L and I visited his Nana last week. Nana is 94 years old, and not only does she live alone, she played scrabble with us until 4:30 am! I learned some new words (the xu is a type of vietnam currency), and it got me thinking about how much different it must have been for Nana when she was approaching her wedding date.
L and I have been building our lives together for the past 5 years, and we've been living together for the past 4. I can't imagine marrying someone that I haven't lived with. Nana probably hadn't spend any unsupervised time with her 'beau' before they were married. How can you really know someone if you've never seen any thing but what they show everyone else? No, perverts, I'm not talking about sex. I'm talking about a person's quirks and bad habits and grumps.
I know that L is a water sprite-whether he is washing the dishes, his hair or his hands its water, water, everywhere. I leave my socks everywhere. No, I actually leave everything everywhere and have a pessimistic view of house cleaning (its all just going to get dirty again anyways). L puts his dishes into the sink, it ends up filling with water from washing hands, getting water to drink, etc, and the dishes sit in the dirty water for days at a time. I leave cat vomit on the floor until it is hard enough to scrape off the floor so that I don't have to get cat bile on my fingers that has seeped through the paper towel.
None of these things are deal breakers, but I like the fact that I know that marriage isn't a 1950's sitcom. Real married life is about love, loyalty and trust, but it is also about laundry, cat vomit and dishes. Real life must have been quite the surprise to brides back then - I don't imagine they were warned very often about how hard it is to be married or to run a home or forgive or ask for forgiveness. It must have been unimaginably hard to be newlyweds back in the day. You'd be struggling to do all the housewifely things that I am not good at, as well as nuture this new relationship this is so different from the one that you use to have with your beau.
The L that I fell in love with wasn't the one that he showed everyone else. Now that I do know the real him, I can see it whenever I look at him, but at first it showed in the quiet spaces between outings, comfortable silences during long car rides and how comfortable I was doing absolutely nothing with him. He saw me through wild mood swings, nights when I drank too much and migraine headaches. I know that he will take care of me and I of him because we've already DONE that. I am so comforted to know that we've already seen hard times and weathered through them (university, depression, being fired from a job, poverty, parents divorce, drunkenly telling off divorced parent, etc).
It must have been exciting for brides from long ago to get married, but also terrifying. They didn't date as long as we do now. After 5 years, I think I would know if L had a drinking/ gambling/womanizing problem, but if they only had chaperoned meetings for 6 months they would have no idea. Talk about a rude awakening when you realize that your husband is womanizing alcoholic, you're pregnant and he's drinking you into the poor house. Terrifying.
I am so thankful that I live in a time that I can really get to know the person that I am going to marry before I promise to stand by him for the rest of my life. I am thankful that I feel secur in my love and life with him, and that I approach my wedding day with no fear of the unknown. Our future holds unknown and possibly dark possibilities but at least we know each other and know that we can weather the storm.