Unbelievably, our first anniversary is just a month away.
So so so much has happened since we got married. Hubby got a great new promotion, I started working on my writing and administrative consulting business hardcore, and we have faced financial difficulties.
I’ve also had to adjust to a new living situation that is less than ideal and attempting to get to know a big, brand new state.
So here are 12 things I’ve learned about marriage this year:
1) Holy crap, this is hard. I mean, like, super hard. It is a daily struggle to stay motivated when you constantly have 12 loads of laundry (that number is not an exaggeration) to do and a hubby who’d rather game instead. LOL (And secretly wishing you were gaming too. Hey, I’m a geek, remember?)
2) Getting along with in-laws isn’t just a bonus. It’s a necessity. I don’t know where I would be without my brother-in-law and parents-in-law. They are really super incredible and have assisted my husband and I tremendously.
3) (If you’ve moved away) Set up web chats immediately with family and friends, especially if this is the first time you’ve left home. You may not want to hear about your family’s problems, but you are still an integral part of the family. If you are still in the same area, make an effort to schedule time with them.
4) Make every night “date night”. Now of course I’m not saying get dressed up and blow a wad of dough on an expensive meal. But because of my husband’s work schedule, we have a limited amount of free time together.
Any time we sit down to eat we treat it like date night. Laughter, cuddles, maybe a TV or movie.
There will be many days where this can’t happen. Conflicting schedules, health issues. But try to do this as often as possible. Having dinner together isn’t just great for families with children, it’s vital for couples.
5) Learn each other’s love language and communicate the crap out of it. Some folks are still unfamiliar with Gary Chapman’s book series on love languages, but it is a must read.
He has adapted the original book into ones about family relationships, work relationships, etc. There’s a free quick quiz you can take to determine which one you speak. Have your partner take it as well.
This is important, because even though my husband says he loves me as much as possible, physical touch is his primary love language. Words of affirmation are a close second.
So I never doubt my husband’s love for me, because he always has his hand on mine, his arm around me and is always giving me hugs and kisses.
Thankfully, words of affirmation is his secondary language and that is my primary. So he doesn’t have trouble expressing his love for me in words.
It’s odd now, because even when we were dating, these have swapped. I now speak his language more than my own and vice versa. Works great!
6) Create a list of 100 reasons why you love your spouse. I did this as a writing assignment, but it’s awesome. Not only to remind you of the awesomeness of your spouse when he/she gets aggravating, but you can send them to your husband or wife as well.
7) You must adapt to your spouse’s desires and interests, even if they are completely different from yours. Hubby enjoys talking about world politics and science, and those two topics are usually a snooze for me.
After feeling completely left out of conversations regarding these topics with others, I have had to adapt. Now I follow the Associated Press (I should have been anyway) on Twitter and try to share science and gaming news with him.
Dear hubby tries to talk more pop culture and TV/movie news with me as much as he can.
Sometimes these snoozefest subjects are more interesting than you think!
8) Verbally address resentment issues. Yes, it gets annoying to constantly ask for help with cleaning, but it does get through some times. Don’t allow this to fester. Speaking of which…
9) Be completely honest with each other. This is a painful one for a lot of people, because sometimes the honest response is the harsh one. But you have to do it, and you have to do it consistently. Why? Because it helps better with the next one…
10) Do not keep secrets from each other. Ever. I think many people may disagree with me on this, but it’s helped us get through a lot of hardships. If I’m feeling angry or resentful, I tell him. I often have a hard time communicating this verbally rather than writing, but it helps.
The first (and last) time he bought a pricey computer game or accepted help from his parents without telling me is what triggered this.
Some couples have never shared stories of their exes with each other. I think that’s not necessarily healthy, because there are lessons to be learned from those experiences.
I now know what not to do, say, or listen to (sadly Kelly Clarkson is off limits in his presence). You don’t have to go into lurid, sexual details, but find out as much as you can personally handle.
Remember: Keeping tiny secrets makes it easier to keep big ones.
11) When you’re down, reminisce. Wedding and engagement photos were taken for a reason! To remember those special days.
Especially since we just got married last year, I am constantly looking at these photos to remind us of the circumstances behind that day.
When I get down and think, “There will never be a day as perfect as our wedding day,” I stop and think of a way to make it happen.
12) Keep the intimacy alive in different ways. I was taught intimacy isn’t just sex. It is defined as “a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person.” That means hugs, holding hands, even long gazes.
When I flirted with Jason before we started dating, I gave him an extra-long hug. He hasn’t forgotten that. We still try to do those as much as possible. I know it’s easy to forget.
Emotional intimacy is important too. Verbalize reasons why your spouse is valuable to you and your family.
There really is so much more I’ve learned that I hope to share here. We had perhaps a great deal more bumps in the road than the average couple for our first year (probably typical for a quick courtship like ours), but it has shown us that we can get through just about anything when we work together as a team.