Top 3 Lessons I Learned From the First Year of Marriage

Guest post by Brittany Hawkins

Maybe you just tied the knot, or are thinking of taking the plunge into the wonderful world of marriage.  Or maybe you are a veteran with plenty more lessons learned than where these came from. Either way, here are a few words of advice for any couple no matter what phase of life they are in.

1. Pick Your Battles, Wisely.

The honeymoon phase is over, now the real fun begins! No more mister nice guy…this is a battlefield! Ok, maybe the metaphor is a bit too dramatic, but we all know what comes along with marriage—or any relationship for that matter— conflict.

During and shortly after your honeymoon everything is sugary, sweet, and splendid. “Wow”, you think, “I never thought it would be this easy…and wonderful!” But it doesn’t take long for the first conflict to arise and what do you know, here comes miss EGO.

You both want to be right so badly.  You both want to be the one to make the call.  Whatever it is, just remember, this is the big game now. You are in it for the long haul, and there is no place for mister EGO if you want to go all the way.  The momentary pleasure you get from winning the argument, dominating the debate, or conquering the decision is not worth it!

2. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.

The first year of marriage can surely bring out the dirty habits—if not exposed already—in both of you.  However, as a female this lesson seems to be particularly important. Maybe it’s the fact that there are certain “roles” that we subconsciously think we, as women, must play, or maybe we have an inherent nagging ability that cannot be stifled, or maybe it’s the fact that what seems to be pure laziness really grinds our gears. Whichever way you choose to see it, you do not have to focus on it.  There are so many things in life we can direct our focus towards that we have to be thankful for. For one, it is the fact that we have found that one person who we want to spend the rest of our life with—dirty habits and all.

So, for all the ladies who feel that urge coming on to nag about dirty socks, greasy plates, toilet seats, and beer cans, just take a moment to breathe in and out, count to ten, and remember all the things you love about your husband.  Then suddenly all that other stuff won’t matter.

3. Don’t Expect Change, but Embrace It.

My mother always told me from a very young age, “Women marry men thinking they will change. Men marry women thinking they will not.” I don’t exactly know what point she was trying to make by giving me this piece of information at an age far too young to even be contemplating marriage, but nevertheless it was a quote I have never forgotten.

Now that I am grown and married I have aptly formed my own opinion of why I think this quote is completely absurd and irrelevant.  The real point is: we all change! No matter if we are husband, wife, son, or grandma. It is a part of life.  We should never go into a relationship expecting the other person to change. We should never even allow those negative thoughts to creep into our minds to begin with. Thoughts such as, “I wish he was more…”, or “Why can’t she be…”  These thoughts bring nothing but negative energy into the relationship; which there is no place for, especially in the first year of marriage.

Marriage is about unconditional love and support. “For better or worse”, right? Although you might be surprised, sometimes it doesn’t even take one year of marriage before you begin to see changes in your partner. For many people, entering into the bond of marriage creates a space where that person can feel completely safe, supported, and loved—possibly for the first time in their entire life—which allows their true self to be expressed.  What a beautiful thing!

Brittany Hawkins is a writer for My Wedding Favors and enjoys writing about anything and everything wedding related.

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