The First Year Of Marriage: What I’ve Learned

The First Year Of Marriage: What I’ve Learned

Today is our first wedding anniversary. It saddens me that the memories of our wedding day gradually starts to fade over time. You always hear about how hard the first year of marriage can be but I have to say – it’s been a lot of fun. I always find comfort in knowing that no matter how stressful work becomes or how much pressure I felt from studying, our relationship was effortless. It comes down to mutual respect and admiration for each other, being the champions of each others goals, and truly being excited to be together every day. This year was about focusing on our careers, pursuing our passions, and finishing school without the stress of making any other big life decisions. It was about savoring the simple things in our relationship. Here’s what I’ve learned in my first year of marriage. 

1 | Nothing is different, but everything is different.

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If you’re already in a happy and healthy relationship, nothing is different. I was a strong believer of this before we tied the knot and it was very much true after the fact. Especially if you were already living together, there are usually no surprises or painful transitions.

However, the contrary is also every bit as true. In a very intangible way, everything is different. Marriage is the real deal, the créme de la créme, and your worlds will forever be intertwined. We are a family now and we’re growing old together. That changes everything.

2 | We are a team.

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Marriage is the best team I’ve ever been on and the most important team I’ll ever be on. The best wins and the most rewarding accomplishments are always the ones that we attain together. We have the strongest and happiest friendship which makes for a powerful team. I’ve learned that picking your husband is the single most important choice that you will make in your life, so choose wisely. If you pick the wrong career, you can change careers. If you’ve made the wrong friends, you can make new friends. All those mistakes have led me to the right path and has helped me find what I’m truly passionate about. Yes, one can argue that if you marry the wrong guy, you can get a divorce but for me, I don’t want that too be an option.

3 | Celebrate everyday moments.

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Whether it’s a small win at work, an anniversary for a silly memory, or a big milestone – A and I like to celebrate those everyday moments. I love having things to look forward to. Even if it’s as simple as cooking a new meal, going to get ice cream, or binge watching t.v. when our favorite show returns. All those smaller moments add up to the bigger moments in our relationship that make it whole. It’s those little moments in between where I find the most happiness .

4 | The grass is green where you water it.

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I’ve learned not to compare our relationship with others or let others define what we should or should not do. We receive all kinds of advice and we filter through it but nobody can truly understand your relationship or your struggles except you and your husband. Marriage is not “one size fits all”, there is no universal ingredient for a happy marriage, or a tried and true solution for a lasting marriage. We define those for ourselves and what works for us. I am certain that not every year will be rainbows and butterflies and there will be chapters that require more work than others. There is always going to be something better out there or moments that are happier than others, but the grass is green where you water it.

5 | Laugh.

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Life may not always be this peachy and there will be many stormy days ahead. But I’ve learned that if we can always find a way to laugh and have fun together, we can try to make the best out of any bad situation. Whether it’s his bang-on impressions of me or his assortment of creepy laughs that only seem to emerge at night, A and I share a laugh that makes our belly ache and nose snort, every day.

6 | Separation

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It’s nothing new that strong relationships need to have a balance between being together and creating separation. Especially after you are married, the lines become blurred quickly and easily. Being together is easy. Whether its trying a new restaurant, travelling to a new country, or binge watching t.v shows all day – A is my first pick, hands down. One of the benefits of being married is that I always have a built-in partner to do things with.

But we are not one of those co-dependent couples, unable to enjoy time apart from each other. A and I have always enjoyed our individual down time and space, in fact we need it. On most nights, we co-exist but he likes to read the news in peace while I Keep Up with the Kardashians. When he is at a boxing class, I like to revive my former single life by doing things like watching Sex and the City while scrolling down Pinterest. We love doing every thing together but we still appreciate our independence, even if it’s not something we take advantage of on a daily basis.

7 | Share experiences, make memories.

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We have already created countless memories together and the best part is knowing that there are so many more adventures to come, experiences to create, and stories to tell our grandchildren. I cherish all our mini anecdotes when we reminisce about the time we almost got scammed in Delhi, the time we took an afternoon nap at Jardin du Luxembourg, or the time I got strep throat in Jamaica. 

8 | Create traditions.

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The exciting thing about marriage is that we’re creating our own little family. Whether it’s for the holidays, birthdays, simple daily traditions, or traditions to celebrate big life changes – I love that we can create our own traditions from memories that we had as a child or things that we never got to do with our own families.

9 | Unconditional support.

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There is no doubt that A has supported me unconditionally in anything and everything that I do. No words can describe the profound impact that his support has had on me and the role that it’s played in pushing our relationship forward. For the most part, I come from a supportive family but it is in our nature to always have some doubt or quick to point out why something might not work out. From A, I’ve learned how important it is to always support each other and I always try to do the same for him. Behind all my successes, triumphs, and failures, he is my biggest cheerleader.

10 | Build a beautiful marriage.

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It goes without saying that no matter how beautiful and expensive your wedding is, those details start fading into the abyss as soon as it’s over. What you’re left with is far more rewarding – a truly wonderful partnership and happy marriage. I’ve learned that it’s far more important to invest time and energy into building a beautiful marriage than a beautiful wedding. That’s what will stand the test of time and take us happily into our golden years.

x, Joanna