Monday marked one year that Jeff and I have been married, and it has been the most rewarding, beautiful year of my life. I can’t believe how fast time is flying by, and how quickly everything is changing.
A little over a year ago I was pregnant and freaking out about whether or not the expensive wedding dress my parents bought me would still fit. I was worried about walking down the aisle without tripping or looking like a dork. I was emotional about a breakup with my two best friends from childhood. I was anxious and terrified about moving to an unfamiliar city to live with Jeff’s parents who I’d only met a couple of times. I was overwhelmed with the reality that I would no longer be working, and Jeff had no job leads in Mckinney. We stayed strong through all the uncertainty and let our love guide us through each step of the way. Here we are a year later, with a handsome seven month old son, a credit score that is 150 points higher, surrounded by loving support from our family, and a connection that grows stronger with each passing day. I am so honored and blessed to call Jeff my best friend, my soulmate, the father of my son, and my husband. Here are 5 things I’ve learned in my first year of marriage:
1. Marriage is definitely different than dating.
I’m sure I’m going to receive some hate over this one, but from my personal experience, it’s true. Even if you’ve been living together for years and you’re close as can be, being married adds a whole new dynamic to the relationship. If you’ve always dreamed of tying the knot, once you do, you let a guard down that you didn’t even know you still had up. You already won the jackpot, right? You have to work just a little bit harder to keep things romantic and new since you already won the grand prize. Which brings me to number 2…
2. You have to work a little harder to keep things from becoming too mundane.
I know some of you that have been married for years are reading this post and thinking to yourselves how I don’t even have a clue yet. And you’re probably right! Even still, in the short year that we’ve been married, it is already apparent that we have to put more effort into keeping things fresh and entertaining. To be fair, I think a lot of this has to do with having a new baby in the house. Routine is extremely important for kids and babies, and I’m a little bit crazy and obsessive about sticking to plans. So that can lead to each week blending into the next until I realize we’ve been doing pretty much the same thing every day for a couple of months. When do I realize this? When one of us has a cabin fever meltdown….
We’re still working on this one… Haha!
3. You HAVE to make time for each other.
This is advice that most newlyweds and new parents have heard at least a couple of times. When we got this advice, it wasn’t relevant at the time so I didn’t put much thought into it. It still seems a little crazy to me that I have to think about this at all. Jeff and I are THE best of friends. Every waking moment that he’s not in class, we’re together. Grocery shopping, studying, watching tv, playing video games, reading, playing with the baby… All of it! But somehow it can feel like we haven’t spent any time together at all.
Because it’s not quality time. This is something I catch myself doing fairly regularly, and something I’m constantly working on. Yes, we’re in the same room, but am I present? A lot of the time, the answer is no. I get sucked into writing or planning/organizing instead of paying attention to what’s going on around me. I have to make a conscious effort to be present and spend quality time with him, and it goes a long way. It really does improve both of our overall moods.
4. When you’ve done something wrong, apologize.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet we all know it isn’t. I’ve had to work hard at this one, especially since I met Jeff so young. I’m still young now, but I’d like to think I’ve grown leaps and bounds from the person I was at 20. In previous relationships I was selfish and unable to look outside of myself and my own emotions and be a big enough person to apologize when I had done something wrong. It’s probably why those relationships failed. With Jeff, I’ve been dead set on being the best person I can be. Swallowing your pride and giving a simple apology goes a long way, and it brings you closer together as a couple.
5. Forgive and (do your best to) forget.
Another hard one. It’s not always easy to let go of past arguments, but it’s so vital. If you’ve already talked through the issue with your partner and there’s nothing more they can do to make it up to you, sometimes you just have to suck it up and let it go. No matter how wronged you may feel. I’ve often thought to myself “I’m the one who’s upset, he’s the one who hurt me, so why is it on me to just get over it?” Well, because there’s no other solution. Unless you want to stay mad forever, which is a great way to build resentment.
No one expects married life to be easy, but if you marry your best friend and put some effort in by being better than you ever thought you could be, you can create a beautiful, magical life together. I’ve grown so much since last summer and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings us.