So I’ve being with my other half for 6 years, married for 18 months, and while our relationship is amazing, I would have never imagined being someone’s wife at the age of 23. We were engaged and living together 6 months after dating, so you could say we did things fast. I always thought that after living with someone for some years, marriage wouldn’t change much, but I must say that it did actually change the dynamics of the relation, and more shockingly, it changed me.
The first obvious thing is the name. Whereas at first I was ready to change my name, once the time came around to actually do it, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I felt that giving up my name was a way of just giving away my identity. I was becoming someone’s wife, nothing more, nothing less. In Spain, this practise doesn’t exist, so it was just totally alien to me. People kept asking me when I was changing my name, and that just infuriated me. What, was my name not good enough? Also, the longer I was taking to change my name, the more my husband was also questioning my intentions as he knew I spoke to him about changing my name before we were married, but as I was having second thoughts, he wasn’t very comforting either which made me even more angry. Such a man’s world, I thought! At the end, I compromised, so that at work I am known as Zaira Hylton, but in my passport I am still very much a Hernandez. (I must say the new last name is making my professional life so much easier but that is a topic I shall discuss at another time)
The other changes were more subtly. People would behave differently towards me. I would go for drinks with my friends and they would eye me up if I had an extra glass of wine as if that behaviour wasn’t expected from a wife. Then of course, the whole ‘when are the kids coming?’ ordeal started which I found unnerving as I am not planning to have kids so you can imagine how awkward these convos got. Now I just smile when asked that question.
And then of course there is the feeling of ‘this is it’. After months of planning, the wedding comes and goes, and then you realise that this is it. You can’t walk out (well, yes there is divorce but that’s just not an option) so you are stuck. Of course, this hysterical phase does pass, but I did feel like I no longer knew who I was. When I was younger, I was a very different person to how I am now, so settling down and having routines, chores and annual summer trips felt very boring and not very me. I kept looking around and seeing how other married couples were the same, and the thought of doing this over and over again for the next 4o years freaked me out. I am in my mid-20s and ‘missing the greatest year of my life’. This is what kept going through my brain every day. This is of course not easy to admit, but it was something that needed to be sorted out. I didn’t want my marriage to start like that.
However, you do adjust to your new life, and start realising how amazing it is to have someone who is there for you. All you need is time to let the nerves settle and see how wonderful life can be. Having a contract made us care about each other more, because it was written in law, and the love just increased. You come to a realisation that you still have a million adventures waiting to discover. Of course, there are ups and downs, but that goes without saying. Marriage is the hardest and easiest things I’ve ever done, and one of the things I relish the more. Yes we do fight about who does more chores in the house, but those a silly things that actually keep the marriage alive.
Being a young wife is very uncommon these days, but I always feel that if your heart is telling you to do something, then you must what it says!