Today we at “Ask Millie and Mollie” are proud to introduce our latest contributing author, May! She’s a newlywed, a health-care professional, a big-city girl and is currently collaborating with her husband on a novel. They’re also working towards their goal of starting a family within the next few years.
The First Year of Marriage
Phil and I celebrated our one-year anniversary back in June, and since then I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on what I’ve learned since the wedding. This is just scratching the surface, but here are a few examples.
Living together is not the same as being married. I decided long before I met Phil that I would live with my fiancé for a while before we were married, to get a sense of what being married to him would be like. This was a worthy plan in theory, but in action there’s a huge difference between living with your boyfriend and living with your husband. Once you’re married, your relationship changes in subtle ways that you may not even realize at first. Becoming someone’s wife brings with it whole new levels of commitment, intimacy and responsibility.
There will always be something new to learn about your spouse. Always. No matter how much you think you know, he/she can always surprise you.
Being married takes a lot of work. I’ve known several people who have thought their relationship troubles would be resolved if they just got married, but this simply isn’t true. There is a fair amount of effort that you will both need to put into maintaining your relationship if things are going to work. It’s not unpleasant stuff, but it’s important to make time to check in with each other, address questions and concerns either of you might have, hang out and play and enjoy each other’s company. You can’t take your spouse or your relationship for granted.
You will both be required to make a lot of compromises. This is not to say that either of you should give up on any of the things that are truly important to you (you shouldn’t marry someone who wants you to give up your fondest dreams anyway), but it does mean that you will both have to learn to re-prioritize. In the first year or so of your marriage, you may decide that “go back to school” should be after “buy a house” and “start a family”.
You will fight, or at least argue. This does not necessarily mean that you’re a bad couple or that your marriage is in trouble; there’s just no way that two people who spend that much time together will never ever disagree, particularly after a stressful day. Whether or not you argue is not nearly as important as how you deal with it.
Your lives will not instantly be the way you’d always imagined as soon as you’re married. Somehow, even after we’d been living together for almost a year, some part of my brain was convinced that as soon as we were married we’d have a house, a puppy, a few kids, I’d be able to quit my job and be a mom; but in reality, our day-to-day lives were about the same. There’s a lot of work that goes into building a life together, and it takes time and effort. It can be exhausting and aggravating and can feel like you’re just spinning your wheels in some ways, but at the same time, these are the things that teach you to work as a team, to save and plan with your money, to decide on mutual goals for the future.
You may be overcome by sudden babylust. This is probably not a problem for everyone out there, but before we were married, Phil and I were planning to wait five or six years before starting a family. After being married for about three or four months, however, we were both hit with some sort of biological avalanche and we wanted a baby in a way we had never expected. It could happen to you!!!!
At the end of the day, what it comes down to is simply this; there’s no way to know everything about how marriage works. All you can do is accept the fact that there will be surprises along the way, and don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice when you need it. It may be rough at times, but having that person in your life is so, so worth it.