Wednesday, October 29, 2014

10 Things I've Learned in Our First Year of Marriage

1. Make plans and throw them out the window.
For example: the much longer, less ideal labor we experienced last week and celebrating our first anniversary in sweatpants and a newborn baby for a shirt.

2. Consider his dreams and chase them together.
Daniel is GREAT at this--he's always encouraging me in my goals and offering to help in any way he can.  Without him, this blog and photo business wouldn't exist--he constantly reminds me to keep a "What's the worst that could happen?" attitude about putting myself out there, which isn't always in my nature.  He has no interest in writing or photography, but because he has an interest in me, he invests himself in it and cheers me on.

3. Take opportunities to miss each other.
Daniel and I spent a few nights/weekends apart this past year when one of us was traveling for work.  Even though there are many nights we don't even touch (hey, I've been pregnant all year and not always feeling super cuddly), I found it incredibly hard to fall asleep without him. At the beginning of the year I'd try to talk myself out of missing him--"Married or not, I'm still an independent woman!" Blah blah blah. I eventually realized giving in to pining after my husband made me stop, reflect, and appreciate him and our life together so that when we saw each other again I was excited and affectionate rather than coldly self-sufficient. 

4. Kiss hello and goodbye.
Every morning when Daniel leaves he leans over our bed to kiss me. He's had a crazy busy year at work and could easily let that consume him, but this small gesture makes me feel like he's still mindful of putting me first.  Because of that, I try to be downstairs and undistracted when he gets home so I can open my arms and ears to show appreciation for his work ethic and that I missed him throughout the day.

5. Throw away your expectations.
This one. This one is my struggle.  Daniel could book us a trip around the world for my birthday, but if I was hoping for fresh flowers, I'd act disappointed.  Get rid of your rule book on how your spouse should love/surprise you and just be together.  If he does something out of the ordinary to express his love, great! If not, don't punish him--instead, appreciate how he takes care of you on a daily basis and keep his love languages in mind, too.  He might be putting in more effort than you realize.

6. Keep learning.
You may live together, but you don't know all there is to know about your spouse. Don't let yourself get bored, because there's no reason to--ask lots of questions and try new things together.  Lately Daniel and I have been doing a lot more childhood storytelling--having Edie here and dreaming about experiences we'd like to give her is making us reflect a lot. And it's fun! I love learning about the experiences that made my husband the man he is.

7. Hug/kiss/touch after an argument.
You may not want to (I usually don't), but it works--I promise.

8. Be needy.
Everyone likes to feel like an expert on something, I think.  Don't try to do something your spouse is better at by yourself.  I don't know how many times Daniel has asked me, "Why didn't you ask for my help?"  after I failed at a project.  We all want to feel needed, and working on something together reminds us that we're on the same team.

9. Budget for the unexpected.
Again--a baby, for example. Or your kitchen plumbing getting backed up two days before your due date.

10. Remember who made your spouse.
Before you let yourself think your husband is pretty much the worst/most annoying human being on the planet (I mean, how dare he leave a few pieces of cereal in the sink? He obviously did it just to show how little he appreciates you cleaning the kitchen when he was at work!), remember whose he is and the vows you made between the three of you.  Is it worth it?

Cheers to year two and fighting to keep the newlywed feelings alive! 


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