Well… congratulations are in order. We did it! We, my husband and I have been married for a whole year. 365 days, 8760 hours and a whole bunch of minutes. It went by pretty fast, but other times I thought the first year would never end. Tons of things happened during our first year of marriage; some great and others were quite challenging. BUT, we made it!
It’s true! What they say about the first year of marriage is absolutely true. It’s tough! It wasn’t tough for any one particular reason. It was just tough. Yes, we love each other. We were undeniably madly in love with each other on our wedding day but througout our first year of marriage we were just beginning the process of learning to remain in love with each other when we fall out of ‘like’. You think it’s easy. He’s my husband of course I’ll stay in love with him. Love was unquestionably put to the test in the first year of marriage. And I’m sure having a newborn baby added to our testing. As always, I look to what lesson could be learned or taught during unforeseen difficult moments in my life.
Here’s what my first year of marriage taught me:
1. Marriage is for grownups
This is nothing to do with age but everything to do with maturity. Marriage isn’t for the tantrum throwing, I want things my way, and I’ll take my ball and go home kid. Throughout my first year of marriage there were several times I wanted to be that kid. There were a few times I was that kid but I noticed that it was essentially counterproductive. Being a pouty kid was not helping dissolve tension filled moments between my husband and I. It was making it worse. When obstacles arose I had to approach them with my big girl panties on. There was no time to call mommy and daddy. You’re married now. They can’t save you and you shouldn’t want them to. When you walk down that aisle or stand in from of the justice of the peace you relinquish mom and dad. It forces you to make adult decisions. And while we all like to walk around and gloat about how grown we are, once you enter holy matrimony you will be sure to learn if you are sitting at kiddie table or if you have officially graduated to sit with the grownups.
2. It is NOT about you!
My mother in law put us up on the 60/40 rule when we first got engaged. Some folks, most I have encountered, believe that marriage is 50/50. WRONG! What I learned and what I’m still learning ins marriage, a successful marriage has little to do with what you get and more about what you give. There were times I was looking around for all the things I wanted, everything (tangible and intangible) I wanted to get from my husband. I rarely, if ever focused on what I was giving. Late into the first year it dawned on me, it’s NOT about you. It can’t always be about me. How could I expect to get if I am not willing to give? I finally figured it out. If I give I’d probably get more. So I went back to the 60/40 rule, giving 60 without expectation and being ok with receiving the 40. When I completely grasp this concept I’m gonna be the best wife EVER!
3. Listening is way better with your mouth closed
The word listen contains the same letters as the word silent. This is self-explanatory. Close your mouth, Minah.
4. Presence is better than presents
Everyone loves getting gifts? I know I do? But I’d rather have quality time and so does my husband. My presence is most important to him. That means not having our heads down and eyes glued to our phone. During the first year of marriage I learned how imperative it is to invest in your spouse continually. Some may think that once you get married you can rest on the getting to know you sessions and what not. WRONG, again! Just as much as your presence and attention was important wile courting, it is extremely important to continue that throughout your marriage.
5. Counsel doesn’t count unless it’s WISE
Listen, Linda, listen honey! Everyone does not know what they are talking about. Be careful who you are getting advice from. I kept very quiet about the things going on in my marriage. Being protective of my marriage by watching what I say and who I say it to was and still is the best thing I could have done. What I’m learning is not everyone will understand. Not everyone will know what to do and how to do it. Seeking wise counsel was key during this first year of marriage. I couldn’t go to my unmarried friends. I wouldn’t go to someone who I knew would pick sides. Going to someone who would just tell me what I wanted to hear instead of what I needed to hear would not have been effective. “Wise” was the operative word.
These were hard lessons and I’m still learning. We weren’t try to make our first year hard. It just was. Although I cannot truly pinpoint what made our first a rough ride I can say I learned so much. I learned a lot about me, a lot about marriage and most definitely a lot about love.