10 Things I Learned in the First Year of Marriage
Unfortunately, we weren’t one of the lucky couples who defied the statement: The 1st year is the hardest. Fortunately, we are closer than ever and marriage has definitely become easier as our 1-year mark drew nearer. Within the past year, we didn’t experience any typical newlywed events. We didn’t buy a home, adopt a new pet (though I still really want a Blue Russian cat lol), or add a baby Owolabi to the mix. However, we did travel a lot, spend significant quality time with family, and moved further along in our careers.
Though married life so far has had its challenges, I truly have enjoyed having a constant companion, a funny roommate who is also a great cook, and a growth partner. I have learned so much about life and myself during the first year of being married to my husband Jacob. As I continue blogging, I definitely plan to share more married-life chronicles with you all. As for now, here are 10 things I learned in the first year of marriage in no particular order:
1.) Quality time alone is critical and all-inclusive resort vacations are the best!
Now that he works for a start-up company, late hours are the norm. Coupled with growing my blog and meetup group plus our booming social lives, sometimes we slack on creating focused, quality time between just us. After the wedding, we took a honeymoon to Cancun and stayed at Hyatt Zilara. I was so fatigued of making frivolous wedding decisions and important work decisions for more than 12 months. We truly savored being able to just sit still and not have to make any decision beyond what cocktails we wanted to sip on next as we lounged by the pool or ocean. Having a laissez-faire vacation uninterrupted by our busy schedule and constant connectivity was something we felt was much needed. For our 1 year anniversary, we are doing the same, but this time in Cabo!
2.) I’m not an easy person to live with. Yikes!
Though I love spending time with Jacob, sometimes I also just want to be left alone. Like no talking, no touching, no anything. Just me and my thoughts possibly paired with a glass of wine and music to fit my mood— and ya’ll I can be quite moody sometimes. There have been a few times where I’ve even hurt his feelings by being asked to have some alone time. Plus, he literally signed himself up for a lifetime of me stealing the covers at night, freaking out over bugs, using all the hot water, sweating him out of the house so that I could stay warm, and not putting stuff away quickly.
3.) Balancing a blog, career, and a husband is very challenging!
My husband jokes about my blog being my 2nd husband, and I jokingly call it my 2nd job. Behind both of those statements lays a lot of truth. Even if you consider blogging a hobby, blogging is literally a job outside of your day job. Between writing and editing posts, capturing and editing images, promoting on social media, and more, blogging activities can easily add up to 10+ hours a week. Because I sometimes feel like I’m neglecting my husband, I try to get my husband involved with my blog, primarily by taking pictures. I figured this is a great way for me to spend quality time with him and still accomplish blog tasks that need to get done. However, he is not always a willing #instagramhusband. So, back to the drawing board for a new strategy. Lol!
4.) Just because I don’t subscribe to gender-roles, doesn’t mean my marriage will not reflect any traditional gender-roles.
I was originally hesitant to read His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage because I did not want to support a book that subscribes very intensely to gender-roles in marriage. However, the further along in the book I get the more I realize that our marriage does contain some gender-roles, especially when it comes to my marital needs: intimate conversation, non-sexual affection. After the first few months of our marriage, we started making small tweaks suggested by the book after we identified some of our needs. We both agree that within the same month we both started to enjoy marriage more.
5.) Adapting a more minimalist lifestyle without your partner on the same page is practically impossible.
I have a lofty life goal of becoming a black minimalist. However, in my pursuit of this minimalism, I often find Jacob’s wishes and my desired lifestyle in conflict. He holds on to everything and anything that may serve a purpose in the future or has some form of sentimental value from the past. We currently live in a 1920s era flat. So, we don’t have great storage options. While I would love to purge many of the belongings we do have, he would rather get a storage unit before parting with his beloved memorabilia. Our current compromise... the next place we move will have to have lots and lots of storage. Out of sight out of mind, right?
6.) Being married is indeed very different from dating long-term and living together.
People often asked us immediately after getting hitched, “How does it feel to be married?” However, we both felt that we’ve been together for so long and lived together while engaged that not much felt different. As time passed, we both agree that being married feels verrrry different from dating. We both feel more committed to one another, and we feel that commitment each time we introduce each other as “husband” or “wife”— the words just carry more weight, like marriage is serious business ya’ll. Oh! Plus there is also the fact that there is nowhere to go when we are upset with one another. We have to work out our differences! Like divorce is not an option for us, not that any of our issues have been that serious either!
7.) Marriage is giving 100% each to make 200%.
If Jacob is not able to give 100% of himself to our marriage and home, then I need to give 100% plus more and vice versa. We both have careers that are demanding mentally and time-wise. When one of us has to work late, the other takes care of what needs to get done around the house that evening such as cooking dinner. When I have periods of being cranky or feeling down, Jacob compensates by being kinder and making more sweet gestures. If we did not work as a unit to give 200%, our marriage and household will suffer. We agree that we have to overcompensate when one of us is struggling. Basically, this principle is all about mutual support and encouragement.
8.) If you don’t change your name, be prepared to have a mini identity crisis each time you introduce yourself or attend an event.
I didn’t change my name after we got married. Honestly, I don’t know if I will ever change my name. But what I do know is that almost everyone still addresses us as Mr. and Mrs. Owolabi anyway. Because I have been indecisive for so long as to what name I want to assume, if any, I never know what name to give when making reservations or registering for events. Speaking of events… There have been several occasions where Jacob and I attended formal affairs together, and we had to pick up our table assignments at opposite ends of the check-in! Awkward!
9.) I learned to calm the hell down and to let go of control!
I am a very serious person, which is not surprising because I was a very serious child. I want for things to be perfect and I love to feel in control. I am a planner and Jacob likes to go with the flow. For instance, I like to plan vacation itineraries ahead of time, but Jacob is a spur of the moment, flight deal type of guy. Therefore, the build up to vacations he agreed to plan can be stressful for me because I am uncertain of the details: Where we are going? What hotel do we plan to stay at? What activities do we plan to do? Honestly, none of the vacations he planned have turned out to be any less enjoyable because he possibly finalized details as we were getting off the plane. The past year of being married to Jacob has definitely taught me that I need to let loose more and go with the flow. Honestly, I totally am still working on this concept too!
10.) Older married couples will consider you a newlywed for up to 5 years it seems!
There is not much to be said here, but it is true! To veteran married couples, we will always be a newlywed until we pay some more dues. I love it though! Older couples love newlyweds.There are perks to be had and wisdom to be gained! Haha! No complaints here! Lay it on thick!