Get Married, Stay Awesome
This past weekend my husband and I recreated our wedding weekend for our one year anniversary. We indulged in our favorite food that we had the weekend of our wedding, opened up our wine and love letter box (which we placed champagne in instead of wine), and even stayed at the same hotel where we got married.
It was such a fun weekend, that it made me wish I could go back to our wedding day so that we could relive it all again!
Despite all the fun and celebrating, this weekend also really made me think about everything that we have accomplished and learned during our first year of marriage.
Here are three things that I have learned in my first year of marriage.
Time Flies, So Make the Most of It
Since I got married a year ago, I’ve stood next to my sister’s side at her beautiful wedding, surprised my mom for her 60th birthday with a flight and trip to Epcot, went to Nashville for Valentine’s Day (eating some of the best fried chicken of my life), landed my dream job at the hospital I’ve been hoping to work for since I moved to Sarasota, and so much more!
I also would have never believed that we’d purchase our first home six months after getting married. We filled our house with not only beautiful new furniture, but have incorporated some very sentimental items as well. In particular, on our front porch is a wind chime that my parents got for us in memory of our beloved cat Munch who passed away unexpectedly at 4 years old. While this was a very difficult time for us, in a strange way, I feel as if it has brought Andy and I even closer together.
Through the good and the bad, it is important to remember to enjoy the every day that you and your spouse share. Choose happiness, say I love you, and do what you love: travel, take lots of photos, give your animals extra attention, chase what you want in life because time goes by so fast whether you are ready or not.
The Importance of Having a Nest Egg – Save, Save, Save
I can’t stress how important this is! My husband has always taught me the importance of having a “nest egg” – a savings that you build for emergencies in case life throws an unexpected curve ball at you. We have a nest egg that we keep in a separate bank account, out of sight, and would only access if we really needed it.
Then on top of that nest egg, it is important to keep saving so that you can do what you want! Have the extra money aside so you and your spouse can make that down payment on the house, book that flight out you have always wanted to take, or for that dental crown you weren’t planning on getting.
Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it is a great security blanket and a big stress reliever. I know that I’ve done a lot in the past year, but it’s also been done with sacrifice. I budget our monthly groceries, haven’t gone on any major shopping sprees, and found cheaper alternative pieces to furniture/home decor.
Having extra money in savings will make your first year of marriage much less stressful and so much more exciting when you get to splurge on fun things like fancy date nights out or a weekend adventure.
Marriage is a More Awesome Version of Dating – Nothing Really Changes Day to Day
Even though I value and cherish the fact that I get to call Andy my husband, he is still the same guy I fell in love with in college. Our relationship is just as fun and exciting as it was six years ago, and nothing has really changed in terms of our day to day love life. We still make up silly songs, dance while we cook dinner, and binge watch our favorite Netflix shows.
Society considers our relationship more “serious” now, but married life is just a more awesome version of dating – and it makes doing taxes a lot easier. I still love waiting for Andy to get home from work and I look forward to going on weekly dinner dates. He still buys me flowers just because and makes me laugh over his best impressions. The best advice I got from one of my 90 year old patients who was married for over 70 years: marry your best friend. When you marry your best friend, life is really fun.
Speaking of fun, I thought it would be interesting to get Andy’s take on three things he’s learned in our first year of marriage. I will now turn the second half of this post over to him so that he can tell you what he’s learned…
I’ve heard that the first year of marriage is the hardest year and I had always wondered why. This wasn’t something that I would agonize over, but it was something that I started thinking about as our one year anniversary came closer.
A year has come and gone and I can confidently say that the first year of marriage isn’t as difficult as people say. In fact, I didn’t think it was difficult at all. Like Vanessa said, when you marry your best friend, life is really fun.
And so is sharing a few things that I’ve learned in our first year of marriage.
Communication and Listening Are Imperative
Ask almost anyone who is in a relationship and they will tell you that communication is a key element to success. In a marriage, it is no different. By the time you get married, you’ve known your significant other for some time and have probably developed your own form of communication that works for you.
Communication is a multi-layered element that is practiced by not just the people involved, but also in the method in which it is delivered. The latter is easy – a call, text, FaceTime, or even leaving a note can be effective ways to communicate.
The former, communicating with your spouse, has many levels. In a marriage, open communication is what will propel the relationship in a positive direction. Whether it’s discussing finances, weekend plans, purchases, feelings, goals, or fears, having a constant dialogue with your partner is a must. Being able to effectively communicate is something that I feel we’ve always done well, but in our first year of marriage, it is what has guided us to success.
It takes two people to make a marriage work and from what I’ve learned in our first year is that being on the same page will definitely make things easier. Communicating with one another will reduce arguments, ignite quality conversations, and allow you (as a married couple) to build habits that will grow and develop throughout your marriage.
Through communication comes listening. It is very important to listen to what your spouse is saying and why what they are saying is important to them. Sometimes the best form of communication is just being a pair of open ears.
Don’t Be Boring, Be Spontaneous
If you live with your significant other while you are dating, you will inevitably fall into a routine. That’s not a bad thing, but it can lead to a mundane lifestyle if you’re not careful. Being spontaneous is something that I think can contribute to even greater happiness in a marriage (or relationships in general). Spontaneity gives you a sense of freedom from the day-to-day monotony that society demands of you and can lead to an even closer bond between you and your spouse.
Whether it’s going out on a weeknight for drinks, planning a last minute weekend getaway, surprising your wife by coming home with her favorite takeout food, or going on an impromptu visit to a shelter to look at kittens, spontaneity will keep things fun and exciting!
Don’t Be Afraid to Chase Your Goals Together
One thing that I’ve always told Vanessa is that whatever goals she has in life, I will support 110%.
Even in long-term relationships, it can be intimidating and scary to tell your partner about the goals, dreams, and ambitions you’ve always had. Vanessa and I had talked about things we wanted to get out of life, but it always seemed like there was a certain “order of events” that needed to take place first.
Once we got married, however, we felt like the future was a blank canvas for us to paint our own journey upon. It was exciting to know that we were in control of where to go and in our first year of marriage we started chasing those dreams we’d always had.
Buying a house was a priority for us and we were fortunate to accomplish that goal within just a few months of being married. Sure, we’ve got our sights set on other things, namely travel, making wise investments, career development, and creating memories that will last a lifetime.
No matter what your goals are, whether they be as a couple, or for yourself, don’t be afraid to talk to your spouse because they are your biggest fan and support system.
We love hearing what other couples have learned throughout their relationships or marriages. Please share your words of wisdom in the comments!