Tuesday, June 11, 2013

20 Things We Learned in the First Year of Marriage (Part I)

For the last couple days of Wedding Week(ish), I thought I would share a few things we've learned during our first year of being married. Today I'll give you my 10 things, and tomorrow I'm handing over the reigns (er...keyboard) to Tyler so he can introduce himself and give his 10.

This is an old picture, but it's the one that caught Tyler's eye on Twitter, so I'm going with it.

I know quite a bit about human behavior--I have a bachelors degree in psychology, and a masters degree in clinical psychology, so I spent six years (seven if you count the thesis from hell) studying it in-depth. With that under my belt, I really thought I had this marriage thing figured out by the time I walked down the aisle. We did premarital counseling (heck, I know how to DO pre-marital and marital counseling) but... I had no idea what marriage was really like. It's one of those things that you truly have to experience to understand. (I hear having kids is like that too. I'll let you know in a few years...)

Here they are--10 things I learned in year one:

1) It doesn't feel that different. I thought there would be some kind of major change when we got married, like I would suddenly be a wife and life would be magical, and I would be able to talk to animals or something. I have no idea what I thought would really be different, but on some subconscious level, I had that expectation. Don't get me wrong--being married to Tyler is amazing and I love love love it. But dating Tyler was amazing too. Being engaged to Tyler was amazing. And all of those things aren't really as different from each other as I expected them to be.

2. All your neuroses will come out in full, shining glory. Oh boy. There really are no secrets when you live with someone. It doesn't matter what you try to hold in, eventually it will all come out. Moodiness, anger, anxiety, hormones, depression, insecurity--somehow it will all make its way to the surface. Every bit of crazy you have will be seen by your spouse. Just ask Tyler. One day I burst into tears when he asked me if I wanted taquitos for dinner. (That was pure hormones, just FYI.)

3. Affirmation is key.  Tyler and I are one of those sickening couples who are constantly telling each other that we love each other (usually when we're alone so our friends aren't totally grossed out.) We even have a little "signal" for when we're in a group but want to say "I love you." Maybe that's sappy or whatever, but we've found that the affirmation we get from each other is directly correlated to our happiness.

4. Pick your battles. I've had people ask me how I deal with Tyler playing video games. My answer? I don't, because I don't care. One bit. Heck, I join him sometimes. I know women who get super annoyed with their significant other's gaming, but they aren't me, and aren't married to my husband. It's just not a big deal to me. Tyler and I rarely fight, because we know what is and isn't worth fighting over (also because he's exceptionally considerate and empathetic). If I find myself starting to get resentful about something, I bring it up and we talk about it. We don't have to fight to fix it. Tyler and I are both pretty easy-going, so we know that if something gets brought up, it should be addressed. That wouldn't necessarily be the case if one of us was nagging the other about every little thing. That's not to say that we don't ever fight, or that fighting isn't healthy. We just find ways to fix things without having to do it as often. :)

5. Learn to recognize your moods. This one is 100% for me. Hormones, man, I tell ya. I've literally had to tell Tyler, "I'm about to cry, and it has nothing to do with you. It's just that time." I've snapped at him before just because I was cranky, and that is not okay. I've gotten better about it in recent months; there are times I can change my mood just by realizing that I'm having a bad day, it's not his fault, and he shouldn't have to put up with it. Sometimes, though, I'm just stuck in a funk. Or I'm super sensitive. So I try to just let him know and work on being less of a grump/sad sack. He's usually pretty understanding (and pretty likely to do silly dances right in front of me until I start to laugh).

6. The Five Love Languages? Read it. I had read this several years before getting married was even a possibility in my mind, purely from psychological interest. It's the single best relationship book I've ever read, truly. Even if you aren't in a romantic relationship, it can be extrapolated to friendships, even business relationships to an extent. I reread it when we were engaged, and I was reminded of how important it is to understand how your spouse gives and receives love.

7. 3 Words: Division of Labor This is another way we avoid fights. Instead of being stressed trying to get everything done, and feeling guilty & responsible if it wasn't, we divided up the household chores. Does this mean that our place is always spotless and together? Uh, I'm staring at a pair of socks on the living room floor if that gives you a hint. Things aren't always equal, and that's okay--there are weeks where one of us takes on the brunt of the chores just to get it done for company or because we're (read: I'm a) compulsive cleaners. We don't always stick to our list, either; I've been known to load the dishwasher, and Tyler's done laundry more than a few times. It helps immensely to have guidelines, though, so nobody feels like they're doing all the work or unappreciated.

8. You will not sleep comfortably on a full-size bed. Ever. Fact. Period. The end.

9. How to love I thought I knew what love was like before I met Tyler, but I was wrong wrong wrong. It is so much deeper and more encompassing. It's more steady, more unshakable, more pure, more selfless. Tyler has taught me how to love well--by example, and just by existing.

10. I married the most patient, loving, genuinely good man on the planet. I really, honestly believe this is the truth, not an exaggeration. Some days, I wouldn't even want to be married to me, but he loves me still. He loves me when I can't tolerate being around myself. He makes me the very best version of myself, because I want to be as good to him as he is to me. I'm so very lucky to have him.


  1. Love the Five Love Languages. Ironically, my ex refusing to read it is what affirmed that he really didnt want our marriage to work :) Luckily, life isn't so bleak with A. I think I'm going to suggest that book this week, actually. Thanks for reminding me! :)

    1. SUCH a good book. Glad you've found someone who appreciates you, Cass. :)

  2. I loveeeee this post! I feel like it came straight from my heart, so many good truths! I especially loved, "...life would be magical, and I would be able to talk to animals or something." :) So true about the neuroses... I feel like a crazy person a lot of the time, constantly being around one person will definitely bring that out of you, but it is so important like you said, to recognize those moods and let your husband know... after almost 2 years he is catching on to detecting those moods and can usually figure out what to do to make them better. :) Thanks for sharing this, girl!! Happy anniversary!

    1. Thanks! Glad someone else can relate. Haha. :)


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