I just returned home to my three flat apartment in Chicago from a trip to visit my parents and family in Georgia. I take an annual trip every August to see my brothers and celebrate all our July birthdays. It’s a nice, relaxing trip every year. This year I’m a newlywed. I’m thirty-two, and have been married all of three and a half months. I didn’t quite  expect this weekend to be much different than prior years, when my now husband would travel with me as my boyfriend, then as my fiance. It was a surprise for me. My interactions with my family were the same; I laughed and joked with my brothers, my interactions and tensions with my mom hadn’t changed. Their home looked as Better Home and Garden cover as ever.  What had changed was that I was married. I often wonder if getting married younger is an easier adjustment. Different struggles to be sure, but early mid twenties are a time of adventure and flexibility and change.  I’m set and pretty settled by myself at this point in my life.

Until this weekend, I don’t know why, but I hadn’t really thought of myself as married. I hadn’t really seen my husband as family.  Over these past few days, I had the chance to step back and watch my parents interact with each other as husband and wife and not just mom and dad. I watched my husband step up and handle my expenses instead of my dad. I headed downstairs to the guest apartment with my husband at night time, instead of to my room upstairs on the upper level with my family of origin. My husband and I had conflict, just like we do in our own home, and I had to step away from time with my parents and brothers to work out our moments.

I realized that I am married and my husband is family now. For better or for worse, he and I are together. Maybe our family will grow to include children or maybe it will just be the two of us for a long time. Not everything goes as smoothly as I would hope, and he does a lot of things differently than my family of origin would. This is what it is though, and gives me a much needed perspective change. Despite the fact that he’s laying on the couch watching crime dramas right now, which is not my favorite way to spend an evening, I think this relationship will be a good road.