Last week I wrote about 10 Things I Miss About Single Life, This week in honor of my 1 year marriage anniversary I’m sharing 4 Things I love about marriage and 4 Things I’ve learned.
4 Things I’ve Loved about my 1st Year of Marriage
- Having a constant in my life- One of the reasons I wanted to get married was to increase the sense of permanency in my life. I loved and still do love change but felt like I wanted a few constants. I was always changing jobs, outgrowing friends, or friends moved away, and I’d lived in way too many apartments. Even my nuclear family was constantly moving or evolving as siblings developed their own lives.
In our first year of marriage, our lives have been packed with change and adventure, from totaling my car the day after the wedding, driving across the country in a Penske truck, moving twice in three months, to traveling half way around the world to Singapore and Maldives. Through all of the adventure and change, the constant has been each other. Knowing you can count on the marriage as a stability in your life makes a difference.
- Subtle reminders that someone’s got your back – When we were in Singapore on our honeymoon, I got a headache at 3am that was so bad I threw up. My husband went out and walked the streets to find Tylenol. When we walk down the street, he alternates between the curb and the inside of the sidewalk gracefully positioning himself between me and traffic or crowds on the street. It’s subtle, but protective.
- Inside jokes and goofiness – Whenever I had roommates, we’d have inside jokes. It came with the nature of living together. Being married is like that but to the utmost degree. There are so many little inside jokes and references you develop with a person and they keep building on top of one another. It’s so much fun just being goofy and playing in the simplest ways. One of our favorite games is our version of Mashup where we sing two completely opposite songs that don’t belong together and mash them up inappropriately changing the context and making up the lyrics we don’t know.
- Learning new things about the other person – Just last week my brother in law sent me 6 pictures of my husband as a little boy. He was just as playful and adorable as he is now. Prior to this I had only ever seen 1 picture of him as a child. In dating him for 2 ½ years I obviously learned a lot about him, but in being married I have learned so much more. You start to collect stories about random things, like his friend in high school nicknamed Fingers, or the time he and his brothers broke a glass table while roughhousing, or the fact that he likes cheese and jelly sandwiches (ick!). The stories are endless and will probably take us a lifetime to discover.
4 Lessons from my 1st Year of Marriage
- This relationship is the most important – From the moment we got engaged and had to involve our families we quickly realized that we had to put our relationship first above all others. Some family didn’t like how we did our wedding. From this experience we learned that not every decision we make will please everyone. This struggle will continue, but as long we stick together and put each other first, we will be okay.
- In everything there is a lead, follow, lead, follow flow – Marriage is like a 3 -legged race. If you try to lead too aggressively you fall. If you follow and never lead you fall. In every decision, every move you have to communicate, listen, collaborate and gracefully transition between the lead and follow role. My husband makes a lot more money than I do, and so at first I wasn’t sure how I would contribute financially. Immediately after our wedding, we moved across the country. For a moment, it felt like we were hemorrhaging money. In my new job, I was still only part-time and checks were small. After about a month of expense after expense we found ourselves in a tight spot. Luckily, I had saved all of my four weekly paychecks and they were exactly what we needed to get financially on top of things. From this experience, I learned that my financial contribution should be to focus on savings and debt. Now my husband leads in financing our operating budget, and I lead in financing our debt and savings plans.
- Roles don’t need to be defined by gender – For some reason when we got married, I felt some pressing obligation to do everything domestic. In part this was probably because I had just switched jobs and hadn’t been hired on full-time yet. For the first three months we lived in a tiny studio and so it was impossible to keep the space clean and organized. I was driving myself crazy. Finally, I spoke up and my husband said that he had no problem doing his share of the chores. He simply hadn’t been doing chores because I wasn’t giving him a chance to. Now we both work full-time jobs. I do most of the cooking because frankly I think I’m better at healthier cooking. He does all the dishes because he is particular about how they are placed in the cabinets. He does most of the laundry and I clean the bathrooms because I’m meticulous about that.
- Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is provide emotional support – Moving to the east coast from the Midwest has been a big adjustment for both of us. We did not have any friends or family here prior to moving. Back in Chicago when I had a bad day at work, I might meet up with a friend impromptu for dinner after work, or stop by someone’s house on the way home. Here all we have is each other. What we’ve learned is that we can’t always fix each others’ problems or worries, but caring and being emotionally supportive goes the longest way. To know that no matter what you have the support of the other person means everything.
To my married readers, what do you love about being married? How long have you been married and what lessons have you learned? To my single readers what, if anything do you look forward to in marriage?