The First Year of Marriage – Part 2

It’s officially been six full months since we got married, and we are still learning a lot about one another. Intercultural marriage is challenging at times, but my husband and I both learn a lot each day, and our lives will never be boring. Even since the three-month mark, a lot has happened, and it’s amazing to look back on how much we’ve progressed since we first started dating and since our wedding day.

At the beginning of the year, I decided to take a part-time job rather than a full-time job, and I now have a routine that balances social outings, personal time, and time with my husband. I have enjoyed it a lot so far, and all the extra time I spend at home has been nice. I try to use it for self-improvement as much as possible, and I feel much less guilty about making sure my needs are met.

When I first came to Korea, I was lonely and daunted at the thought of making friends, and though I still feel down sometimes when I compare myself to others (something I’m still working on) I know that I have a great support network of friends near and far. My Korean skills have improved a lot, and I’m able to hold decently long conversations with native speakers now. I should really sign up for another TOPIK test to motivate me more, and maybe some Korean classes to widen my circle of connections.

My list of hobbies that I actively engage in continues to grow. As of now, I mainly stay indoors and do crafts, write, or read, but I am about to push myself to sign up for taekwondo again. My mom sent me my sparring gear and my old uniform, including my belts, so I have everything I need to feel at least decent (though those kids who are ranked red and black belt still make me stop and rethink my life choices).

Because of all the time I have to myself to use as I wish (improving, relaxing, socializing) both of us notice a difference. When we both worked a lot, things around the house didn’t get done for weeks, both of us were too tired or stressed to do anything on the weekends or on weeknights, and our communication suffered. Now that I have time to rejuvenate, which, as an ambivert leaning toward the ambivert side, is a necessity, I can take care of my husband’s needs, manage the house, and take care of our cat.

When Junkyu comes home from a long day (which is often), I can make dinner, clean up, and my cheerful mood usually takes a lot of stress off his shoulders. That means we can spend less time griping and more time asking about one another. On the weekends, we both pitch in to organize, clean, and do the things we have to do together, but then we still have time to watch movies together and socialize with mutual friends.

Both of us have noticed, in just the six months that we’ve been married, that neither of us is ever particularly stressed or sick as often as we used to be. I asked Junkyu to list a few things that he’s noticed have changed for the better since we got married, and he said that I don’t get upset as often, I understand him better, and I’m better around the house. He used to get upset when I couldn’t understand his need for kimchi jjigae in the morning, but now I try to make it without his help. (Still need practice, but I’m getting there.)

I’m also happy to report that most of our plants are still alive (many died in the heat this summer, and some went down to bugs and disease, but neither of us have any idea how to fight those off) and the roses that my grandma bought for me as a birthday present are still blooming and sprouting new buds. All of our house plants are also really healthy, and Penny is so big now that you would barely recognize her had you seen her the first day we took her home from the shelter.

Recycling, eating healthy, and communicating properly are a few of the things we’ve been focusing on recently, so although we are busy, we feel as though we are heading in a good direction. We are also starting to carve out the plans for our American wedding, and we might even have a date and a location! I’m still being asked constantly when we plan on having kids, but for now I’m just enjoying the newlywed life.