I had this one professor whose advice I always believed. Even the advice that I pooh-poohed at the time turned out to be right later, of course. So one thing that he always said worried me for a long time. He used to say something to the effect that "it's after marriage that The Crazies come out".
It doesn't matter how long you've been dating, or whether you live together, or whatever--making that commitment to make the person legally your family is the acid test of the relationship. And it usually happens right away!
This makes a lot of sense, as we've all seen those couples who've been together for seven years, get married, and are divorced within three months. There's just a different type of interaction when you're really viewing the person as family, with all those associations, good and bad.
You can often get a preview of what's ahead by viewing your own family of origin. I know every family has their thing, but my family certainly has its share of issues, I'll-tell-you-whut.
Therefore I was secretly worried for quite a while about exactly what kind of Crazies would come out if I got married. Would I suddenly turn dependent? Mean? Ravenously insecure? Depressed? Lose myself entirely? Be argumentative? Turn out to be lazy and selfish? (Okay, that one's not a big stretch.)
And this was just the potential for my side of the problem. Who knew what a completely other person would have lurking inside.
However, I have been waiting for the shoe to fall for ... oh, about nine months now, and I'm relieved to say that I really don't seem to have changed very much at all, and neither has my spouse. In fact, I would say that grad school changed me a lot more within nine months than marriage has.
Overall, so far the whole thing is a lot more easy and pleasant than you'd think, based on popular culture. I guess given my field I'm not very well-placed to see all the people who are doing just fine thanks, so I may have a skewed image from a personal viewpoint, as well.
But so far, it's really quite fun! Even just sitting around together. A lot of the time it's like having a constant sleepover. I mean, sure, we've had to work out agreements about money and so forth, but once you're in agreement about that, it doesn't seem like a big deal. Well, as long as you both follow through with the plans you make, of course. (I know that money is a big marriage-buster, if not the biggest, so that's one you really do have to hash out.)
Even after spending all this daily time together, we can still laugh ourselves sick over something silly. Oh, our kids are going to be so humiliated by us. (But they'll thank us for it later.)
Now, kids--that's another point where The Crazies come out. I guess we'll see soon enough...