Everyone would ask “how’s married life going” after we got married. My answer was always “amazing”. Several people have told me that the first year of marriage would be the hardest. I couldn’t disagree more. My first year of marriage truly felt like an extended honeymoon. But the second year?!?! That’s a different story.
Now I only have two full years to bias my opinion on but for me I would say the hardest year was the second. However, my experience was probably different. We dated about two and half years before we got married. And were those years HARD. I mean, REAL HARD. First off, we were across the country from each other which was bad enough. That alone caused enough stress, financially and otherwise. Add in some third party drama and you have a recipe for disaster.
To me THOSE YEARS were the real test. Those years seemed determined to break us. Even through those challenges though, there was never a time where I thought “what the hell am I doing?” (even though my friends probably asked me that!). I knew. I knew he was the one and I knew that even though it was hard if we both fought for our relationship in the end it would be ok and be worth it. So our first year of marriage, it was a breeze! We were finally in the same state, we were finally over all the hurdles of our past. We were finally been able to start our lives together and just BE a “normal” couple.
I don’t know what the second year brought out. I would say that eighty percent of the time our relationship is honestly great. We don’t fight much. But we are both Cancers, so we also don’t like to open up that much either. The other twenty percent is when we work on it. You learn to communicate, you learn to open up, you learn all those little things that make you tick (PLEASE SHUT THE KITCHEN CABINETS), but you also learn what it takes to get past those issues. You learn more about each other.
Not only have I learned a lot more in our second year of our relationship about US, I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned that I talk, A LOT in heated situations. And when I am talking most of the time I am not allowing myself to be a listener. Sometimes I think my husband doesn’t have anything to say. But in reality he probably does but he can’t get a word in. Like everything in life there needs to be a balance so keeping your mouth shut sometimes is a really good lesson (in marriage and in general!).
I have learned you need to pick your battles. The small stuff isn’t the stuff worth fighting over. But when something IS bothering me for more than a few hours, or if I keep coming back to it, I bring it up. What I have realized from our past is if you hold onto something for too long, it builds. And trust me, it doesn’t go away. It comes out in obscure ways. So instead of holding on to pain or anger, let it out, right then and there. Talking about things as they come up allows the couple to discuss and then move on and learn from mistakes that had been made. It’s the same as being present.
I have also learned not to get too comfortable. It’s so easy to get into habit and routine. But what fun is that? In life or relationships? We are constantly trying to do new things. While a Friday night at home cooking in yoga pants with some wine have become a routine, making a point to get out and have “real” dates nights are a priority. You have to do things to keep your relationship interesting. Comfort-ability can lead to boredom and while that is ok sometimes, to be bored overall in a relationship isn’t a good thing. Remember to keep “dating” each other even when married.
What I also learned in this second year is to let each other grow individually and challenge each other. They key there is to be supportive. Both people can grow as individuals but to apply that growth to your relationship is equally important. If one person grows too far in one direction the other person can get left behind causing the marriage to suffer. Being on the same page about personal goals is key. Communication needs to always be in the forefront. I recently had a friend go through a divorce and he told me “don’t EVER stop communicating” that stuck with me.
So was the second year of marriage as easy as the first? For me no. Was it a bad year of marriage? Absolutely not! It was still great, it was just different. When I look back at next year I will probably say the same thing reflecting on our third year of marriage. I have learned that these lessons can be applied to any relationship, romantic or not. Here’s to never ending communication, growth, spark and truly staying present – with someone else, or yourself for that matter. Happy Anniversary Baby!
These are some of my favorites from the past year: