I’m sitting here in complete disbelief that an entire year has passed since I became a Mrs. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was walking down the aisle, starring into the eyes of the man I love.
But here we are, 365 days later.
It’s nearly impossible to know where to start writing about this past year, and it’s even more difficult to do it through teary eyes. But I just can’t help it, I’m a big ol’ sap. I can remember nearly every moment of our wedding in detail. I remember how composed I was all morning, only to lose it right before our first look. In that moment, it hit me that my whole life was beginning right then and there. But I somehow pulled it together, walked outside, tapped Brandon on the shoulder, and got to watch his face light up at the sight of me. Then came our ceremony, and as I stood in the room at the end of the hallway, I heard the music start playing. I watched my bridesmaids file out, one by one. And I knew he was standing at the front of that aisle, looking insanely handsome, waiting to become my husband. I still tear up every time that song comes on, and the memory of that moment comes flooding back to me in the best of ways:
“Heart beats fast, colors and promises. How to be brave? How can I love when I’m afraid to fall? But watching you stand alone, all of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow. One step closer. I have died every day waiting for you. Darling, don’t be afraid I have loved you for a thousand years. I’ll love you for a thousand more.” - Christina Perri
Now here I am, a whole year later, reminiscing about this past year, and all the things I’ve learned. So, I thought I’d share them with you!
10 things I learned in my first year of marriage:
1. After you get married, nothing changes. And everything changes.
You’re still the same two people you were the day before. He is still going to have those annoying little habits that drive you nuts, and you are still going to confuse him with your mood swings and five different types of crying (although, hopefully the happy cry becomes more prevalent these days!). However, now you start to look at those things with a new mindset. You won’t realize it at first, and it may take awhile to sink in. But pretty soon those annoying little habits just become another thing you love about your spouse. It’s a part of them, and you start to realize that when you said “I Do” you were saying it to all of them, not just the pieces that were most appealing. That’s not to say they won’t still drive you bat-shit crazy at times - they will.
2. Communication is everything, and it’s okay to fight.
Talk. Talk. Talk. And then talk some more! Communication is key. And arguing is not the enemy. There is something empowering in knowing that even though you are fighting or disagreeing, at the end of the day you are still a team. So spend some time learning how to argue. It’s been a long road learning how to fight with my husband, and five years into our relationship we are still learning. But the more we communicate honestly, and the more we get to know each other, the easier it is to have the hard conversations, and the less we have those messy tear-filled fights from our yesteryears. We’re learning how to communicate in ways that the other will understand. We’re learning when to walk away from a disagreement, and when it’s worth it to argue it out. I’m learning how to detect my husband’s “hangry” mood, which I love because it’s the easiest to fix. Seriously ladies, keep a snickers or a granola bar in your purse at all times. You never know when it might save the day! ;)
3. And while you’re at it, talk about money.
There is an insanely high divorce rate in this country, and a majority of those divorces list finances as a major factor in their split. So don’t wait a few years to talk about money, just lay it on the table from day one. Talk about how much money you have, how much debt you’re in, and your financial goals for the future. Then make a plan, and stick to it! My husband and I are a little bit nerdy, so we have a shared Google Docs spreadsheet that tracks our monthly bills, our debt, our budget, and our savings goals. We both have access to it, so there is never a question of where our finances stand - it’s just laid out there. The good, the bad, and the ugly. And it. Is. AWESOME.
Don’t get me wrong, it was terrifying at first. I’m the spender in our relationship, and a majority of our debt is from my younger years. Just this past week Brandon noticed my new purse and asked where it came from, to which I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “I dunno!”. But the grin on my face was a dead giveaway. It wasn’t long before he guessed that his new tie wasn’t the only thing I purchased on my quick stop to Kohls last week. In all fairness, it wasn’t my fault that Kohl’s had a 60% off sale on purses, and they just so happened to be in the aisle on the way to the ties! I mean really, who can say no to a sale like that?! hahaha. All joking aside, I tell you this because we’re still learning too. And I hope that we never stop learning, because if we’re learning together, then we’re growing together.
4. If you want to be great together, you have to spend time alone.
When you get married, your spouse becomes your whole world. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your rose colored glasses, and soak in the honeymoon phase for as long as you can. But please, for the sake of all things holy and sane, remember that you are still an individual. There are hobbies and activities that you once enjoyed without your spouse, and it’s okay to still enjoy those things. Alone. Without feeling guilty. You have friends, so remember to make time for them. Being married doesn’t have to mean that you’re tied at the hip. You fell in love with each other’s individually unique personalities - hold onto them. Embrace them. You go do your thing, and let your spouse do theirs. At the end of the day, you’re still a team. And it’s important to incorporate your spouse into your daily life, but I can not stress enough how important it is to still remember who you were before you got married. Because that person is who your spouse fell in love with. Never lose sight of you, simply because you have become a ‘We’.
5. Laugh together. Every. Single. Day.
Laughter really is the best medicine. I don’t care what is wrong in your relationship, or how terrible your day was, if you can learn to make your spouse laugh, and if you can learn to laugh with your spouse, then you will get through anything together. So embrace your inner child. Be goofy together. Let loose. Giggle for hours on end. And just enjoy the ridiculously awesome person you get to spend the rest of your life with.
6. The little things turn into the biggest things.
Every single day you share with each other is comprised of a hundred small moments. So naturally, those small moments build up overtime and become the large things that you remember. Sure, you’ll always remember that one birthday when you’re husband went over-the-top with your gift, and planned the perfect night. But you want to know what will mean even more in the long run? The fact that your husband cooked 90% of the dinners you ate, because he knew you just didn’t enjoy cooking. Or how he would wake up early, just to make you coffee before you left for work. And that time when you were really stressed at work, and your husband would send you an email each day that contained a hilarious cat picture/video, just because he wanted to make sure you smiled and laughed at least once.
Wait… you don’t relate to that last one? Damn. I guess I just gave away the secret that we are crazy cat people! But what can I say, we LOVE our furbabies! And really, who doesn’t enjoy a good cat video?! ;)
7. Whoever said, “Never go to sleep angry!” was full of shit.
I hope you’re not sick of hearing me talk about communication yet. It’s just sooo damn important! I spent the first few years of my relationship with Brandon believing that if I went to sleep angry, our relationship was doomed. So I would proceed to yell, and cry, and attempt to get my point across, all the while making the situation worse. And then one day it hit me, like a stack of bricks: It is OKAY to go to sleep angry. In fact, there are times where it is the best option. When you are in a disagreement, there is absolutely nothing wrong with accepting the fact that your conversation is no longer productive, and taking a step back until you can both cool off and reproach the subject calmly.
8. Everyone has an opinion on when you should have kids.
Seriously. I get it. Babies are cute. Everyone loves babies. You just started your family as husband and wife. And you know what they say: “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage.”.... But you know what I have to say? Mind your own business. When, and if, we decide to have children is nobody’s decision except ours. The textbook timeline of the right time to start your family might not work for us. Maybe we have a different plan. Maybe we don’t want kids. Maybe we can’t have kids. Regardless, it’s our business. And no one else’s. I don’t think I made it through our wedding reception without somebody asking us when we were having kids. I probably laughed and replied with a simple, “Someday!”. But what I really should have said was, “That’s none of your business!”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naive enough to think these questions will stop being thrown our way. And I know that people have no malicious intent when they ask us about our plans to have children. But my point is this: don’t be afraid to put yourself first. It’s okay to not want babies right now. And it’s also okay if you were eight months pregnant on your wedding day. It is your life. And when/if you have babies should be a decision made by your and your spouse. And no one else.
And just for the record (yes, I’m talking to you mom and MIL), we do want kids someday! We just don’t want them today. Our plans for the next few years are simply to enjoy being married, and to travel the world together. But worry not, you’ll get grandbabies - eventually ;)
9. Say ‘I love you’ every single day, and mean it.
Don’t get so caught up in your day to day routine and forget the reason you began this crazy journey together. At least once every single day, slow down, look your spouse in the eyes, and tell them you love them. And mean it.
10. There is a reason that marriage vows state: “Through good times, and through bad”.
Marriage isn’t always easy. Sometimes it is really, really hard. Sometimes you will want to kill your spouse, other times you will say things you’ll wish you could take back. One of my favorite movie quotes is from Just Married, when Mr. Leezak says, “You never see the hard days in a photo album, but those are the ones that get you from one happy snap shot to the next.” Oh, how true that is! When you’re in the midst of an argument, or things just aren’t going your way, it’s so easy to look back at pictures of happier times, and remember how easy and good things used to be. But in those moments, please remember that those pictures aren’t showing the whole story. They don’t show you all the things you had to go through to get from one happy picture to the next. Remember that you didn’t just vow to stand by your spouse’s side through the good times, you promised to stick by their side through the worst of times as well.
Marriage is a learning process. And it’s okay if you don’t have it mastered. But every single day I hope that you wake up with a fire in your heart to work on your marriage. Put in the effort, give it your all, and you will find the greatest reward in existence. That I can promise you.
And there you have it. 10 things I learned from my first year of marriage.
Now leave a comment with the best thing(s) you’ve learned from your marriage! I can’t wait to hear them