|photo courtesy of photostock at freedigitalphotos.net|
Kevin and I became husband and wife on August 8, 2009. We had a beautiful ceremony, fun reception and headed off to our honeymoon the following day. Our marriage really started when we returned from our honeymoon cruise. People tend to describe the first year of marriage as “the honeymoon period.” I wasn’t naive enough to think our first year of marriage would be all good, but I definitely was not prepared for the learning experience I was about to have. Webster defines honeymoon as a period of harmony immediately following marriage.
Well, here’s what I learned during my honeymoon year.
1. Marriage changes everything. No matter how long you dated your boyfriend, when he becomes your husband, everything changes. You have made a commitment before your family, friends and God to be with this person “until death do you part.” You can’t just go back home when he gets on your nerves. You have access to each other as much as you want, even when you don’t want it. There is even a certain level of jealousy or possessiveness that comes with being newly married.
2. You will fight. I know it might sound strange but it’s true. You will fight. You need to fight. But you need to fight fair. Fighting can bring you closer if it’s done right. You have to understand each other’s fighting style and figure out if it’s hurting your relationship. My fighting style was to withdraw and refuse to apologize (even if I knew I as wrong). Not helpful…at all.
3. Choose your battles. You must ask yourself “Is it worth it?” Okay, he didn’t put the toilet seat back down. Is it worth a fight? Not really. On the other hand, he’s staying out all night (without you) and you’ve expressed that you don’t like it. Is it worth a fight? I think so.
4. Make time for each other. You made time for dates before you got married but it’s easy to get lazy. It’s very important to schedule QUALITY time with each other. Not watching TV, not talking about work or bills, not even just to have sex. You need quality time to truly connect with your spouse in every way. I was actually given the advice to limit contact with friends and family (in person and on the phone) for the first 30 days of marriage.
5. Pause before making decisions. You need to learn this phrase. “Let me talk to my husband/wife first.” Your life is no longer about what is best for you. It’s about what’s best for “us.” Be open to hearing your spouse’s point of view. You may not always agree about the best course of action. It is up to each couple to decide what to do in those situations. In our household, my husband makes the final decision.
6. Don’t make comparisons. Your marriage is unique. Don’t compare yourself, your husband or your marriage to anyone else. No marriage is perfect. Work together to fulfill the vision you have for your marriage and future family.
7. Have realistic expectations. There will good times and bad times. There will be struggles and triumphs. There will be passion and boredom. There will be laughter and tears. Your husband is not your happiness. He can contribute to it but he does not control it. You are both flawed individuals that have chosen to love each other, flaws and all.
8. Embrace new family & friends. It’s not always easy to cultivate a good relationship with in-laws and new friends. They may not be your cup of tea, but they are part of your spouse. Do all you can to have a positive relationship with those that are important to your husband,
9. Keep your issues private. Don’t share ALL of your business with your family and friends. Outside of abusive situations, it is your job to protect your husband’s image. I suggest every couple has an accountability couple that they can call and talk to in times of difficulty. This should be a couple that will not take sides but has your marriage’s best interest at heart.
10. Pray. You probably think I’m telling you to pray for your husband. Yes, you should pray for him, but the person you really need to be praying for is yourself. The only person you can control is YOU. I encourage you to ask God to show you what YOU need to do to make your marriage successful.
What was your first year of marriage like? What would you add to the list?
Chrystol blogs at Chronicles of Womanhood