FAQ Friday; When You Don't Feel "Married"

Last month I posted a little cry for help in the FAQ department and I was overly thrilled with the response I got back from you guys. It's official that one of the things I love most about my little blog here is how many of you feel the same as I do about the endless situations I write about. It's nice not to feel so alone sometimes. But anyway here is a little dilemma I received from a reader that I think I totally love. She got married in February and says she doesn't feel "married." She doesn't feel like she's a part of her husband's family and she doesn't feel like a wife. She gets that these types of things are going to feel different to different people but perhaps myself and all of you guys can help her with her newly-wedded woe, no? I think so. Let's do this!



This little problemo first of all, reminds me of the post I did here on what it really means to be a wife. You guys seriously loved that post and I myself, still scroll through and read all of your thoughtful comments (like I said, the more people rowing along in this little boat of mine, the better). In that post I explain how to me, becoming Apb's wife didn't mean my feelings, my role or my expectations changed; but instead the difference (and really the only different in my opinion) was that now, legally we were husband and wife. Should I feel different as we became husband and wife? Maybe. Maybe not. All I know is that at first it felt totally weird to become a wife but still have the same feelings and ultimately the same relationship with Andrew.

There are so many days I wake up now, nearly ten months after our wedding and I too, don't feel married. I think to myself "Whoa whoa whoa, you are married, girlfriend" and I know I am married, I love who I am married to, and I love that we share this union, journey and relationship together it's just that I don't feel it; or is that or this rather, what's it's suppose to feel like? I feel young, and hip and think it's so cool I get to have permasleepovers with this guy I love. I feel happy and I know I am happy. But then the title 'married' and 'husband' and 'wife' sort of slap me wide awake and I think to myself, "Well that's weird Rhi, that you don't feel married cause you are. And if you don't feel like marriage is different then girl, you are cah-razy!" 

You know how when you're young, you'd turn another year older and it never failed that one of your relatives would ask "How does it feel to be another year older?" I remember one year after my birthday party I laid in bed that night, totally bummed my birthday was over and I had to wait a.whole.other.year.till.the.next.partay, but thinking super hard about that question and how it really did feel, like physically, emotionally and mentally, to be nine years old versus only eight. And I got really frustrated super fast because I felt nothing, except too much birthday cake in my stomach. Ask me the same question now at age 25 and maybe I could tell you what it felt like to be eight then but you catch my drift. Hind sight is 20/20 isn't it?

So my thoughts are this; when you don't feel married is that normal? Do some of you out there feel married and if so can you explain what that means? Does feeling married become something you feel with time or is it something that select people feel and others don't? Do you brides to be out there have expectations that after your wedding you will feel something uniquely different? I (and one of my readers here!) would love to hear your thoughts. Photo by Amanda Wilcher.

20 Lovely Comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a great question. I was recently speaking to a colleague about an "in-law" related issue and she gave me perspective from 20 years of marriage vs. my 1 and a half years of marriage. She said that in the first years of marriage, there is a tendacy to want to defend your own way of doing things - remember that you've now blended two people who have come from two families that are likely very different from one another. On certain issues, you will feel compelled to defend your family, your way of doing things. But over time, as couples grow and merge their own definition of family, it becomes "us vs. the world" as she put it. I liked that and I can see how my husband and I are already getting closer to that every day. Reminding each other that we are our own little family now also helps to remind us of what that special day resulted in if nothing else has changed.

Tamara Nicole said...

This is hard! To explain how it feels to "feel married". My hubby and I are going on 3 years. I totally feel married. But it does take time. It's not like the day after your wedding things totally feel different. It's a frame of mind. You learn how to think about you as a married couple, meshing your plans, thoughts, concerns, etc into one. I think over time you rest nicely into a place where you both are thinking about each other when you make any decision.

Great question!

Tia Brumbelow said...

What a great question and I actually had (have) the same thoughts! My Husband and I have been married for about 2 1/2 years and I still fee like a "new wife" I really don't feel like an established married couple. if that makes any sense. I think it just takes time. I feel a bit more married than I did a year ago, but in a good way. I think getting married and getting used to living with someone it's almost like you are getting to know each other all over again. So that can make it feel like it's taking a while to get that "married" feeling ... As far as feeling like part of his or her family. That will just take some time. For me it was easy, we were friends first and so were our families, but I don't think that is so common. I would just maybe hang out more with them. Do a few random activities with them and you'll start to feel more apart of them.. There's not one thing specifically you can do to make yourself feel married, but it will just come, in time. You'll just know , just like you did when you said " I do " =)

Ashlie said...

I love your blog Rhi! I get so excited when you talk about stuff like this. I like the other wedding stuff, but when you talk about yourself and marriage its just that much better. ;) Anyway, I definitely feel married now only after a year and half of marriage. At first it was like we were still dating, but now living together. It was a major transition, as someone else mentioned, to mesh ourselves together and really feel like one. We still have our own things that we do and like separately, but now I have like this overwhelming feeling when I see him that he truly is the man of my dreams. Yeah you feel like that while you're dating and with all the mushy wedding stuff, but to look back on all that time we've spent together now and feel the same and more... it's just so...real and wonderful. Plus, we just found out we're expecting so maybe its the hormones talking. ;)

Glamour and Grace said...

This is a great question. We are coming up on two years and I have often thought about this, though my reasons for not feeling married might be a little different than others. The Mr's family is very controlling (not outwardly in a mean way, they are nice, they just do underhanded things to keep us here and relying on them). So my times when I don't feel married are because he will still go over to his parents house and his mom will have him do chores and help around the house. We are still in the same old town we grew up in so at times it feels like we are just dating. We are planning on moving at the end of the year so we can be in a new place and rely on and grow with each other. I know then that I will truly feel married and we can start creating our own family.

Bride2Be said...

I think this is a great question too - and I agree with what the original writer said about it being different for each couple, each person.

My fiance and I started dating in grade 11, and are going on to 7 years that we have been together, and are getting married in September. We lived together briefly in University, and then we created a little basement apartment at his parents house and lived there for just over a year (something I do NOT recommend! lol)... we finally bought and moved into our own house in March.

I can completely understand how many would relate living together and meshing your lives together as a feeling of "being married", but if thats the case then I have felt like a wife for years! Although I do not expect things to change or feel different when we do finally tie the knot, I do think of marriage as a promise to stay together forever, and to protect and care for one another always... which gives me a new found respect and feeling of trust for him that I cannot wait to feel, and celebrate!

LifeBegins@Thirty said...

I think that the reason why I don't "feel" married is because we lived together first. There wasn't a real change (other than the rings) after we said "I DO" and we probably started acting married well before that day.

You know - thinking of 'we' before 'me' and all that good stuff.

I feel like marriage is kind of like being 30 or 40. When you are 16, you think you know what 30 feels like. Until you get to 30 and you think 'this isn't what I thought it would feel like'.

Maybe the idea of 'feeling married' is sort of like that. You dream/think/guess that marriage will feel different in some way but once you are there, you realize you had no clue!

So maybe not feeling married is actually what marriage feels like!

Laura *You Stir Me* said...

Great question. I hate to admit this but because I love ya and your readers, I'll go ahead - I was worried that once my buddy and I were married, we'd fall into those sitcom married roles (you know, wife is a nagger and husband is lazy/just wants to go out with the guys and watch football all day) even though we are nothing like that. We got married 10 months ago and ever since, I've made sure we stay fresh and don't get hung up on what "married life is supposed to be." We were together 8 years before getting engaged so I've sort of forgotten what life was like without my best friend, my husband. The only time I actually consciously feel married is when I look down at my ring and think of our wedding. Every other time I just feel happy to have my "permasleepovers" with my best friend.

Rachel said...

One of the reasons I was nervous about living together with my fiance because I was worried we wouldn't feel married. I'm still worried about that since we've combined so many things already. But reading this post and the comments really makes me feel better and the analogy of "feeling a year older" really helps to put it in perspective. Thanks!

clearlytangled said...

my question back would be, what is it supposed to feel like to be married?
i would imagine this is a bit different for everyone.

my relationship with my husband didn't really change after we were married, the only difference was that we had paperwork and a change of titles and tax status. i think what actually made me feel "married" was our families and friends perceptions. once we made it official, society saw us in a different way, and treated us a little differently. everyone around me would ask, 'how does it feel to be married?', and i would always respond, 'it actually feels the same'.

Miss K said...

great question! i wish i had an answer though, but i'm in the same boat!

we've only been married less than 2months so i guess that's normal.

I've had some major issues w his family and "blending" the families. i love them, but some things can be so difficult.

la petite coquine said...

Ok, I'm going to admit to something. I squealed when I read this, and then had to explain to John that another person on Earth refers to their coupling as a sleepover every night. I couldn't love you, your honesty or your perspective more, but that's because I share it.

xoxoxx, Lena

So Truly Lovely said...

This is something that I know is quite normal! My husband and I had a whirlwind of dating and engagement (totaling 9 months from the day we started dating to the wedding). We are old-school, super old-school. Hence, the no living together first. It was still a shock to become a wife and realize one primary thing: this would never work unless I learned to love my husband regardless of what I was feeling. I learned that I need to love him through words, cooking meals, taking care of him (every man loves that-or will once they get used to it)...it changed everything once I stopped waiting for my husband to always be the perfect husband and I started just trying to be a great, loving wife. We are almost at a year-we rearranged our lives, I left my super-paying job, and now stay at home and volunteer. It changed my whole heart when I realized I had to love first in order to be loved :) Hope that helps! Re: the family thing...I know it works to love the heck out of them too :) It is just a lot harder because you didn't actually "marry" them...

Nora Rose said...

As someone who isn't married, I feel way more married than most of my friends, and some of the people I know who are married. I've been with my BF for over five years and we recently bought our first house. People always ask when we're going to get married and I want to wait til we can afford a nice wedding, and I feel no need to rush since we're "pretty much married." No paperwork or registry, but I have someone who encourages me to be myself, totally veg out when I need, push myself to finish grad school, remind me that I'm going to pass my exams, and still love me when I'm crazy. I feel super married when my friends are all going out and I wish I didn't have a house/responsibilities/etc, but I'm so grateful to have the relationship.

lady.b said...

Me and my fiance are now 5 years and 3 months together and we are living together for 9 months. And I don't think you are married when you say "I do", it's lot more earlier. And I feel like I don't have any obligations. We're both working 10+ hours every day except sunday and we're spending that free-of-work hours just like we're girlfriend and boyfriend: going out, hangign with friends or watching movies, relaxing and loving each other. I guess that's why. And I'm not perfect wife: our hous is in mess most of the time, I do my laundry once a week, and we're not eating cooking meal every day. Shame on me! But we love and respect eachother very much and I think that is the most important thing in marriage. The rest comes with years, especilly fealing that you are a part of his family.
Love
Biljana

tami brown {fabulouslywed said...

In my 40 years on earth, I learned that marriage and commitment aren't feelings. They are decisions. Sure, one might experience a feeling about it but in the long term feelings and decisions are not necessarily interconnected. You spoke about someone asking you what it felt like to feel older when you had a birthday. Having been married for many, many years and now becoming single, I can share some wisdom with you. I had my first child when I was 20 yrs old. She was beautiful and giggly but I didn't feel like a mom. I can't describe it. I knew I had a baby, I did a great job taking care of her and I enjoyed her but I was bummed because that motherly feeling people tall about wasn't there for me and I started to wonder I that made me less of parent than the average. One day I put her to sleep as I watched TV. She was completely knocked out. I didn't want to disturb her by moving her to the crib so I let her stay on the sofa sleeping like a log. I decided to go get something to drink out of the kitchen and against better judgment, I left her. I was only gone for a few minutes and besides she was sound asleep. Well, she rolled over and fell to the floor. All I heard was a thump followed by her screams and cries. I ran to get her, my heart stopped, I felt her pain and wanted to make it better. That's when it hit me. I was a mom. I actually loved this little pumpkin more than I knew. I wanted to protect her and rescue her. From that point forward I realized that being a mother has nothing to do with the feelings we get (tingly, excitement, happiness) but the feelings that you carry deep inside based on your decision to be a mom. She is now 20 and still living at home because of the love I gave her. In my case, the baby came before the husband because we were both in college, but it was the same scenario. It was a decision not a feeling. We are no longer married, but there was never a time I felt giddy and excited once we were married. It was more about feeling comfortable, being with him felt like I was home no matter where we physically were. And I wanted him to feel as safe as I felt, to love and honor him, be his best friend always. That's what being a wife felt like to me. Just thought I'd share a point of view from a veteran wife and mom.

LAA said...

I'm totally with Tami. I don't think marriage is a "feeling" per se. In my newlywed (one & a half month) opinion marriage is all in the actions. It's the commitment, the teamwork, the trust, the respect and the love between two people. My husband and I lived together for close to 2 years before we said 'I do' so in that regard I considered myself married a long time ago. I think as long as you are working as a team, honoring and supporting one another and loving with your whole heart then you're making your best attempt at "feeling" married.

Amber B said...

So, I have been married for seven years now and a mother for 4 1/2. Do I always feel married? Maybe not. At first especially, it was just different. I think I agree with a Tami that commented earlier, that sometimes it's something that happens that just hits you...this is my life...this is my family. Sometimes I watch a movie or read a book or a real life loss happens and I immediately think what would I do if I lost my husband. In those moments, I feel more married than ever. In the moments when I need a shoulder to cry on or someone to listen to me rant or talk about my crazy blog I am working on, I really feel married and want my husband. He's my best friend and has been for a lot time. Some days it's easy to not "feel" married. You are just going along in life. There's nothing wrong with that. It is decisions and actions. It's now that you have a partner in this life. Married is just a word...it doesn't define you or change you. I love being married. I love having a husband I can rely on and who relies on me. I wouldn't change it for anything. Even on those days when I wonder if being married should feel differently.

Shanna - Nostalgia Film said...

I got married last fall, and I totally "feel married." Of course, the first week or two of "wife, Mrs., husband" were totally weird though! We lived together before, and the real shift for me was when we got engaged. I got this peacefulness of, "Hey, this guy isn't going anywhere," and over the next several months my insecurities melted away. We totally have the "us vs. the world" mentality one commenter mentioned. I think that happened at a happy hour before we got married. We realized, we're on the same team and we're each other's cheerleaders. The other day, after someone in business (oh yes, we started a business together, too!) really upset us, we found our selves starting to take the stress out on each other. We quickly realized and verbalized, "we're on the same team" and realized we can overcome almost anything by banding together. Yeah, we both think being married's pretty awesome.

Nikki said...

Enjoy the in between! Somedays you'll wake up and say "I'm married!!!" other days you'll wake up and say "I'm married..." Every year it will feel a little different and you'll feel a little differently about it. And you know what...it will be hard to relate until you go through it yourself.