No Longer a Newlywed: Lessons from my First Year of Marriage
They say that after a year the honeymoon is officially over. I’m not sure who “they” are, and while my Hawaiian Honeymoon was indeed over a year ago now, I kind of feel like my husband and I are just getting started. In some ways, it’s hard to believe it’s been a year since our nuptials; our wedding day still feels so clear in my mind. In other ways, this year has been one of the longest of my life. So much has happened, and not all of it has been good. But, I guess I’m technically “no longer a newlywed,” so here’s what I’ve learned from my first year of marriage:
Life Will Become More Stable
Many of my married friends had told me this one, but I didn’t believe it. How could a simple exchanging of vows and an official piece of paper from the government provide so much security? Well, it does. I think for someone like me who spent the majority of their life since puberty stressed about boys and relationships and whether or not “this was it,” having that piece of paper allowed some free space in my brain. I was no longer consumed with all that worry, that was quite frankly, a waste of time. And no worries (at least on that front) = more stability. It’s just simple math, really.
You Get Better at Prioritizing
This might have to do with the new free space in my brain, but not worrying about relationships allowed me to dwell on other aspects of my life… the more important aspects like career, self-care, etc. Or maybe after getting married, I felt like more of an “adult” and that snapped things into focus. Either way, it became a whole lot easier for me to realize what was important in my life, and what was worth letting go.
Quiet Nights at Home > Going Out
Marriage might just be a really good excuse to become a homebody, and I did notice that last year I allowed myself to fully sink into that role. The truth is, when you have a spouse, you do want to spend more time with them than anybody else. It does become the priority (see above). It becomes one of the most important relationships in your life, and you want to nurture that. Not that you should ignore the other relationships in your life (please don’t do that!), but if given the choice between watching TV with my husband and dog on a Friday night or going to an acquaintance’s birthday party at a hot new club, I’m going to plant my ass on my couch with the hubby.
You’ll Get the Baby Question… A Lot
I think within the first three months of our wedding, the most common thing I heard was, “Congrats! Now when are you guys planning on having kids?” I’m not quite sure what it is about making it official that suddenly gives everyone permission to ask a very personal and intimate question, but it happens. And surprisingly it wasn’t just from my Grandma who has been asking about my maternal status since I was twenty-one. No, the people we got this question from the most were friends of ours who were either pregnant, already had an infant, or were TTC themselves. Word of advice: even if you’re trying, tell people you’re going to take your time. It’s nobody’s business. Unless you want it to be. Which brings me to…
You’ll Have Someone to Go Through the Really Bad Shit With
You know the vow for better or worse? Hopefully you don’t ever have to go through the “or worse” part together, but you probably will. It might even happen ten months into your first year of marriage. It might even be the most heartbreaking thing you’ve ever gone through (see blog post: “What’s Been Going On,” in case you’re murky on the details of which I’m not-so-subtly referencing). But, if you do have to endure some really bad shit, you’ll remember that vow, and you’ll be so glad you have someone to lean on. If you’re lucky, it’ll make your relationship stronger in a way you never thought it could be. Because once someone has seen you literally collapse on the floor in tears, well… there’s only one place to go: and that place is up.
Things Won’t Be So Black and White
There are days that you will be head-over-heels in love with your spouse. And there are days that you will want to suffocate them with a pillow while they snore (for the record: my darling husband, I will NEVER suffocate you with a pillow), but here’s the thing nobody tells you: there will be days where you feel BOTH. What? How is that even possible? Ladies and gentleman, it’s true. The biggest change that marriage brings (at least for me) is that sense of duality in a relationship. It makes sense: this is a person you spend more time with and know better than anybody else; of course you’re going to not feel the same way about them all of the time. But, the whole concept of having multiple feelings for someone at the same time was a relatively unknown to me pre-marriage days.
Marriage is Tough Work and Constantly Evolving
Just like anything in this life, marriage is hard work, and what works one day (or week or month or year) may not work the next time. But, as long as you two communicate and try to grow together, you’ll be fine. Or at least fine enough to make it through your first year of marriage, and hopefully many, many more.