Marriage: The First Year

By Laura
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    “So, hows married life treating you?” The question everyone will ask you throughout your first year of marriage. I don’t know why people even ask because I’m pretty sure everyone says the same thing. “Oh everything is so great!”. 

    Well, the truth is, the first year of marriage wasn’t full of rainbows and rays of sunshine. It was by no means terrible, just much harder then we thought.

    Andrew and I are best friends, we love each other and want to experience life together but quickly realized marriage is much more. No one really talks about marriage the first year being really hard so I expected it to be bliss. This was not the case. If you feel this way, you are not alone. If your not married yet, your welcome for the heads up.

    No matter how long you have been together, you have to readjust as a married couple and it takes some time. I wish someone would have told me this sooner because I spent a lot of the first year questioning what a “normal marriage” was.

    Are we having a healthy amount of arguments, enough sex and interesting conversation? I felt scared, excited, trapped, complete, happy and confused…all over the place.

    We are about two years in and still working through some stuff but I feel better knowing that we aren’t the only ones. These are some important things I’ve learned so far:

    I and Me vs. Us and We

    You’re a team now. I know this one sounds pretty obvious but it will eventually hit you; you are in it for the long haul. Decisions that you make will now affect both of your lives. It’s not just about what you want anymore so you better brush up on your negotiation skills.

    Prepare to compromise more then you think. Most importantly, make sure you share your values and goals often so you’re on the same page all the time throughout your relationship.

    Still Do You

    On the other hand, you both need to have your own lives as well. A marriage is two individuals who complement one another. You can’t rely on the other person to make you happy.

    Of course you want to make sure you are meeting each others needs, but having your own friends, hobbies and interests is really important in maintaining who you are separate from your relationship.

    You can’t live solely as somebody’s partner. There is a happy medium but it may take some work to find it.

    Know Your Role

    I don’t mean role as in gender specific role, just know what your good at and like to do. Andrew and I have figured out what our parts are in the relationship.

    For instance, I am an terrible with finances. Numbers and money scare me but Andrew is a finance nerd. He can barely boil water so I do all the cooking and I like so it works out. I make all the fun plans with friends and he fixes all the electronics.

    Soon you will run like a well-oiled machine.

    Go on Dates

    Even though you’re married and the wooing is over, going out on dates is super important. Much of your time together is spent doing mundane things like chores, laundry and finances.

    Most nights you will find us sitting on the couch watching Netflix. I will be knitting and Andrew working. Not very exciting. It takes work to make each other feel special and sexy.

    Get all dressed up and go to your first date restaurant for dinner. Travel together and explore new places even if it’s just a weekend trip. Do some fun outdoor activities.

    Even just sitting in a coffee shop talking without electronic distractions can help you reconnect on a romantic level again.

    Communicate Everything

    Talk about everything, seriously. Lack of communication can destroy your relationship, cause insecurities, trust issues and distance. In the beginning of our marriage, the hubby started working on a side project. It was fine at first but soon he was spending most of his free time on it.

    I began to feel neglected but the last thing I wanted to do was be the annoying wife nagging him to spend time with me instead of fulfilling his dreams. I kept it to myself but I soon began feeling a distance between us. I again didn’t say anything thinking it would just fix itself.

    It didn’t and when it all came to a head it was bad. I was hurt because he had no idea how I felt. He was hurt that I didn’t talk with him about it. So super cliché, but communication is key.

    Be Fair

    Even if you lived together before, you will still discover new things about your significant other after you get married. It could even be something that you once thought was a cute quirk but will now infuriate you. It’s normal.

    When you do argue, choose your words wisely and be a fair fighter. Try to avoid name calling, yelling and blaming. This will only escalate things quickly. Believe me, I’m still working on this.

    I think the most important thing I learned was not to bring up the past. You can’t change that but you can change your future. You may be able to resolve something that will make you relationship better.

    Let each other have turns speaking and actually listen to the other person. I find that time outs work for us to. Step away or go for a walk then come back to talk rationally about it after you cool off a bit.

    I think building the foundation for a lasting relationship will happen during the early stages of your marriage. It’s going to take work! Adopt good patterns of communication early on. It will help you and your spouse to maintain a successful relationship. It’s true, a great marriage will take years of practice. You’re not going to figure it out when you get to the end of the aisle.

    Let me know if you have any tips on how to make it through your first year of marriage!