Sunday, September 14, 2014

3 Things I Learned in My First Year of Marriage

We made it!  Caleb and I made it!  Today is our one year anniversary!

Can I get real with you for a bit? This year was really, really difficult, and I just want to let you know how thankful I am that my husband and I had this first year.  I knew that things wouldn't be peaches and cream.  Smushing two lives together into one tends to be a little sticky sometimes, and I'd heard many times growing up "The first year is the hardest."  Well, I didn't know it would be this hard, and I didn't know it would be this hard because of these reasons.

Three things I've learned in my first year of marriage : Lindsay Eryn
Caleb and I one year ago!
by Sarah Becker Photography

Relationship Pro Tip:
 Present over perfect. (via)
Relationships of all kinds will have highs and lows.  When conflict comes, don't take that as the signal to leave.  If your relationship has been good and healthy and valuable, stick with it through the hard times.  Help it get better.  You and the other person are the masters of this ship, and you have what it takes to make things right.

Loving someone deeply and being vulnerable opens you up to such great heights of joy and such great depths of pain.  What sucks is that so much of the pain comes unintentionally.  Who knew that my best friend and I would misinterpret each other so often, that my instinct would be to act out on emotion instead of focusing on facts, and that I would be so easily frustrated and resentful over the smallest things?!  The responsibility for the health of relationships always involves both people in the relationship, but I humbly take the blame for most of what made this year hard.

Relationship Pro Tip:
During conflict, while it's very easy to focus on the tone of someone's words, look beyond the nonverbal communication to see the words the other is saying.  When you're angry, you can misinterpret and read into the slightest glances and the smallest fidgets and voice quavers.  If you trust this person, trust their words.  If you don't understand their words, ask for an explanation.  Don't let emotions rule the conflict.

I'm glad to say that I've been able to put in a lot of effort to making things right again, too.  Since the last week of July, I've been attending weekly counseling sessions.  At first, I was going because I felt like my life was spinning out of control.  I needed someone who would help me sort things out and find where I was wrong and where I needed to change.  It worked.  My counselor let me talk about my marriage (and life in general) freely.  She helped me think through issues and conflicts calmly.  In the room where we talk, there were no fights to win and no pride to hold up.  She's helped me see patterns and problems, and she's pointed out good things and accomplishments that I didn't realize, too.  Through counseling, I've been able to become more steady, less reliant on my interpretations of Caleb's words, and more trusting of what he actually says.  You can't imagine what relief this has brought to our marriage!

Relationship Pro Tip:
Don't be afraid of counseling.  It's meant to be an environment where you can speak freely about your problems without worrying about offending anyone or hurting anyone's feelings.  It's a great way to receive counsel (surprise!) and a second, impartial perspective.  Proverbs speaks often about how valuable wise counsel is in all situations, and it's right.  Counseling is not just for marriages on the rocks; it can be a great way to check yourself to keep you from wrecking yourself before it happens.  I like to think of counseling as a routine doctor's visit for your relationship.

I am so happy to be with this man.  He is good and good for me.  We have both put a lot of effort into strengthening this marriage and have found a new stability and contentment.  I know things won't always be perfect, but I know that we will both remain present and persistent in the fight for our relationship, like we promised to a year ago.  I'm thankful for and proud of how far we've come.  I'm looking forward to what lies ahead, because it's gonna be awesome.


  1. These are great tips, thanks for being so honest! I've been married almost 5 months now and can definitely relate!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Anne! I wish happy marriages for everyone, but it's good to know and Caleb and I aren't the only ones who struggle and need some help here and there.


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