Sunday will be my first wedding anniversary, and it feels like just yesterday I was a major ball of stress, preparing for the happiest day of my life. While I'm definitely not quite yet the authority on marriage (I'll get back to you in 50 years), I have learned a few things during the last year of being a married woman. Here are the top five.
1. The first year isn't really that hard.
It's often been said that the first year of marriage is the hardest, but I have not found that to be true at all. Perhaps it's because my husband and I lived together before we legally bound ourselves to each other, but our relationship hasn't lost it's sheen and I haven't all of a sudden discovered things about him I didn't know before we tied the knot. This isn't to say that there haven't been challenges, but there were challenges when we were dating, and I fully expect challenges for the next eighty years as well. I feel like the couples who struggle the most during the first year are ones who perhaps hadn't lived together, or expected marriage to solve their relationship issues. Because over here? It's been business as usual, and I'll happily take it!
2. I married the right person.
I might still be riding the newlywed wave, but there hasn't been a day that has gone by in the last (almost) 365 when I haven't thanked my lucky stars that I'm married to my husband. He just gets me, and my life in infinitely better because he's in it. I would choose him, everyday, for the rest of my life.
3. It's important to maintain my identity.
I might be a wife, but that is just a piece of the puzzle. My husband is my best friend and honestly, I'd rather be on the couch watching Netflix or a taking a hike with him and our dog more than just about anything, but this year I've realised the importance of not completely erasing my solo identity. I feel like I am a stronger partner when my life doesn't revolve solely around my marriage. Working out, long talks with a friend, writing are things that fill me up. My husband is my everything, but that's not to say I can't have anything else.
4. I'm a crappy "wife" (apparently)
My husband and I recently went to a get together at a friend's house with a few other couples. All of the women congregated in the kitchen, and the guys were drinking beers in front of the TV. When the food was ready, I was caught off guard when all of the other ladies started picking up plates and served their husbands food, and laughed when one of the girls asked me if I was going to "serve" my husband his plate as well. Well, this is what a good wife does, right? I thought to myself as I awkwardly filled a plate for my husband and then sat it down in front of him, all proud. He looked up at me with a "what on earth are you doing?" expression and laughed when I told him all of the other ladies were serving their husbands, so I did it as well.
When it comes to things like cooking, a passion for cleaning (get out of here with that) and other "wifely duties" (whatever the heck those might be), I kind of fail..and that's okay. Luckily I married a guy who happily eats anything I make for him, knows how to man handle a vacuum and enjoys serving himself his own plate of food.
5. The little things matter more than ever.
Grand gestures are wonderful, but I've quickly learned that it's the day to day seemingly insignificant gestures that have the largest impact on our marriage. For example, I love it when my husband comes home with roses, but I also really, really love it when he plugs in my electric toothbrush to charge because he knows I'll forget, thereby preventing me from having a frustrating morning. That, my friends, is romance. I appreciate the small things he does that make my day that much easier. Extravagance has it's place, but true love is revealed in the details. It's all about paying attention.