5 Lessons I've Learned During My First Year of Marriage
Everyone loves a good wedding! But what happens when the glitter is cleaned up, the champagne glasses are put away, and you spend an exorbitant amount of money preserving the best and most expensive dress you'll only wear once?
I'm pulling back the curtain to share 5 of the top lessons I learned during my first year of marriage:
1. Really Get to Know Your Love Languages
Before Tyler and I got married, we did our own couples counseling (we're both obsessed with psychology and thought this would be extremely beneficial for our life together). Each week we'd go over a different topic that we'd encounter in our lives and openly discuss it. We went over topics like kids, retirement, religion, the kind of house we'd want, finances, vacations, how to deal with arguments, etc.
It was really nice to talk so openly and get to know Tyler's viewpoint on these topics before saying "I do". Most of them I knew, like how many kids he wanted and the kind of home he'd like to live in, but some surprised me. Like how I was more keen on owning a vacation home and one day taking our children to church!
One of the discussions that really helped us, and we've tried to carry through our marriage, is understanding one another's love languages (discover your love languages here and make sure you read the book too!)
Our love languages are opposites (many couples are) and it made so much sense to why our attempts at love and connection couldn't always be felt by the other.
His primary love language is quality time and acts of service. He feels loved when I do nice things for him (his favorite is when I cook! He doesn't want to have to think about food and truly appreciates when I show my love this way. He makes a great guinea pig when testing recipes for you!).
Tyler would show me he loved me with HIS top love languages and vice versa. Which in terms of romantic love, does not land for the other person...
He'd take my car to get an oil change. It's nice - of course! But I don't feel the romantic love he was hoping for. All I'd give him was my words of appreciation. Or when we'd hang out on the weekends, his love tank was getting filled up, mine not so much.
My love languages are physical touch and words of affirmation. I want to HEAR him tell me how much he loves me and why (which is not so natural for him). I like little notes, sweet text messages, even email. I also feel romantic love when he rubs my back. It soothes me and I fall deeper in love with him every time.
As you can see our love languages are different, and that's ok. I have to work on making sure we have enough quality time and I do nice things like cook for him or plan fun things to do. While he needs to remember to hold my hand and send me a sweet love note.
2. Appreciate the Little Things
When we got married, we were so excited to start a family. Looking back, I can see how this desire (at least on my end) overshadowed many of our experiences as newlyweds.
I had a lot of fear based thoughts come forward. They never turned into resentment or mistrust in my love for Tyler, but I do think I could have done a better job appreciating our first year of marriage, allowing life to unfold without all the self inflicted pressure.
3. Relax More
I work from home and it can be hard to not have my job bleed into our relationship. Especially since Tyler became my business partner when we got married. This isn't to say he's working on Balanced Bombshells. He doesn't take part in the day to day operations.
He helps me strategize projects and talk through different marketing ideas. I mean, the guy's got his MBA and works in marketing strategy, why wouldn't I use his brain?!
Although this partnership is helpful for my career and the financial stability of our family, it can be hard to separate couple time with business time. Especially when I work on the weekends (I love my job so much!).
I've had to become very mindful and cautious to keep our business talk to a minimum and make sure we have other conversations. Just like parents need topics outside of their children! You and your partner need to remember why you fell in love and chose to do life together.
4. Enjoy Your Time Apart
This one has always been easy for us, since we're truly content on our own. Part of the reason why our relationship works is because we don't NEED the other person. We want to be together.
Our marriage did get a little tested as he accepted a contract job for a few months where he was traveling to Los Angeles a few days a week. He'd stay at a hotel 1-2 nights each week, then travel back to San Diego and work from home.
This was the first time these two things happened:
1. we spent regular nights apart
2. we worked from home together
Many people asked how I was holding up with my new husband being away and I honestly loved it! I think every couple should do this every once and awhile. It truly made us miss and appreciate the other so when we were reunited our time felt more special.
We even joked (only I was not kidding) of once a week sleeping in separate bedrooms when we have a second bedroom. Sometimes I go to bed later than him and it's just nice to have your own space for a bit, especially when you're in your luteal or menstrual phases 😊
5. It's OK to Fall Apart
I often heard your first year of marriage is the hardest. But I always thought that was because you were getting use to living together. Since Tyler and I lived together for over three years prior to getting married, I didn't think anything of it.
We had a rough first year, y'all!
From Tyler's job declaring bankruptcy the week after we got back from our honeymoon (2 weeks into marriage!) and he was given 90 days to find a new job, to us experiencing a miscarriage after nine weeks of pregnancy. It was truly an emotional roller coaster.
For six months we didn't know if we were going to be moving out of San Diego or staying. Then the ups and downs of feeling nauseous 24/7 to only deal with the grief and sadness of not having a baby when you thought you were. It felt like we were each carrying the weight of the world at times.
Through it all, I learned how truly blessed I am to have found a person who still loves me when I'm not 100% put together. He sat and rubbed my back, letting me cry my tears when the sadness felt too much to carry on my own (who knew the big drop in hormones would send me into a mini postpartum??). Or he'd send me funny messages to make me smile.
I cooked him healthy meals and made sure he got outside for a long walk each day as he searched for jobs. And made sure to plan fun things on the weekend to instill positivity.
Our first year of marriage is an example of what life is really like when the party is over. It's full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and at the end of the day you have one another to lean on.
You get to laugh and cry together. You get to experience the good and tough moments. You get to wake up to one another each morning and be the last person you see before going to bed.
Although we felt challenged this year, it only brought us closer together and confirmed we made the right choice 365 days ago.
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