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No how-to after “I do”: adjusting to post-wedding life

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“We hurt, and are hurt,/and have each other for healing./It is healing. It is never whole.”

— Wendell Berry, “Marriage”

First, an apology.

For those of you who read this column, I am sorry I missed a week. It was unavoidable. I was getting married.

And to the editor who hired me, I am sorry I am once again writing about myself. I resolved not to do that anymore but it’s been difficult lately. At least I can say I am performing my civic duty, increasing the population of Jefferson County by one.

On Sunday, after 10 days filled with strange and wondrous happenings, I brought my wife, Meredith, home to Watertown. Our apartment is now a mess of open suitcases and unopened presents — a bevy of gifts not deserved but wholly appreciated. We are here.

After the excitement of the federal primary election, I drove to Wheeling, W.Va., peeling my work worries away layer by layer until I arrived at my destination a new-born babe, free of cares and concerns, until it was time to talk to our DJ, who seemed perplexed by our music choices.

No one will dance to these songs, he told us.

But we sorted that out, and, apart from a few other small hiccups, the weekend and the wedding went very well. Four days later, we were married.

It was a week and a half filled with strange and eerie coincidences, like seeing my high school English teacher painting houses across the street from my parents’ place, running into my high school drama teacher at a rest stop deep in southern West Virginia, or staring at a placid peregrine falcon in the face as we walked underneath one of the world’s longest single-space arch bridges.

And then there was getting married in the church that I grew up in, sitting in the sacristy, feeling like a fourth-grade altar server again, the whole ceremony a dream, the Mass populated by people from so many different parts of our lives.

If I seem a bit disoriented, a bit shell-shocked, it’s because I’m still trying to piece the memories together into some kind of a coherent narrative. It’s good to be back at work, it feels right to try to settle back into the old patterns, but things are different, there’s no denying it.

I don’t know what happens next, or how to handle this new state of affairs. It was easy in the days leading up to the wedding and in the seemingly ceaseless party that followed. Now we are trying to figure out how to live together — not just for a weekend or a couple of weeks but for the foreseeable future.

It’s a heady experience. As I gear back up for the next round of columns, trying to find interesting local people to highlight, I wonder if any of our readers would be willing to share their experiences. What were your first weeks of marriage like? What worked and what didn’t work? What challenges lie ahead? Young and old are welcome to respond. My email address is available below and on our website. I look forward to hearing from you.

Daniel Flatley is a staff writer covering politics for the Watertown Daily Times. He writes a column once a week for the local section of the paper. He can be reached at dflatley@wdt.net.

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