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May 10, 2015

12 Lessons for the First Year of Marriage

May 10, 2015

Today is my one year wedding anniversary. 5/10/15. A lucky date palindrome!

One down, infinity to go.

Somewhere around month ten I started telling people that I would soon be celebrating my one-year wedding anniversary. Sorry. We would soon be celebrating. R gets equal billing in this show. Almost everyone had the same reaction: “Oh wow. Year one. Rough, right?”

Wait. What? Not only was it far from rough, but no one told me it was supposed to be bad. Though, if they had I would have asked them exactly what I did ten months in, “Wait. What? Why?

Their answers varied from life-combining to finance-combining to the pressures of finally being a wife. I experienced some of those, but none of them made the year bad. We got a puppy sometime around month three, and that was real rough, but it had nothing to do with our marriage and everything to do with the fact that puppies are real rough.

But this idea that year one is typically so miserable made me think about what one (or two) can do to defy the odds. Here is my list. Take it – like all things – with a grain of salt. We do what we do, and we are who we are, though in this case we are a couple that had an awesome first year of marriage so…

12 Lessons from the First 12 Months of Marriage

  1. If you don’t have to move immediately after you get married, maybe don’t? It’s really nice to have as much stability as possible whe there’s a major shift in your life, and there’s nothing less stabilizing than moving said entire life. Also you run the risk of your new husband finding out exactly how many pair of shoes you have within the acceptable annulment zone, and you’ve worked oh so hard to avoid that moment.
  2. Celebrate your six-month anniversary. Hell, celebrate your one month anniversary. Being married is really special. Why not just have a date night on your marriage date every month?
  3. Throw out all that crap in your head telling you, “I can’t do/be/think/wear/say ________ because I’m a wife now.” Wear cut-off shorts? Stay out with your girlfriends until 5am. Go on vacation with your girlfriends. Spend an entire weekend with your gay friends. Wear super shorty shorts. I don’t know. Just don’t worry about the “rules.” They don’t exist.
  4. If you didn’t do so already, talk to someone about how to properly a. combine your finances and b. start saving for the future. You’ll thank yourself when you’re one of those couples celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary in the Maldives because you didn’t get divorced or forget to save for vacations to the Maldives.
  5. Try not to do that thing where you make fun of marriage or being a wife or the fact that your husband is such a typical husband sometimes. You know what I mean. I’ve done it once or twice, and it always makes me feel so dumb and mean and typical. I don’t want to be any of those things.
  6. Start the process of not sweating the small stuff NOW. I will not mention examples because I no longer sweat them.
  7. Start the process of communicating about the big stuff that you really, truly sweat NOW. I will not mention examples because privacy is the big stuff.
  8. Your families are each others families now, but I think it’s helpful if each person is responsible for their own family. That doesn’t mean you don’t communicate across last-name lines. It just means that there is a point person.
  9. Fight hard not to become that married couple everyone hates because they disappear the moment they get married. Group friendships are important. Individual friendship are critical.
  10. Regarding the kids thing. People are going to start asking you, immediately. Instead of quoting a year or saying you’re focusing on your careers or getting all mad about it, just say, “if and when we’re ready,” or something equally vague, and let it go.
  11. Avoid that, “we’ll be married forever so I’ll just X, Y, Z next time,” trap. Write out the card…welcome them home with a kiss…get off your damn Instagram when you’re in the car (me, not him). The habits you form now are the habits you’ll keep, they say. Make them the best ones.
  12. And finally – if your wife tells you that she’s been invited on a trip to Turkey that falls directly on your very first anniversary tell her that’s amazing, and you’re so proud of her, and she’d be a fool not to go. Because only the best husbands would say something like that, and you’re going to have to be one of the best if you stand a chance of competing with mine.

Happy first year of marriage, R. Let’s do it again, and again, and again, and again, and again.

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