What no one ever tells you about marriage
FORGET new cutlery and saying goodbye to your share house furniture, married life is all about knowing who's in charge of paying the internet bill on time and waiting for your partner to go away, writes Katy Hall.
Things like saying goodbye to the furniture from your share house days or buying the slightly more expensive homewares and bed linen; adjusting to saying "my husband" and hearing your husband say "my wife" for the first time; opening joint bank accounts; sending messages to one another at the end of the day to ask what time the other will be home; knowing who is in charge of groceries and who is responsible for the internet.
It's all part of the novelty that comes with living through an experience popular culture has spent every minute of your life up until then telling you that you'll one day reach.
And for the most part, all of it is as great as the movies lead you to expect. But what they don't tell you is just how happy you will be when your partner leaves.
This week, my husband left for what will ultimately be a three-week trip overseas for work. And thanks to Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, emails and just about every other app out there, the ways in which we can continue to share videos of our dog doing cute things are practically endless.
But what his departure really revealed is that - just five months into married life - I really love it when he goes away.
The house is tidier. The food I bought two days ago is still in the cupboard. I can work as late as I like or go to bed early as I please without feeling like a complete bore. There's no wait time for the shower in the morning or call out of "give it a minute" before you can safely enter the bathroom. I don't have to worry about eating eggs on toast for the third night in a row if that's what I feel like, and all of those saved Netflix series and movies are waiting for me like old faithful friends.
There's quite literally half the laundry to do and if I want to spend four hours in bed reading on a Saturday, well, that's exactly what I'll do because there's nobody to ask me when I'm getting up or how long I plan to stay in bed or whether there's any bread in the freezer.
Before we met and moved in together some years ago, I spent the better part of my adult life living on my own. There were stints of share housing and juggling a kitchen between four people trying to pay as little rent as humanly possible, but mostly I was lucky enough to earn a wage that allowed me to go it alone in a relatively nice shoebox near the city.
And just like Joni Mitchell warned, I didn't realise what I had until it was gone, or rather, until this week came along. But this week I saw how many seemingly insignificant things I gave up in that very worthwhile trade-off for the kind of love that allows you to wear high waisted tracksuit pants around the house without judgment.
Things like going for long and winding walks to nowhere on the weekends or going to the movies alone or eating an entire pizza in one sitting.
Perhaps this split life of together and alone time is the real secret to success, and something that one day I can tell the newlyweds to look forward long after the thrill of saying "my husband" has worn off. Or perhaps I just need to start ordering two pizzas instead of one.
Katy Hall is a columnist for RendezView.com.au @katyhallway