By Savitre “Rapture” Schaefferkoetter, Contributing Writer

Marriage was my salvation.

Intuitively, I can predict how my life was going, and if I hadn’t made the decision that ultimately led to my marriage, I know in my gut how my life would be now. I also know I wouldn’t be as happy and secure as I am now.

Some will say it feels different, and others feel like it’s a continuation of living together. I do feel the difference. People treat you differently. Women respect you. Men look at you like the one who got away. Who’s the lucky man who was smart enough to claim this girl as his own? Women see you as an adult, no longer a girl.

Married folks will give you advice, and joyfully reflect with you on when they themselves were newlyweds. Couples around you will suddenly start getting engaged after you … or impatient to get somewhere in their lives. Single folks will rejoice for you, while silently pondering their own love lives.

Yes, you get the baby question. As annoying as it is, you must ask it of yourself and your partner. How will the child be raised? What sex are you aiming for, and how many? Will you keep trying until you have the right numbers of the “right” sex, or just be grateful for whatever comes out? Do you want the little ones at all? As for us, we would prefer a boy and a girl, and to wait a year before trying.

Finances – We live in a materialistic world. Money is going to have its effect on your marriage, and it could be a neutral factor, or lead to your downfall. Discuss joint accounts versus individual accounts. Who’s paying for dates now? Is it time to scale back, or are you still in the spend-happy honeymoon phase? Justin and I have scaled back, and chose to have a joint account as well as keep our individual ones.

Family – I hope for you that your family was nothing but supportive. Ours was, thankfully. They helped when they were needed, and let us do our thing otherwise.

The name change – I chose to do it. Would you like to know my name now? It’s Savitre L Geeratisoontorn Schaefferkoetter.  I have two middle names, and my last name is my husband’s. That’s what could fit on my Social Security card. And it was my decision (although secretly, I think Justin looked forward to me joining him in Schaefferkoetter-ism).

Your image – People have been watching you since you first got engaged, and will continue watching you for a month or so after the wedding. They joke, “Now you can let yourself go!” Ladies, I urge you to do the opposite. I started paying more attention to my hair and makeup a month before the wedding, and I’m still keeping it up to the best of my ability. I strongly believe that marriage can’t be taken for granted. You must strive to continue to impress each other, not just in maintaining your looks, but in being kind to each other, being each other’s best friend, and keeping up in health and happiness together. We all know someone who is “unhappily married”, maybe has weight gain, disheveled looks, and a perpetual frown to boot. People watch that. Don’t just look the part – be the part. Fall in love with your spouse every day, and let that shine.

Let this truly be a new chapter in your life. Now that the wedding madness is over, work on things that you’ve been meaning to, but haven’t had the chance. Drop the bad habits, if any. Really think about what’s next on your journey. Whatever it may be, make sure you guys go on that journey together!

I tried covering everything I could here, but to sum up, I am happily married, and plan to stay that way!


Image: Savitre Schaefferkoetter