it, but often it can be put into perspective by the other party. I’ve gotten better at seeing it from the other perspective but it doesn’t mean these feelings don’t creep up from time to time. Nice post.

  • Catherine RodieBlagg

    Reminds me of the Shakespeare quote “For there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so”

  • Sophie Allen

    That’s so interesting, the two different interpretations of the same year. Makes you wonder about many other events and occasions, I wonder how your views may differ. You should get him to write a guest post on your blog about his version of the first year!

    10 years… lovely! And same as us next year!

    • congrats on 10 years!
      i joked with hubby and asked him to do a guest post – he laughed

  • Lyndal

    i can’t say it any better than what Catherine did before me… xx

  • I love that you and your husband talked about this and understood each others view. I too agree that the first year living with my partner was the hardest. So many things to adjust too. I do love the quote too 🙂

  • Alicia O’Brien

    Sometimes we work so hard to live up to a standard, our perception of someone elses standard, that we forget to live for our own happiness. Certainly the first year would be hard, getting used to each others ways in the same space, new pressures and routines. Congrats on nearly ten years 🙂

  • Wow this was really enlightening. It’s funny how we often don’t see things they way they are.
    I love talking to Boatman about things because he often has such a completely different perspective to me. I think that’s one of the best things about being in a marriage.

    • i agree, i need that other perspective, life would be too unbalanced without it

  • It’s funny how two people can perceive and event or time in two completely different ways. And I think you’ve hit the nail on the head talking about our own expectations of how things should be and making it harder for ourselves. I remember the first year of living with my husband was relatively easy as we were planning out wedding and so nothing else seemed as important. That first year after the wedding though, that I found to be tougher, as we settled into some sort of normalcy with no huge thing hanging over our heads and realising that this was life and this was marriage and this was forever.

  • I think everyone has standards they think they should live up to, because everyone else seems to be so picture perfect. The reality is usually very different to what we perceive and I always enjoy seeing things from my husband’s point of view.

    Living together is hard at first, no matter how well you know a person. Congratulations on surviving the first year and many more!

  • Isn’t it great that you now realise that in fact the first year wasn’t as bad as you thought and that you’ve identified that it was just you putting pressure on yourself to try and keep to an illusion of what you thought a perfect marriage should be like! I love how through blogging we can learn about ourselves and share our lessons. I really enjoyed reading this Josefa 🙂

  • Jess @ myheartisyourhome

    I love that we all have our own memories of the same things and they are often very different. That quote is beautiful! And a beautiful post x

  • Francesca

    It’s amazing how two people can be going through the same thing and have such different perception. That’s why communication is just so important 🙂

  • Rach

    2 people will always remember things differently which can be frustrating but I honestly think writing about the first year of marriage is sooo brave.My husband and I have been married nearly 11 months…..so I find it so incredibly beautiful that you have written a post like this 🙂

  • It’s funny how differently we not only remember things, but how differently we perceive things at the time. And I just LOVE that quote, I think I’ll be using it. Thank you. Beautiful post xx

  • Melissa Mitchell

    I can honestly say that I believe in that quote. Other than Joel and I, I genuinely don’t know a single couple that have EVER described their first year of marriage in positive terms. We are always so surprised to hear it and wonder what people are expecting when they go in?

    Like you, Joel and I didn’t live together before marriage (in fact, {Possible TMI?} we didn’t even sleep together before our wedding night!). And while there were a LOT of external factors (deaths, health scares, money, family dramas) that made our first year stressful – our marriage? Not a bit. It was the one thing in our lives that felt exactly, completely right.

    I think the trick is not to confuse external factors with your relationship. They’re always going to be there. There are always going to be things that stress you both out. It’s often going to be hard to stay as connected as you want to.

    But remember, you’re in it together. And as stressful as you’re finding life, he probably is too. It helps me to remember that. It makes me feel more patient, more inclined to cut him some slack or give him the benefit of the doubt.

    It’s good that your husband doesn’t remember that first year as bad. But it doesn’t mean it’s bad that you do. It just is what it is, as you said. It’s all of the other years that count though. It’s the every day, little things that matter in the long run. They’re the only way you *have* a long run.

  • I can’t even imagine moving out of home and getting married at the same time. I think the ‘new way’ of doing the living together thing first makes good sense. But, as you say, it is all just perception in the end. Leunig is my go-to too. x

    • Leunig – my go-to, my comfort, so much good comes from him and that little duck! As for relationships today – sometimes I wonder if I would get married if hubby and I started dating today? Would we just live together and have children and avoid the fan-fare of a wedding all together? I wonder…..

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