Today my wife and I celebrated our one year anniversary of being married. Rather than focusing on how we celebrated today, I really want to zero in on what I learned from this past year, because what my brother told me is so very true. “The first year of marriage is the hardest, but don’t worry, it’ll get easier.”
My wife and I moved extremely quick with each other. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. We just have our own way of doing things. In only about a couple years of knowing each other we started dating, we moved in together, I proposed to her, got her pregnant, we have a child and now here we are celebrating our one year anniversary.
We both work together so well because we have very similar minds and upbringings. Something about us just seems to click. This doesn’t mean we’ve never been through hard times. When you’re with your soulmate, you could be your true self around that person. This means they see you at your best and they see you at your worst and everything in between. My wife has certainly seen me at my worst and vice versa and guess what…we still stuck by each other. We’ve both made some mistakes and you know what? We’ve forgiven each other.
People have this idea that your first year of marriage is one big honeymoon stage. I’m sure for some people it is, but I think for most of us it’s safe to say the first year, after the actual honeymoon itself, is filled with a lot of friction and needs a lot of adjustments. Throw a child in the mix and it gets that much harder. So what have I learned in just one year of marriage?
Express Yourself: Learn to express anything and everything that’s on your mind. Your significant other isn’t a mind reader. If they do something that bothers you or hurts your feelings, tell them politely how it really is. Don’t keep all of that bottled up, because trust me, no good can come from that.
Share Your Secrets: There’s one thing that differentiates your significant other from your friends or even family and that’s all the secrets you can share with each other. I’m close with my brother and he knows a lot about me, but nobody would ever guess the things my wife knows about me. We know each other inside and out.
Compromise Sometimes: I will admit that I have a big problem always thinking I’m right. Let’s be honest, there are many times where I’m not. Sometimes I need to learn to compromise a little better with my wife. Some fights are not worth having, while others are important to grow as a couple. Compromise with each other. Meet in the middle whenever possible.
Empathize: Empathizing with your partner goes a long way. Empathize, don’t sympathize. This actually goes a long way with anyone in your life. Nobody really likes it when you just feel sorry for them, but all of us likes it when other people puts themselves in our shoes. It’s one of the first things parents should teach us when we’re children. Treat others how you would like to be treated. Following that would not only make your relationship better, but it would drastically improve the world we live in.
Forgive and Forget: In lifelong relationships there’s bound to be some mistakes that are made. When I was drinking heavily I was making mistakes in my relationship and taking my loved ones for granted. My wife was also making her fair share of mistakes. Now, we never cheated on each other. That’s the one thing I don’t think I’d be able to get over. Everyone’s different, so some people can get over that. For those of you who can look past that, more power to you. For me personally I believe everything else is repairable. Sometimes you will lie, you’ll fight, talk down to each other, not get along and sometimes you can feel completely done with each other. Forgive each other and talk it over. Correct your actions. Apologize, forget about the negatives and move forward.
Keep the Romance Alive: Spontaneity goes a long way. Flowers on special occasions, or for no reason at all, will always make a woman feel special. Make time for dinners and go out on dates. Get a babysitter and spend some time with each other by yourselves. Go on family walks and hikes. Chivalry is not dead. Hold the door open for her. Pull out the chair for her when she goes to sit down. Tell her how beautiful she is and what she means to you. Keep the romance alive and you both will stay interested in each other.
Put Your Partner First: Remember, there’s a reason you picked your significant other over everyone else in the world. Keep putting your partner over everyone else. They come first. It’s nice to hang out with friends, but make sure you keep your priorities straight. They should feel like number one and make you feel like number one as well.
Appreciate and Encourage Each Other: Use words of affirmation and encouragement. Tell them that they’re doing a great job. Show them that you’re proud of everything they accomplished. Encourage your partner to be better and do the best they could do. In a good relationship, you both try to lift each other up, not drag each other down. Bring each other to new heights that you thought you could only dream of before you met each other.
For me, these have been the main key points I’ve learned in my first year of marriage. I’m far from a perfect husband, but I’m learning everyday. I’m sure other people have learned other things as well and there’s a lot of topics I may have missed, but these eight key factors are the ones that sticks out to me the most. Everybody who is in a relationship, try to think about what matters to you the most in that relationship. What mistakes have you ever made and did you every truly apologize for it? How can you improve your romance? What haven’t you done for a while that you can do for your partner?
Be the person who you would want to spend the rest of your life with. I’m not a relationship professional. I’m just a man who has been in a few bad relationships on account of the other person and myself, and I have learned what I wanted, what I did wrong and I grew from both of those things. Because of mistakes in my past I’ve found a wife at my caliber and I would never repeat those mistakes and put what we built together in jeopardy.