My husband and I are celebrating our 14-year anniversary. That is insane!! Today, I want to share with you the lessons learned in the first year of marriage.
This year was the first year that I looked at our wedding day photo and saw 2 babies!! Seriously, we look so young (24 & 26)
Even though my wedding day was so long ago, I still remember it like it was yesterday. There are large portions of the day that are a blur, but I clearly remember the look on his face when he saw me walk down the aisle. I thought I loved him. I guess I did, but my love has grown so much since that day.
To celebrate our 10 years together, I wanted to take time and remember everything that I have learned about myself and marriage. I have learned so much so, I want to break it all up into smaller blog posts.
Read the next post: 4 things I wish I knew before I got married
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6 things I Learned in the first year of Marriage
I was warned over and over that the first year was the hardest. So, I was expecting a bad year. Thankfully. We had a really easy first year. Even though it was an easy year, I still learned so much from our first year of marriage. I hope what I learned can help you too.
1. Don’t be attached to the symbolism
When we got back from our honeymoon, we bought a starter garden. I was so excited! I had this vision of growing our own fresh herbs and using them in the kitchen. So, I put the plants on our balcony and took care of them.
Within a few days, they were dead!
I had this moment and thought: oh no!! Our first project as a couple has failed!! We have killed our plants!!!
I was worried that this might be a sign of our lives as a couple. That somehow we would fail because we could not keep plants alive. I had heard that if you want kids you should try to keep a plant alive. So all these voices were saying: you can’t even keep plants alive, but you want kids!!
I had to take a moment and calm down.
I needed to realize that these plants were not a picture of our marriage. My ability to take care of plants had nothing to do with my ability to be a good wife or a good mother.
I had to let go of those expectations I had of myself and let a plant be a plant.
10 years later, I have yet to keep a single plant alive but I have 3 healthy kids and healthy marriage.
2. Let it go
My husband does not do the dishes the same way I do. He fills the sink first and washes the dishes in a specific order. I like to leave the sinks empty and run the water and wash one dish at a time.
Watching him do dishes drove me nuts. I thought that his way took longer and made no sense to me.
It was tempting to “Correct” him. Instead, I let it go. I decided that I preferred him helping me in his way than fighting over the way things should be done.
That first year, I had to let go of a lot of things: mostly control over how things were done around the house. I decided that I did not want to create conflict over these simple and small things. I instead focused my energy on making our home a good place for both of us to live in.
Other Blogs you might like:
- How to Make Time for Your Marriage
- 8 strategies on not letting housework ruin your marriage
- 4 Things I wish I knew before I got married
3. Think before you speak
In the first few months of marriage, we bought a dining room table. Some of our wedding guests had given us the money to purchase a table. We went to the store and brought it home.
We had planned to put the table together the next night.
The next day, my husband calls me and tells me that he has been invited to participate in a baseball game. I said it was ok and I figured that after the game he would come home and set the table up. I also assumed that if he was going to go out after, he would call again and ask if I wanted to come as well.
That call never came. He played the game and went out without communication.
What came next
Needless to say, I was livid. I was ready to yell and scream and accuse him of not thinking about me and my needs. I was also mad because I had started building the table and he was not around to help. He had made me feel abandoned.
Over the next few hours, I was able to calm down and gain perspective on the whole night. By the time my husband got home, I did not yell or scream. I was able to discuss with him how his actions had made me feel.
Had he been home when I was mad, I probably would have caused some serious damage to our marriage. My words and anger would have hurt his feelings and might have changed the way we worked together in the future or affected many other aspects of our relationship.
This event was a big lesson for me.
From then on, when I got angry, I thought about how my words and actions may affect our marriage in the long run. Since I am in it for the long hull, I decided that I should be careful to not ruin my marriage over these small issues.
4. Set a routine
When we got married we had lots of invitations out for dinner and visits and nights out of the house. My husband is an outgoing guy and he loved being out of the house every night. For me, that was too much.
After a few months of being out of the house every night, I told my husband that I could not keep up. I told him that being out of the house every night was too much for me. I needed nights at home with nothing to do and we could just be the two of us.
Since he liked being out, we needed to find a routine that worked for both of us. After some discussion, we decided to stay home 3 nights a week.
In the first year of marriage, it’s important to find a routine that suits both of you. We both had to compromise. He wanted to be out and I wanted to be in. We settled into a routine that we could both live with.
Since that first year, we have continued to set routines for our family that work for both of us. Having a routine that meets all our needs is sometimes hard to get, but it’s so worth it.
5. Learn to communicate
The first year of marriage is the foundation year. It’s the perfect time to build healthy communication patterns. If you can learn to communicate in a healthy way, then the rest of your marriage will be so much better off.
I found that the first year we “defined terms”.
I would say something that hurt his feeling and I would say sorry and he would say: that’s ok. To me: that’s ok means that what I said and did was ok. I wanted to hear, you’re forgiven. For him, when he said: that’s ok, he meant– I forgive you.
So we were using different languages to mean the same things. It’s important to figure out what the language differences are and make it clear what you’re trying to say. Doing so will save a lot of heartache and misunderstandings.
6. Enjoy The Year
There is no other time in a marriage like that first year.
When we got married, we were young with no commitments. We didn’t own a home yet or have children. I wish we would have enjoyed these freedoms more. Once you start having kids or financial responsibilities you have less freedom and have to be more mindful.
So, that first year, just have fun. Do things that you might not be able to do again ( or at least for a long time). Travel, go to the movies, go out to dinner. These things become a bit more complicated when you add a few kids or mortgage payments to your life.
I was very fortunate and had a very good first year. It was easy to live together and get along. I know some people are not so fortunate and they have a hard first year. But, the first year becomes the second and before you know it 10 years have passed by.
On the comments below, share the lessons you learned in the first year of marriage. Please share this blog post with others. Thank you.
Read part 2 in my series: 4 Things I wish I knew before I Got Married