Man. I truly can’t believe over a year has gone by since John and I have been married. It blows my mind at how fast time flies and although we have been together for over 10 years, it still surprises me that we have been married for over a year.
John and I’s first year of marriage has been an interesting one, in that we made some big life choices all at once. The year we got married we began living together for the first time, we both started new jobs, and we moved across the country to a city where we knew no one. We made a lot of big life decisions and although it wasn’t the easiest at times, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Through all of the adjustments, ups and downs, figuring outs, laughs, and tears, I learned a lot about myself, my husband (despite having been together for 10 years), and our relationship. As a result, I thought I would share some of my favorite lessons with you…
- Lesson 1: There is a lot of adapting in the first year. Whether you lived together or not, the dynamics change due to your knew commitment to each other and it is important to understand that you are both going to be adapting. Both of you are going to be figuring out your roles in the marriage and sometimes you have to speak up with each other so the other person knows if they need to take on a role or have a little more responsibility that week. It is a learning process, and because of that you both have to give each other grace while you figure it out.
- Lesson 2: New responsibility has been established. Due to your new found commitment to each other, the responsibility to each other has now shifted. He is your responsibility and she is yours. Before you were married, your primary concern was sort of you (you paying your bills, you deciding not to do the laundry, you leaving the house when you want), now you must worry about the other and realizing that there is another person involved is not always easy.
- Lesson 3: Respect is key. You are going to disagree on things, you are going to do things where you weren’t necessarily being the best wife or husband, so showing that respect towards the other person and owning your mistakes or when you have hurt each other is really important. Both John and I have made mistakes that have affected the other person (i.e. hitting another car in the parking garage with HIS car…oops), but we both know that the other person is just trying their best and there is never ill will between us. We both want the best for the other person and we both love each other like there is no tomorrow, so it is easy to forgive, forget, and move on to the next because I can promise you, there will be bigger fish to fry.
- Lesson 4: Begin saving money right away. Your life is no longer your life. Your money is no longer your money. Now you function as a unit and dependent upon what you both desire for your future, figuring out a budget and saving money towards your future is really important. Money is a huge point of contention in a marriage, so getting that out of the way and discussing how finances will work and how much you each can spend and where the money is going, will help alleviate a lot of that stress. I also think having open and honest conversations on large purchases is super important. There is always going to be sacrifice from one end or the other, so making those decisions together and for what is best for you both is key. I’ll be honest that this has been a harder lesson for me to learn. My money has always been my money for me to spend on what I want to spend, so having to discuss with John about buying for the house can be hard, but he ALWAYS makes sure I am not just buying to buy which I am totally guilty of. He really helps to balance me out and I love that.
- Lesson 5: Discuss things now. John and I were lucky in that prior to getting married we had to go away on a weekend trip in the woods where your primary focus was talking about the difficult things. We had to stay in separate cabins (girls versus guys) which allowed us to mull over some of the tough conversations we may have had during the day. We both became very clear on where the other person was coming from, what they expected in future situations and how we can both find a mutual agreement that works for us. Have those difficult conversations now. Talk about kids, money, religion, family dynamics, futures, etc. Discuss those things now, so that when you come to those issues, you both already have an equal understanding. Out of all of these lessons, I think this was one of my favorites. Even if you have been married 5 years, have these conversations. There are a lot of great resources for you and at ours, it was very obvious the couples that were thriving and the couples that had a few more struggles. In fact, two couples at ours ended their engagements which is so sad, but it also saved them from a lot of other heart ache later.
There are SO many more lessons I have learned and I wish I could share them all, but these are definitely my top five (with a few I am sure I am forgetting). Marriage is full of discovery, love, passion, laughs, discussions, and so much more. Each day I am thankful I have such an amazing guy to walk through life with. His love never wavers, and that is something I have prayed for since I was a little girl.
Thank you John for being my partner, my best friend, my cheerleader, and my biggest rock. I know we have many more lessons to learn, but so far…I’d say we are doing pretty good.