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Sam Dobson Writes: What I Learned In My First Year Of Marriage

Monday, January 5, 2015

What I Learned In My First Year Of Marriage

Blake and I spent the last week in Napa Valley celebrating the new year and our first anniversary as a married couple. It's a good thing we were in wine country because we had plenty to cheers to. We survived our first year practically unscathed, which is saying a lot considering we had purchased and completely renovated (a pain-staking ordeal) our first home within six months of saying "I do". You always hear that old adage that the first year of marriage is the hardest. How much truth there is in that statement, who knows? Despite the stress we endured throughout our reno, I highly doubt we will look back and think of our first year as the hardest.

To be honest, we had a pretty great first year of marriage. That's a good thing though, right? No major fights, we didn't fall on hard times, and we accomplished some big things. Of course it wasn't always rainbows and butterflies. I definitely learned a few things about me and my relationship during our first year that I hope will help me (and maybe you too) in the many married years to come.

First Year Marriage Advice

1. Feeling Sexy Is Important

Since our wedding one year ago, I've put on more than my fair share of weight. While there were some pathetic and short-lived attempts to loose those extra pounds, I pretty much did nothing to change it all year long. All the while feeling totally self conscious and unhappy with my weight gain. It became increasingly more apparent as the year went on that my self confidence had a direct affect on my marriage. While my husband will forever compliment me and do his best to make me feel beautiful, if I don't feel sexy (due to nothing else but my own feelings about my body) it's hard to get in the mood. I'm not saying I have to be skinny to get my libido going, that's not it at all. Now I realized that it's just as important that I feel sexy as it is for my husband to think I'm sexy to encourage a healthy sex life. Just another reason to get my ass back in shape. 

*Side note: It's just as important to give each other compliments. I love getting random "you look hot in those jeans" or " you're so sexy" compliments from my husband and I always make sure to return the praise.

2. You Need A Household Budget

Unless you are one of those fortunate enough to be in the now infamous 1%, you will most likely always have to keep a close eye on your finances and marriage will only further the need. No longer are you responsible for your small handful of bills and the rent for a small studio. Being married brings in another income (hopefully) and even more bills. I do most of the book keeping so the juggling of checks and balances has mostly been on my plate, but I do go over our budget at least once a month with the hubby. I make sure he knows exactly how much we need for which bills and how much we have to spend on extras. During the first year of marriage, it becomes obvious that both partners need to be on the same page financially. And while we are on the subject, it's probably about time to get a real live tax accountant too.

3. Monotony Gets Boring

Don't get me wrong, I love our typical Friday night of dinner and a movie at home...but, you've got to mix it up a little. With all the work that went in to our renovation and for all those months we stayed with Blake's mom during the purchase of the house, when we finally got settled we wanted to do nothing but enjoy each other's company in our first home. Those are still my favorite nights but we need to go out once in a while and have some fun. It doesn't come all that naturally to us. We have to work at it, we make plans to keep dating. After a year of trying to come up with last minute dates that aren't the same old, same old, I decided to be proactive. For Blake's Christmas present I planned a year-full of unique dates, one for each month of 2015. You gotta keep it fresh and fun. 

4. Compromising Is A Necessity

Compromise is an important part of any relationship but once you get married the compromises are on a whole other level. It's always nice to compromise on the movie you're going to watch or where you will go for dinner, but when you have a spouse you will have to make bigger compromises. Maybe you can't stand your husband's best friend or you don't get along with your wife's brother, yet you are required to be civil. Perhaps you aren't fond of football but your spouse is a die-hard fan, you have to play along, tail gates and all. The point is that if you're married, from time to time you will have to do things you would rather not do. It's all about compromise. Blake doesn't share my love for Friends (the sitcom, not my besties) but he will tolerate a few episodes for me. My taste buds don't do well with curry but I attend and attempt to enjoy every family dinner at the Indian cuisine restaurant up the street. It's best to gracefully accept that you'll have to compromise from time to time and appreciate when your spouse does the same for you.

5. Tiffs & Spats Are Normal

I've sort of always known this one, now I'm just sure of it. I was never under the misconception that marriage was like a magic spell or potion that would alleviate any and all altercations from my relationship. Fights, arguments, disagreements, whatever you want to call them, should be a part of any healthy relationship. Nope, you didn't read that wrong. I don't trust any couple that doesn't bicker from time to time. There are probably some giant skeletons in those closets that are just waiting to surprise attack. Anyways, tiffs and spats are somewhat common in my household. I'm not talking about full blown fights with yelling and nasty name calling, those are not fun and should be few and far in between. Blake and I argue about the most ridiculous things sometimes and it somehow ends with laughter. Half the time one (or both) of us has a grin on our face. It's a half-serious quarrel that is soon forgotten. That's how it's always been with us and marriage hasn't changed that one bit. 

Of course this isn't a science, just the opinion of a recently married woman with a hunch she's in a damn good relationship. If nothing else, maybe these realizations can inspire some food for thought about your own marriage. What did you learn in your first year of marriage?

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