Our first year of marriage was fun. And hard. And tough. And crazy. And great! It was exciting and new! But we still had so much to learn about each other, and about making it “work”. Even today, we are still learning new things every single day!
1.) Communication is everything
My first year of marriage…. my FIRST MONTH, I realized that communication literally is everything. I always kept things to myself in the beginning. I wouldn’t tell Eric (my husband) things at times no matter how small or big, and later he would find out about it somewhere or through someone else. And he HATED that. We also had moments where a simple miscommunication would lead us to both making a mistake, like picking up a jug of milk on the same day. Communication matters. I now tell Eric everything, and anything. It doesn’t matter how big or small it might be.
2.) Forgiveness is important
Your spouse is going to annoy you, really bad. And not just in the first year either. There are going to be times where they will do something small that really presses your buttons and you will start to keep a score board with out even realizing it! Don’t do that! Forgive your partner for these little things that they do. Forgive them for annoying you. Forgive them for forgetting to take out the trash. And forgive them for the big things too. Being in a marriage is about working it out. It’s about getting through tough times together. Forgive your partner if they hurt you. You are going to be together forever, and sometimes we might say hurtful things or do hurtful things, and forgiveness is everything in these moments. Don’t forget to also forgive yourself. And then forget because holding on to something won’t make it better.
3.) This is not a one man relationship
It takes TWO people to run a relationship. I learned that I can’t carry the weight of
my OUR relationship by myself, and that neither can Eric. We have to both carry that weight. We are BOTH in the relationship and sometimes, our own selfish desires might blind us in realizing that every decision you make should include your significant other.
4.) Little things count
EVERYTHING, every little, tiny, minuscule thing that you do counts. Whether you brought your husband home a chocolate bar after he had a long day, or if it was his turn to wash the dishes and you washed them instead. Everything counts. Every kiss, every hug, every greeting at the door, every good morning counts. These little things are what can make or break a marriage. I found that my husband is more loving and caring when I wake up with him in the morning and make him a nice cup of coffee. Just a little detail that makes all the difference.
5.) Dating is important
Don’t forget to go out on dates. During the first year, we ended up forgetting that we needed to do this, and suddenly I started deciding that I would initiate dates. The fire in our marriage came more alive because it was something that we needed. And now we simply do it as much as we can! Here are a few fun things you can do with your spouse.
6.) The Honeymoon phase doesn’t last forever
It really doesn’t. You will argue, you will fight, you will annoy each other and you will go through the toughest of times. But you will do it together. This is what commitment boils down to. Doing it together. There will be days that are like the honeymoon phase, but there will be days that aren’t. It’s an agreement, and a partnership of two people that love each other. And the honeymoon phase just doesn’t last forever. But it can come back in flashes. Don’t think that you have fallen out of love. Just remember that you DO love this person and that is why you made this commitment. That’s why the little things count!
7.) Standing up for one another is important too
Never allow someone to speak badly about your spouse to you! EVER. Defend your person, and stand up for them. This is your lover, this is you. Think about how you would feel if someone spoke badly of you to your spouse. You would hope they defend you!
8.) Never publicly humiliate each other
Don’t pick on each other in front of friends, or anyone. Your spouse might have insecurities and you picking and joking about them in front of people might be tearing them apart. You never know what could be happening in their head. Be nice, and be on their side all the time. Words can really hurt even if they are funny.
9.) Porn IS POISON
We both learned very late in the first year that porn can destroy a marriage. But articles, and society might say otherwise. They might say that porn can improve intimacy. THAT IS A LIE. Porn is very destructive and can cause trust issues, insecurities and more. Statistics show that in 59% of divorces, one party had an addiction to porn! If you or your spouse watches porn, try to make a change, try to avoid this, because it will eat away and cause destruction.
10.) You will have to make sacrifices
Marriage is about sacrifices. I learned this early on. My job is 3 hours away from my husband. One of us had to make a sacrifice and transit everyday. Because I know that he works extremely long shifts, I chose to make the sacrifice and transit every day. Sometimes in marriage, people aren’t willing to make sacrifices, but that really is what love can be about sometimes. The will to give up something for the happiness of the person you love!
11.) You won’t always agree on everything
Eric and I disagreed on A LOT our first year. And we still do! But that’s okay, we can agree to disagree, or we can disagree nicely until one changes their mind. We have learned to come to a happy medium, and we tend to agree on things a little more. It’s perfectly fine to be different from each other, and to want different things.
12.) What you think to be obvious… ISN’T
In the first year, I used to think that my husband was some type of mind reader. After that being the cause of a few fights, I slowly came to realize that neither one of us is and that sometimes you have to spell things out for your husband/wife. If you want your husband to buy you flowers more often, then tell him! They don’t know we want that til we say it. If you don’t like the smell of his new shampoo, then TELL HIM! It’s not always obvious that we want something or need something. SAY SO.
13.) Marriage IS NOT 50/50
Marriage is never 50/50. Shouldn’t be anyway. And this was my first thought when I was coming into it. It’s actually 100/100. We both have to give 100% every single day. I can’t just give half. It doesn’t work like that. We have to give our spouses our ALL and show them that we care.
14.) Always show appreciation and say thank you
I used to get SO mad when I would clean the whole house, AND cook dinner after a long day of work, and my husband would come home later in the evening and I couldn’t even get a thank you! Like… what? I felt like he wasn’t showing me appreciation. Little did I know that he felt the same exact way when I would come home late and he would do everything! I was being just as selfish as he was by not saying thank you! TELL your spouse you appreciate everything they do, try to notice what they do and tell them thank you for it. It will make them smile even if it’s just in the inside, and they will be glad that you noticed. Here are a few small things you can also do to show your spouse you appreciate them.
15.) Dress up when you can
Eric see’s me in my crazies all the time. Yes even in our first year. No makeup, messy hair, sweats. But early on, I learned that every now and then, I should dress up, put my makeup on, get nice and go out or do whatever with him. It’s nice for your spouse to see you looking nice and they’ll appreciate that you care enough to put in effort for them to see you like this!
16.) Grow individually as well as together
Do things together, but also do things alone. Don’t lose who you are and remember to grow as an individual being. Have your husband teach you how to change your tire and your oil. Learn how to be independent, but also learn how to grow together and learn new things together. This is extremely important in a marriage.