Six months in, amidst the busy chaos of our lives I find myself thinking back to this summer when we were road tripping through a foreign country with nothing but sight-seeing on the agenda. I long to have completely full days of her and I. But, like all good things, the honeymoon had to come to an end.
I have always read the first year of marriage is the hardest. Together, you work on finding a rhythm and finding your place in their world. The first year is a balancing act and I have learned a few things so far that I thought I would share…
Communication is essential
There have been numerous times after the fact when I thought she was thinking one thing and she thought I was thinking another, only to find out we were both completely wrong. I learned it takes work to have an open line of communication and isn’t always easy.
Expectations are different
Marriage therapist Jill Whitney says, “getting married is like going on a picnic where you each bring a basket that was packed by someone else; if one person has eggs, you can only hope the other one has salt.” We each have had our own experiences and have our own traditions and unique ways of doing things. She may put the toilet paper roll on the wrong way or fold towels in a bizarre way, but those are things I love and that we blend to create our life together.
The honeymoon phase doesn’t last forever
Knowing it’s unrealistic for the two of us to live in our own little bubble day in and day out has been a tough lesson for me so far. I loved the first days of not keeping our hands to ourselves and spending an entire day cuddled up in bed. But, life does have to be lived and responsibilities cannot be ignored. But, I will continue to create snippets of those days as often as I can.
Connecting every day is essential
Taking time every day to make some sort of physical and emotional connection to your partner is important. Even when the honeymoon is inevitably over, I try to make an effort every single day to kiss, hold hands, hug, or just touch her to maintain that connection that got us to where we are now.
Everyone loves differently
I’m sure everyone has at some point seen the Love Languages book, I wholeheartedly believe that each person has their own language that communicates love to them. Identifying your spouses language and never forgetting to communicate to them in that way is a part of the work required in a happy marriage.
Everything takes time
Even if you have lived together before, it takes time to learn someone and all of their quirks. With marriage comes comfort and permanence. Even if you have lived together, there will be new behaviors that appear you didn’t notice before. Enjoy them and roll with them.
Marriage is commitment
No matter what we have been through and will go through, I know I have someone I can turn to. I know the crappiest day will always end with telling her all about it and feeling her arms around me to make it better. I am hers and she is mine. It’s the best lesson learned so far.
Families are now blended
Once we got married, we both inherited a bunch more family. She inherited my sons as her step-sons, my parents as in-laws, and a whole bunch of conservative Southern folk with whom I’m not sure she knows what to do. I inherited a stubborn-ass father-in-law whom I adore, a sweet mother-in-law who can cook like nobody’s business, and a ton more family who treats me like I have been in Jackie’s life for decades. I’m extremely lucky in the family blending department. Her, well, I wish her the best…
As time rolls on and our lives unfold, I have no doubt I will learn many many more lessons, and maybe some I will be willing to share. No matter how many years go by, I have no doubt I will be completely in awe of this amazing human who chose to live life with me. I know we will have ups and downs and maybe even some rocky times, but loving her has been one of the best things I have ever done. To be married to her is an privilege, and I absolutely know that.