7 Things I Learned after My First Year of Marriage

7 Things I Learned after My First Year of Marriage

One thing is for certain when we are approaching a significant life change: People will dish out loads of advice. Before getting married, I remember advice coming from all angles, both solicited and unsolicited. Don’t get me wrong, I know our loved ones only had our best interest in mind, but it can be overwhelming to receive so much counsel. Of all the advice we heard, there was one strong theme we consistently heard: Marriage is hard.

Sure, marriage takes work and intention, but it is so much more than just hard work. As with most things, experience is the best teacher, so here are some significant things I learned about marriage after celebrating our first anniversary. 

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  • 1. Marriage is fun

    1. Marriage is fun

    I don’t think we talk about this nearly enough! Is it hard? Yes—it’s not a total breeze every single day. But, oh my goodness, it is also so much fun! You fall in love with a person and then you get to live with them, beginning and ending each day alongside them. This is just about the best thing ever! We get to laugh together, cook together, brush our teeth together—what a gift to do even the most mundane task with the one you love.

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  • 2. Marriage is life-giving

    2. Marriage is life-giving

    Again, it’s true that marriage requires hard work, but it is not (or should not be) work that simply depletes us. Marriage can infuse us with energy and encouragement. When our partner is building us up, praying for us, and cheering us on, things like confidence, joy, and peace fill us. A strong and Godly marriage is more energizing than it is tiring. 

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  • 3. We’ll always kiss goodnight

    3. We’ll always kiss goodnight

    My husband and I began this rule on day one of our marriage and we’ve fought to keep it in tact as long as one of us is not traveling. We’ve all been told not to go to bed angry and, for the most part, my husband and I have kept to that. There are hard days, however. There are nights when we’re annoyed and we simply need to go to sleep. This is when a kiss goodnight is all the more important; it signifies that although we are irritated or disappointed, we are still in love. We will still meet each other in the middle and share a kiss before getting some sleep and beginning a new day together.

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  • 4. Protecting your time together is not selfish

    4. Protecting your time together is not selfish

    The shift from being engaged to married is a big adjustment. Your partner is not a roommate, they are a spouse. Our marriages need to be tended to, and during this infancy stage is when we can set standards and create habits that will grow and maintain the health of our marriage for the long haul. Our marriage should be put first, before other relationships and tasks. This does not mean we shut out everyone else (We need a supportive community, too!), but extra date nights or weekends home together, particularly as you’re setting the tone of your marriage in year one, is not a selfish move. 

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  • 5. A commitment to being right is wrong

    5. A commitment to being right is wrong

    If you have to be all right, all the time, then marriage will be harder than it should be. You and your spouse are on the same team! Throughout our first year of marriage, I had to learn that not only am I not always right, but I don’t have to be right. My husband and I are in this together. We’re learning from and with one another; we’re not characters in a courtroom drama, we’re two imperfect people in a marriage. At the end of the day, our commitment to one another matters more than winning an argument. 

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  • 6. Vows are like plants

    6. Vows are like plants

    I don’t have a green thumb, but I know the care and intention required to keep a plant alive. The vows we speak on our wedding day are not just words on a page, they are living promises outlining the ways we will honor our spouse. Don’t speak these words at your wedding ceremony and then move on! Return to them, as you would a precious houseplant. We need to check in on our vows and give extra attention to the parts of our vows we have been neglecting. Our vows are not spoken as promises we’ve already mastered, but as intentions we will continually work to live into. Because of that, we need to do the work of cultivating a life that reflects the sacred vows we’ve spoken.

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  • 7. Anniversaries matter

    7. Anniversaries matter

    Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate! During a time when hearing of another divorce barely has us flinching, it’s all the more important to celebrate each anniversary heartily. You should be celebrating your commitment to the work you’re doing and the fun you’re having along the way. It doesn’t matter if it’s year one or year sixty—don’t let anniversaries slip by without celebrating your relationship and its growth.

    I’m grateful for the thoughtful advice we’ve received, but nothing has taught me more than journeying alongside my husband as we figure marriage out for ourselves. Hold onto the people who love and support your relationship—you’ll need a cheering section—but know that you two will find your way. When the vows have been spoken and the marriage license is signed, don’t forget to enjoy this awesome journey!

    And always kiss each other goodnight.

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    I am Mallory—a wife, a writer, and a dog mom to Roger. I love dry humor, clean sheets, sunny days, and frequent reminders of grace. These days, I hang out at malloryredmond.com, where I tell my stories with the hope of uncovering places of connection in our humanity. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter