What He's Really Thinking After 1, 5, and 10 Years of Marriage
"The first year of marriage is truly a great one. That feeling of new love permeates all you do with your spouse. Even things you've done together before feel special because you know it's now part of a mutual life. This feeling of growth as one entity is both amazing and unique to this time. Plus all of that sweet, sweet action is hard to beat!"
Dean N.*, 34
*Name has been changed.
"The hard parts: Being a single guy is different from being a married guy, and patterns you know from before need to change. Also, the level of disclosure changes, and discussing everything from finances to hopes for the future becomes 'we' versus 'I'.
"The great parts: Having a partner to discuss [the aforementioned] 'we' versus 'I,' planning for the future, knowing that someone is always there for you, seeing someone who supports you when you get home (especially after a really bad day), and having someone to take care of. One of my favorite parts of the first year of marriage was cooking for her all the time, and she would pretend it was great. (Most of the times it was, but she indulged my missteps.) I love being married and think the world of her. But it's still scary, especially as I see so many friends and ex's getting divorced. I don't know if or when being married gets easy, but it's exciting to be on this journey with somebody else."
Brendan R., 34
"I remember thinking how blessed I was to be with my wife. We were engaged less than 10 months after meeting each other, and our relationship was filled with much hope and promise as we settled into an apartment in NYC. She was just starting her career in the federal government, and I was finishing my last year of law school, where we met.
"We thoroughly enjoyed our time together -- dining out and traveling -- with little to no pressure from work and kids. The best part about marriage is that it helps us be our true selves. The marital contract formed with a spouse (both legal and social) is powerful because the contract erects barriers to leaving the relationship. This helps couples feel more secure. Whereas most couples wouldn't complain about 'the little things' (e.g. leaving water on the sink) married couples have the freedom to mention these types of nuisances knowing that their spouse won't run for the hills. At first, these changes may feel trivial and nagging, but they're ultimately the best thing for the relationship. After all, you will spend the rest of your lives together, so why deal with those pet peeves forever? In short, marriage injects more honesty, and that's a plus in the long run."
Rodrigo F., 28, CEO of SpiceGuides.com
"Marriage requires constant communication and attention, but the reward is unmeasurable happiness. My sun still rises and sets with Aimee, and I still get all tingly every time I see her. It's the greatest feeling in the world knowing that you always have someone in your corner."
Justin G., 34
"Since there are no more long-term question marks in our relationship, there's a rhythm that was unknowingly missing before we got married. We have each quickly assumed our apropos roles in our relationship and are constantly working together to achieve common goals. Decisions are always made with both of us in mind, and the dependency on one another is really comfortable.
"Getting married also popped a life milestone off the stack for us, and now we get to focus on new future events like children and building a home, which has been lots of fun. I try not to focus too much on expectations and, instead, take things day by day...We have worked through some tough moments over our first year of marriage and always come out with a stronger relationship. I certainly expect that to continue! I've learned that] it's possible to love my wife more with every year."
Daniel I., 29
"After five years of marriage, I can say that I love my wife more than ever. Our relationship is the thing I'm most proud of in my life and we still work at it daily. I think of marriage as a competition to see who can serve their partner better. Some days I feel like I'm falling behind and I'll make sure to do something nice or unexpected. It keeps it fresh and keeps us both very happy."
Judd H., 35
"We're in the middle of raising two gorgeous girls, four and 19 months. I am so thankful that my wife and I have always been able to laugh with and at each other, at the sleepless nights of teething and fevers, at the tantrums, at the marvelous honesty of our kids. Humor has often been our savior. I am a lucky guy for finding an amazing woman, and a remarkable mom."
Scott H., 38
"Being married for 10 years is awesome. I spent the first 23 years of my life concentrating on finding potential hook ups, so I missed out on so many wonders that the world has to offer. Now that I've been married for so long, I don't need to worry about that stuff anymore, and instead it's like, 'Wow, look at all the amazing things I missed before.'
"For example, I saw a Great Blue Heron while I was jogging yesterday. A Great Blue Heron is like a flying dinosaur, and I totally would have missed that before I had gotten married because I would have been completely focused on how to approach and talk to the sorority girl in a sports bra and short shorts doing calisthenics by the running path. Now I'm just focused on the Great Blue Heron. It's beautiful."
Aaron T., 34