The above fact made reading the whole book worth it, although, to be fair, the rest of the book was pretty good, too. But the above just allowed me to breathe a huge sigh of relief. I kept fearing that maybe being so happy in my marriage was just "beginners' luck," kept thinking that everyone is happy in the first couple years of marriage, but who knows when the other shoe is going to drop. But I know that in many cases, the opposite is true, too -- that people's early years of marriage are the hardest, as they adjust. Ivan and I have definitely had our "adjustment" moments in the past year, but nothing that feels insurmountable or calls into question the decision we made.
Last night, I mentioned to Ivan the statistic I've carried around since I read about it back in college -- that the chemical process that causes people to feel "in love" can physically only last from 6 months to 3 years. If you still feel love for someone after that, then you can feel confident that there's something deeper in place. I teased Ivan that I was afraid I'd wake up the morning after January 9 and we wouldn't love each other any more (last Jan 9 marked 3 years since we met). (And although I was teasing, there was this little part of me that was really afraid of marrying Ivan while I was still potentially in the zone for my brain chemicals to get the better of me.) Ivan said, "If anything, I've loved you more since we've been married."
It was so unexpected that my breath stopped for a moment. I felt the same way, except that I've never articulated it, only hoping that the feeling was mutual -- in spite of the occasional bouts of crying, disagreements over sex, and crankiness over housework. I was so relieved to know that, in spite of all the less flattering bits Ivan sees now that we're married, he still must see more good. And my feeling deep down that, overall, this really seems to be working, is valid.
I told him that I felt the same way and that I hoped the trend continued, but I was too caught off guard to really articulate how much his saying that meant to me. Back when we were dating, I was wary of telling myself that certain issues would be "smoothed over" once we were married. I didn't want to believe that marriage would be a magical "cure" of any sort. But in many ways, it has been. Many of the issues we had when we were dating simply *don't* exist now that we're married, and I think that's why our relationship has only flourished since then. I think when we were dating, we both yearned deep down for a time when we could just *be* together, something that wasn't quite possible in the somewhat artificial framework of dating. There's no more tension over what we will and won't do sexually; there's no more tension about who travels to see the other more; there's no more tension about whether we give each other enough time and attention when we are together, because there are so many more opportunities to be together. Sometimes I look back at our time dating and all the bumps we we encountered, and I feel so grateful that we held on in spite of it -- because things really are much nicer on this side.