Dear Old, Cynical Married Folks: Stop Downplaying Our Newlywed Love

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Dear Old Married Couples: Stop Downsizing Our Newlywed Love

She said something I truly despise: "Oh, you're newlyweds! Well, just wait."

Around my fourth wedding anniversary, I was traveling with a tour group of women across Italy. We were all married, but for varying lengths of time. Aside from someone who'd only been married for a year or so, I was the closest thing to a newlywed.

We got to talking about our spouses, as tends to happen when married women get together, and I praised my husband for being him. He deserves it, too: he cooks, he cleans, he basically lets me travel around and do my work without much complaint. He's an all-around amazing guy.

A woman across the table, who'd been married for 20-something years, asked how long we'd been married. I replied, four years. And then she said something I truly despise: "Oh, you're newlyweds! Well, just wait."

I laughed a little in response, but inside I was fuming. Wait for what? Wait for my marriage to break down like you seem to assume it will? Wait for the love to fade? Wait for passion to disappear?

Who was she to make that kind of assumption about my relationship? She may know me but doesn't know my husband or know us as a couple. She has no idea what our relationship is like or what we've been through to get where we are today. But she still felt the need to make some tired remark that's ever-so-common from couples who have been married for a much longer time than us.

"Just wait." Please. Keep your disparaging comments to yourself.

Let this be a notice to all couples who no longer consider themselves newlyweds: this is not OK. It's not OK to look at a young couple and say to yourself, "Oh ho ho, they're in for it!" It's not OK to assume you know anything about someone's marriage other than your own.

And it's definitely not OK to downplay the love a newlywed couple has for each other or to shatter their optimism about what the future might hold, which is exactly what saying "just wait" does.

It tells the young couple that you have no faith in their relationship to stay as strong and as loving as it is in the beginning. It tells them that maybe something in your marriage is now lackluster, and you expect that to happen to them. It shoves a young couple's bond to the side in favor of a depressing "reality" that you think everyone will have.

It's not right and it isn't fair. So please, stop doing it. We don't need that. We need hope and positivity, not someone who will perpetuate the myth that people can't stay together for many years and still be happy and in love.

And just in case you're still thinking, "Oh, she's just a newlywed, she doesn't know," here's my business: I was married before. To a man I was with for the better part of a decade. And getting divorced was hard and painful and traumatic. But we didn't stop caring about each other because we were no longer newlyweds.

Divorce carries with it a hefty weight: a combination of shame, depression, and sobering knowledge. I came out the other side of mine knowing what I want and don't want, but also knowing that yes, regardless of how long you're married, if you're with the person right for you (like I am now), you don't have to worry about "just waiting."

The love, passion and connection will never fade. And that's something all of you older married couples should think long and hard about.



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