Thursday, October 23, 2008

Marriage and lupus

Being married can be both wonderful and stressful at the same time.
I was surprised by the guilt one feels when you realize that marriage is a lot of work- like you think you should be all sunshine and happiness, but now you realize- crap! there's a lot more cleaning and cooking to do! And, don't want to complain about it, but there is a big time investment in learning to communicate with your significant other, and making sure they're happy and the relationship is healthy.

And let's not forget about how stressful the actual process of getting married is! Oy! Men may never understand this one (unless they're gay, then they totally get it).

Every time my hubby tells me our wedding day was the happiest day of my life, I smile and say that's sweet. because i am really glad that he was so happy to be marrying me, and that his wedding day was perfect. But I was totally stressed out! We were supposed to have a casual rehearsal dinner, but then i got word my older sister had bought a "hot slinky" dress for the occasion, so i had to scrounge up a nice dress on short notice. Not acceptable for the bride to be the most casually dressed person in the room!

Between one of my bridesmaids making sure I knew she hated her bridesmaid's dress ... or people complaining because they would turn around and the bartender would throw out their drinks so my parents would have to pay for another one... or me having to decide when to send everyone upstairs to dinner, or being dragged outside to take pictures while leaving other folks inside, or not being able to get my bustle to work (i had 6 people working on it during the reception, finally went to the first dance with my train all over the floor)... My decision-making and fire-putting-out was not over til we reached our honeymoon destination.

I would marry my hubby all over again in a second, but I wouldn't want to go through that wedding planning thing twice. the gown was nice, the groom's a keeper, the presents were nice, the pictures are sweet, but i never want to undertake such a huge party again. Too many decisions, too many people to try and make happy, too much stress. And stress is *very* bad when you have lupus, especially in large long sustained doses laden with high emotions. If I had to live it over again, i'd hire a wedding planner. Without even blinking.

I almost forgot to mention that the original date for the wedding was october 2006, but we didn't get married 'til June, 2007. I landed in the hospital (with lupus) 6 weeks before the original date, because of the stress. So many freaking decisions and so much drama. We had to move the date out by 8 months (i wanted a year so my hair could grow back after being inundated with prednisone in the hospital) but other folks involved would only go as far as June 30. Which weirdly is my Mom's birthday and Mom and Dad's wedding anniversary. And for some reason we had to sing happy birthday to one of the children attending not once but 3 times during my wedding weekend, including at the actual wedding (but not for my mom?).

Once married, i realized the housecleaning and cooking was on me. Before he realized it bothered me, my hubby used to invite people over then says "Oh we'll just order a pizza, and they can sit on the floor. if they don't like the mess or lack for furniture, screw them!" He didn't realize ('til I told him) that this reflects on *me* now, not him. It still always reflects on the woman, an old pre-women's lib relic. He gets it now, but only after inviting people over several times and watching me freak out trying to come up with edible food and make the house look habitable (I'm really not much of a cook). Now, I say "OK I'll clean toilets, you do sinks. i'll sweep, you vaccuum." etc. Keeps me from being resentful, and he's totally cool with it.

On the flip side, he has wound up with the traditional role of provider, paying the mortgage, all the bills, and I sporadically contribute what I can. I'm sure being breadwinner for two is an amount of stress I can't even imagine. Or handle.

So, now we got past all those initial hurdles of the wedding planning, the sorting out of gender roles, and learning to communicate with each other... there are tons of great things about being married. Many more pluses than minuses. Having a best friend who you live with, someone to share all the high and low and in between points of life with. Through sickness and health, for better and for worse, having a real home to come home to (and we adopted the sweetest dog ever born). After all that initial craziness, being married is far less stressful (assuming you get a great spouse of course) than being single.

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