I've been married for a little more than a month. During that time, several people have asked me what it feels like -- if it feels any different to be married. The easy answer was, no, it doesn't feel much different. After all, this isn't something Frances and I went into lightly, and having lived together for almost two years prior, we had essentially been living the life of a married couple.
There are, however, a few differences I've noticed that can't be articulated as well in a sentence as they can be here. So for those of you who asked and got the short answer, here's the long answer.
One of the major differences is that I'm more aware of my own mortality than I ever have been. In the run up to the wedding, I joked to a few friends about having these moments, mostly when I'm driving too fast. I catch myself thinking, Slow down. You can't die now. You're not allowed to die now. I'm stunned twice over by thoughts like this for two reasons:
a) The obvious feeling of fear or anxiety that something like driving didn't used to provoke.
b) That I was once so non-nonchalant about the possibility of dying. Not that I had a death wish or was suicidal. I knew the end was out there, but I was confident that it wouldn't be today. It wouldn't be for a long time. Now, I'm not so sure...
As a married man, the anxiety that was once a dull hum is now more audible, especially while doing the following: wandering down dark streets, encountering black bears while walking the dog, riding in boats, or operating or repairing any piece of equipment with the potential maim or kill. This includes, but is not limited to, putting new brakes on my car, testing the draw length and weight of my bow, crossing busy streets, and moving a chainsaw from one side of the garage to the other.
It's not that I'm paralyzed with fear. But being married has made me more aware of how temporary and fragile life is. Maybe this is part of the reason why married men tend to live longer. I love my wife. I love our life together. I don't want it to end. So maybe I'll pass on that motorcycle. Maybe I'll skip out before the last round. Maybe I'll have another helping of Brussels sprouts.
Whatever it takes to give me more time with her.