Some Thoughts on Marriage (Six Months In)

I thought about writing this during my honeymoon, but decided to give myself at least six months to become an expert on marriage.

I’m kidding.

One reason I’m writing it is to capture my thoughts and revisit them two, ten, 25 years later to see how my views have changed and evaluate what I’ve learned. It’s also to address one of the questions I’ve been asked several times over the past six months, “how does it feel?”

Usually before I can answer, the question is followed by the statement, “well, you were living together before getting married, so it’s probably not that different.” And yes, in many ways, not much has changed. We’ve been living together for more than two years, and it’s no surprise that the everyday stuff we were used to before the wedding was waiting for us after the honeymoon (minus the wedding planning). We still have chores. We still have to decide what’s for dinner. Bills have to be paid. Being married hasn’t changed any of that. But of course, that’s not the complete picture.

Fo’ Life

I’ll start with the obvious: Krista and I have chosen each other for a lifelong commitment. That’s not lost on me. I plan on spending the rest of my life enjoying it with her. If things go well, we’ll raise a family and grow old together. She is my eternal partner-in-crime. The only greater commitment I can imagine is becoming a parent.

Death and Marriage

To paraphrase the wise literary figure, Uncle Ben Parker, with great commitment comes great responsibility. Some months ago, lawyers visited my office to talk with all of us about estate planning. Fun stuff. “Boyfriend Don” never really thought about my estate (I have an estate?) and what should be done with it in the event of my demise. That Don probably would have skipped the session. However, when it was announced, I thought, “oh right…I have to think about Krista if something happens…I better go.” Maybe it’s a morbid example of the responsibility that I feel now, but I don’t see it that way. Instead, I’ve started building a legacy for my branch of the Woods family tree. I take pride in that.

Family

And our union is not just a branch of the Woods family tree, but it’s also a part of my wife’s family tree. I’m a new uncle to my nieces and nephews, a son-in-law, and a brother-in-law. I love having all of these roles now (it helps that I really love Krista’s family). When one of my nieces runs to me shouting “Uncle Don Don!” I can’t help but to smile. I’m no longer just a guy dating Krista. I’m the silly, tall, Black uncle to many Indonesian/multiracial kids, and that’s dope. America.

So yes, marriage feels different. My life has expanded. I’m a husband. Not a fiancé, not a boyfriend — a husband. There’s a pretty big upgrade in commitment and responsibility that comes along with that title. And I’m excited to see how our lives will continue to expand together.