They say the first year of marriage is the hardest and if that’s true for my husband and I, we’ll be spending the rest of the years in wedded bliss because this first year of marriage was not nearly as bad as I anticipated.
In April my husband and I celebrated our first year of marriage. As cliche as it may sound, the year flew by and the blissful day we shared our vows felt like it was just yesterday. I thought about writing this post around that time but overthinking about oversharing got the best of me. But now after attending a few weddings of close friends and family members I think this is the perfect time to share my marriage reality with newlyweds and others approaching the aisle.
Lesson 1 – Let your partner be who they are
As a woman who has led a very autonomous life in her adult years, I had a hard time understanding my husband’s ways of doing things. I stopped myself from inserting the word “strange” in front of “ways” there. But at the beginning that’s how it felt. His way of doing things was very much strange to me and while he never got upset or seemed overly bothered by my instructions to do things differently, I found myself overbearing.
Like why did I need him to hang the kitchen towels exactly where I usually do. When I thought about it and asked him about his reasoning for changing the location, it made sense. He had a perfectly good reason for hanging the towels in his spot. I had to learn that my partner is ‘my partner’ and is perfectly capable of contributing new ways and ideas for establishing our new life together.
I realized it was my responsibility to respect and appreciate who my partner is and will be even in the small things like hanging kitchen towels.
Lesson 2 -Friendship
I’m a firm believer in befriending your spouse. And for me it was easy. We were friends to start. I liked my husband as a person- he was weird and quirky like me- and the romance followed. The friendship we share has grown dramatically in the time we’ve spent together- thanks to Covid.
The belly laughs we share over the silliest things, the long talks we have about causes we’re passionate about are just a few benefits of being genuine friends with your partner. Undeniably, I’ve found friendship to be an excellent foundation for open, honest communication. And for that reason, we’ve never had an issue go unresolved for more than a day.
We took the advice of never letting the sun go down on your anger to heart and it’s been great for continued connectivity and intimacy.
Lesson 3- Fan the flame
It might seem too soon to be thinking about trying to keep the spark alive but with the advent of covid things changed quickly. We went from weekly dates to almost none for months.
Initially, it was fine. In fact, I’d say for the first whole year we were enamoured by the idea of just being around each other 24/7, so every day was a ‘date’. But as things progressed I craved a change of scenery and with lockdown after lockdown rolling in, the likelihood of a vacation or a day out was thrown out. Work and covid fatigue started to settle in. Passion was being replaced with warranted tiredness.
Though the occasional lull in passion may be normal, it must never be allowed to grow into more. That’s where fanning the flame comes in. it may be tricky in these uncertain times but you can find crafty ways of inventing fun where there isn’t.
If you love a good date night like me, set up an at-home movie theatre. Or make a take out dish into a fancy at-home dinner date by ordering a few extra things from the menu.
Related: My Wedding Story: Corona Edition
Lesson 4 – It’s not always 50/50
The idea of a relationship being 50/50 is a popular modern concept that as a married woman I can now say has a blindside. Holding fast and true to a 50/50 ideal is just not feasible and in my opinion, is an idea we should let go of.
To me, it would be better to identify your relationship as a collaboration or partnership where the amount of effort is not given a number value. Why not? The simple truth is partnership is not black and white or cut and dry. There are nuances, circumstantial changes and emotions involved. We are humans.
Some days I’m more tired than my husband and other days he’s far busier than I am and in those situations, the other person will need to take on more of the home responsibilities than the other. This ebb and flow is constant. Forget the numbers, communicate to your partner about your feelings and work out a plan to manage your tasks together in the best way for you both.
Are you married too? Yes? What were some of the lessons you learnt in your first year of marriage? Share your advice in the comment section below.
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