Kenny and I got married last August. Though I would say the past year has been overwhelmingly blissful, there were perhaps one or two times where things did not go the way I pictured them. Here are a few things I’ve learned in our first year of marriage.
1. Communication is key. See points 2-forever.
2. Sometimes saving money is not the most important thing. So. Most of the worst arguments that Kenny and I had during our first year of marriage was over CHEESE. I know. I’m embarrassed to admit it. It’s just that I rather dislike buying those pricey little bags of cheese shreds so frequently…BUT I’ve learned that our sanity is more important.
3. Making dinner even once a week can be a challenge. Guys. I’d like to tell you that I’m a gourmet cook 5 days out of the week. And Kenny and I are usually pretty good at meal planning. But there are some days when we both get home from working 8 or 9 hours and we look at each other and say “what’s for dinner?” GAH.
4. Cooking for two is incredibly difficult. I come from a family of 6. Recipes are made to serve 4-8. Cooking for two is tricky! Luckily, Kenny likes leftovers. Good man.
5. Grocery shopping for two should involve two people. It’s just more fun that way. Besides, Kenny is way braver than I am when it comes to cooking/eating.
6. Start traditions only if you feel like it. Before we were married, I had all these grand plans of traditions that my husband and I would have (Pinterest does not help with this). So when the holidays rolled around, I was like “AHHH! LET’S MAKE TRADITIONS! I FEEL PRESSURE!” Later, I realized–it doesn’t actually matter. Yes, traditions are fun and great, but it’s okay to let them happen naturally. In fact, the best traditions we have are ones that we sort of accidentally started instead of the ones I basically forced upon us.
7. Be on the same page financially. Kenny and I come from very different backgrounds, and it was something we had to talk over extensively. Now we use this budget to keep track of our income and expenses and it has worked well. It also keeps me accountable to not purchase an entire thrift store’s worth of goodies in any given month.
8. Dream together, out loud, frequently. One of our favorite things to do is think hypothetically and dream together. Ask big questions like “What if?” or “In five years…” or “I wish…” This helps us keep our long term plans and goals aligned and get excited about working towards them.
9. Contentment is a choice. Dreaming is nice, yes, but so is contentment. Some days we look at each other and say, “can you believe this is our life?” but other days we’re grumpy and petty and need gentle reminders that we’ve got it pretty good. No matter how bad any given day is, we’ve got a ton of blessings going for us.
10. Work together. Split up chores (organically, not rigidly). Kenny is more conscientious when it comes to running and unloading the dishwasher, and I’m more inclined to do the dishes than he is. But I love it when he takes the initiative to do something that I normally do, and I make an effort not to count on him to do the chores he normally does, sometimes doing things myself.
11. Find a middle ground when it comes to cleanliness. Mention (gently) when something repeatedly gets on your nerves (like dishes in the sink or shoes lying in the hallway), but overall? We’ve found that neither of us likes being griped at by the other. We both understand our messiness “threshold” if you will and strive to maintain that or better.
12. Pray together. Even though we communicate well, sometimes our deepest longings and fears come out when we pray with each other. And, you know, the couple that “prays together, stays together!” So sorry. I’m wincing at the cheesiness right now.
13. Keep arguments private, especially unresolved ones. Lotsa hurt feelings can happen. It’s nice that both Kenny and I are both introverts that don’t really like talking with other people anyway. ;)
14. Each of us has “veto power.” If Kenny doesn’t like what I write on the blog, for example, I don’t publish it, end of story. He doesn’t have to give a reason. I’ve also requested that he not share certain stories with his parents/my parents/our friends for whatever reason, and he respects that.
15. Curb internet time and do face-to-face activities. We both like to do things in the evening, but we’re often distracted by the internet (SO INTERESTING). I’ll often say after dinner “I’d like 5 minutes of internet time, but then let’s get out and go somewhere.”
16. Put a cap on grumpiness. Both Kenny and I can get a wee bit whiny and we are both amazing at playing the victim. It’s easier for the other person to recognize it than it is for ourselves to recognize it, so sometimes we have to say to each other, “you get 2 more minutes to be grumpy and then you have to stop.” Or I’ll say, “just let me be grumpy about this for 30 more seconds.” By the time either of us says that, we’re usually pretty disgusted with ourselves and over whatever we were whining about in the first place.
ANYWAY. Any one else argue about cheese? Or something else equally unimportant? What did you learn in your first year of marriage? And what things should I brace myself for in years two-through-forever? :)
Photos courtesy of my seester, Sara, who needs a photo blog asap, amiright?