Eight Things I’ve Learned in my First Year of Marriage

My husband and I have been together for nine years and we’ve lived together for nearly seven. Now we’ve been married for one.

For a year and a half we planned our wedding. Everything came together (with a lot of hard work!) flawlessly, and we were fortunate to have a beautiful celebration with our family and friends and the most amazing start to our marriage that we could have asked for.

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After the chaos and excitement of our wedding and honeymoon, after the flurry of thank you notes, and reliving the day through photographs, it’s just the two of us.

It’s not often I stray from my usual topics of reading and writing on this blog, but as my one-year wedding anniversary approaches, I thought I’d share a little bit about what I’ve discovered in this first year together.

Here are a few things I’ve discovered along the way:

1.  Go at your own pace
In all likelihood, suddenly everyone you know is either getting engaged, getting married, buying a house, or having a baby. With so many life changes, it can feel like the pressure is on to keep up. First comes love, then comes marriage… If you’re like me and every other newlywed I know, you will be asked The Baby Question almost from the moment you say “I do.” Once you’re married, your family and coworkers all want to know when you will be moving on to the next step. Every relationship and every circumstance is different. You can only do what’s right for you.

2.  It’s okay to do things apart
Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you aren’t an individual anymore. I don’t mind getting lost in a good book while my husband blows off steam playing a video game. He goes to Guys Night on Wednesdays, and I spend that time either with girlfriends or watching a guilty pleasure chick flick. While we have plenty of mutual friends and activities that we share, we also have our own hobbies that we enjoy on our own. There’s nothing wrong with doing your own thing at least some of the time. It’s important to have your own space.

3.  Make decisions together
I always appreciate when my husband asks me my opinion, even when the decision is about something small. Individual personalities aside, you’re a team now. Decisions should be made together.

4.  Never stop dating each other
Just because we’re married doesn’t mean we need to stop dating – each other, that is. Instead of going to the same restaurants again and again, we go to new places and try new things. Instead of ordering the same old thing, we each order a dish we haven’t tried and share. We still flirt with each other. Make time for each other no matter how busy your lives get. Even running errands together can be quality time. Compliment each other. Say “I love you” and say it often. Be silly together. Make each other laugh.

5.  It doesn’t always take a grand gesture to show your spouse how much you appreciate them
When I vacuum and clean the house, my husband tells me he appreciates it. When my husband cooks dinner, I thank him, because I’m grateful for a delicious meal that I didn’t have to prepare. It may seem obvious but, Please and thank you go a long way. When my husband goes to the store, he almost always asks, “Do you need anything?” It doesn’t take much to be considerate and these little gestures add up.

6.  Be your partner’s biggest cheerleader
You’re in it together. Let your spouse know you support him or her no matter what the outcome. Celebrate your successes, big and small. Don’t call each other names or put each other down, build each other up.

7.  Sometimes the best reason to celebrate is no reason at all
It’s great to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays and big holidays, but remember to celebrate the small stuff. Don’t wait around for Valentine’s day to show your husband how much you love him. Again, it doesn’t take a grand gesture. Those little everyday moments matter most. But seriously, don’t forget her birthday.

8.  Tell him why you’re mad. No, seriously.
I have been guilty – many times – of being mad at my husband while he has no clue. I’ve learned that I can either silently brood, be upset, and feel resentful over something he did (or didn’t) do, or I can just tell him what’s bothering me and almost instantly feel better. There’s no room for the silent treatment! Don’t pick fights, but tell him when you’re upset.  Above all, communication is key.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, and I don’t want to. It won’t always be easy. But we have a whole lifetime to figure it out.

It looks like it’s time for me to officially retire my “newlywed” status.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go put on my sweatpants.

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