What I Learned From My First Year of Marriage
Emma here ready to spill my heart out!
Here is my reality: I love weddings so, so, so much. I love going to them, I love being in them, I love helping organize and execute them. I love weddings because they are a culmination of love and happiness and a team effort and because they are beautiful and fun and awesome. I love weddings the most though because they lead to marriages. Marriages are awesome and wonderful too in many different ways than weddings are and both should be celebrated and talked about.
I married my best friend Tony on August 3, 2013. It was a wonderful and beautiful day, one of my favorites in the history of ever (I literally cried for 15 minutes when it was over because I was so overfilled with joy and love I couldn't contain it). Tony is in many ways, exactly my opposite and, in every way, exactly what I need. Tony is the person I can lean on at times where I have NO IDEA what I am doing. Tony knows what to do every time. Tony helps me and takes care of me and supports me with my dreams, and ideas.
When I googled 'the first year of marriage" ... 'is the hardest' auto generated. I am still not sure if this true, although I do think in part that it is. I wanted to put together a list of things we learned our first year of marriage including some things that were really hard. Though it isn't all encompassing, it gives a great idea of what you may experience too:
Making time for each other needs to be a priority. I am a VERY busy person. My business is also completely my own doing. I really like to be busy. I like to have things to do, places to go and people to see. I volunteer with a church youth group, I like to take workout classes, and my most my favorite thing, I love hanging out with my friends. Before marriage, I was used to living my life on my terms. I would include Tony in my plans but I never hesitated to do a lot of other things. When Tony and I got married and moved in together, I was stuck in that mindset. I never even considered how this could effect Tony until he brought it up to me. I wanted to be defensive. 'You see me all the time! I sleep in the same bed as you" in fact, I probably said those things. Thinking about it though... I knew he was right. I had not made him a priority. It was surprising if I was home two nights a week. For me, it was my biggest struggle (and something I still am working on). I am so glad Tony was honest with me and told me how it made him feel.
Stick Together (especially during times of crisis). Let me take you back to the Ice Storm of 2013... right before Christmas. It was our first Christmas as a married couple and I certainly wanted everything to be perfect, I wanted to create Christmas traditions and cherish our time together. WELL that was a joke. First of all, in traditional Emma fashion, I waited until the last minute to finish gift shopping... and it's funny... when your power lines are so heavy with ice and so are the trees surrounding them, the power goes out at your house and all the stores you planned to go to. Basically, it was a hot mess. We stayed with friends and family until our power came back but that didn't stop my stress and many tears. Through it all, I was so happy that we were at least together, that Tony could talk me down and tell me that it was going to be ok. (Disclaimer: there will be many times of crisis. Case in point: that ice storm highlighted a serious basement draining/sump pump issue that we had to deal with then, months later, after Tony had serious knee surgery, the basement flooded with sewage from the basement toilet. #alltheplumbingproblems)
Compromise is Key. In my mind, conforming to my family traditions was number one. Holidays were just going to be normal right? Spent the way I always spend them? Wrong (and rightly so). Make sure that you and your partner talk about what you plan to do. If Thanksgiving with your family is your absolute jam, maybe Christmas can be with their family. The key is give and take. Tony did a lot more compromising than I did and we still made modifications years later.
Create Your Own Traditions. It is really important to make your own traditions together. Think about growing up, many of our memories could be considered traditions that our families made. You may not have children yet, so it might seem weird to make family traditions but I think not! Tony and I have some small ones like getting Thai Food from our favorite place to celebrate Valentine's Day, or visiting the Capitol Christmas Tree Thanksgiving Weekend. Traditions may be small or seem silly to others, but if they are special to you, that is what matters. I am all for making memories, especially ones that I can appreciate making and look forward to making in the future.
Alone Time is Important. I didn't realize how badly I needed alone time until I was married. For me, it is really important to recharge and refocus. It doesn't need to be long, it just needs to happen. I need a hot second to scream sing Mumford and Sons or sit and read or watch a favorite show without interruption. One of the weirdest things about being married for me was feeling like being at home meant we HAD to be spending time together constantly. Like I said before, it is VERY important to carve out time together however, it is ok to separate too. Simply going in another room to read or relax can help immensely. When I started my new job, I actually ended up getting home at least an hour before Tony and it is so great. I can go to the gym or bust out some Netflix watching and then spend time with Tony once he arrives.
What were some things that you learned your first year of marriage? Let us know in the comments below!