Thursday, October 6, 2011

One Year Down

Hi all -

Over the last few weeks, I have done many things that I thought to myself, "I should blog about this." But, alas, I have not blogged about any of them. Sometimes I feel caught in a pickle - do I let life get in the way of blogging (therefore, not posting for awhile) or do I let blogging get in the way of life? Hmmm...we'll let the philosopher types mull it over. In the mean time, I'll just say sorry for keeping you all waiting to hear more about my mostly mundane, sometimes eventful life. :)

The biggest thing that has happened over the past few weeks is that Brad and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Sometimes it feels as though time has just flown by and other days, it feels like I can't remember my life before we got married. For our first anniversary, we kept it low key. We had dinner at the Upstream, watched a movie at home and ate a slice of cake from the store (since the top of our cake wasn't kept for us!)

Over the last 12 months, we have had our ups and downs. I've laughed, cried, thrown fits, thrown dishes, been blissfully happy and slightly enraged. We jam packed a lot of feelings, learning experiences, and love into the last 12 months. Overall, I'm happy and totally love.

Now, I do not claim to be a marriage expert, but I do feel like Brad and I have learned a lot this first year. So, is this a doctoral thesis on marriage? No. But it is the random list of advice that came to my head when I thought about what I'd tell a girl who's about to get married. :)

I can't believe this has been over a year ago...
1) Show your husband respect, (even if he's not acting respectable). I never realized how even the most seemingly insignificant behavior or words, could tear my husband down. In a book called Love & Respect, it talks a lot about a man's deep need to be respected. You can love a man all you want - love him to death, but if you don't respect him, it's all null and void. I used to say that I couldn't stand those women who talked down to their husbands in public...but doing it in private is just as damaging. If/when your husband isn't acting respectable, treating him with disrespect won't remedy the problem. It will only make it worse. 

2) Space is okay. In the first few months of marriage, I thought that if Brad needed time away from me, that meant that he....didn't love me/didn't want me/wasn't happy/etc.... Space is good. I need it, but I never thought that Brad needed it too. A dear friend wrote in our wedding card, "When you're in a disagreement and it starts to escalate, take a 20 minute break. Come back together to discuss it again. If it escalates again, take another 20 minute break. Take 20 minute breaks until you can find a solution without yelling, name-callling, or disrespectful behavior. It won't be easy (my husband and I took 20 minute breaks for 3 days straight one time), but it saves a lot of feelings from getting hurt." We don't use this method to the "t," but the concept is one that we have benefited from.

3) Make time to relax and have fun. Brad and I found that we were so busy and always tired. Before we got married, I had taken a second job to help pay for the wedding. After the wedding, I had planned to quit, but then it was the holidays and I thought I could use the money to pay for gifts, etc. It's a vicious cycle and you seem to always "need the extra money." We argued more often and let a lot of things get away from us. Once I quit my second job, we learned to say "no" to a few things and we carved out specific time every week to spend together, we got along so much better.

4) Whenever you think about how much you love your spouse, tell them. Brad does this a lot for me and I try to do it to him as well. I have gotten several cards over the last week from Brad "just because."

5) Surround yourself with people that support marriage. Sometimes people with negative views towards marriage (or just differing views) tend to insert their opinion into YOUR marriage. It's uncalled for, and quite frankly, very rude. Those people need to be drop-kicked in my opinion. Anyways, make sure that the people you're talking to are actually safe to talk to about your marriage and that they understand your commitment. Stop people from saying disrespectful things or things that tear down your spouse.

6) Flirt often. This is just fun and builds confidence. Enough said.

7) Consider your spouse's background. Often times, when your spouse is really upset, but it seems odd to you or like an overreaction, it usually has something to do with their background. Brad and I found that talking about our childhoods, past relationships, etc, helped us to understand where our sensitivities lie. Before getting frustrated, consider trying to understand what in their past could be contributing to this overreaction.

8) "Counseling" isn't a curse word. I'm not ashamed to say that Brad and I have seen a professional counselor together. We went originally as a supplement to our pre-marital counseling, but it turned into one of the BEST things we've ever done. It sort of couples with number 7 in learning much more about your partner's triggers and the best way to communicate. I dare say that Brad and my marriage would be much much different, and a lot less enjoyable, had we never gone to counseling.

9) "Don't go to bed in the middle of an argument" is sort of a crock. I was adamant when we first got married that we'd never ever go to bed angry with each other. Maybe in a perfect world that is the goal, but unfortunately Brad and I are human. It happens...and it actually gives a little perspective to arguments when you've had a full night's sleep. I mean, honestly, who is very nice or understanding when they're tired?

10) Don't commit to something without talking to your spouse. Oooooh...this got both Brad and I in trouble on a few occasions. We learned quickly that we are no longer two single people who make solo decisions about scheduling. We are, as the Bible puts it, one. On a couple of occasions, we both committed our night to some event and when we came home, we realized that we'd double booked! We have a calendar on our fridge that we track things on, as well. That definitely helps!

Now to indulge a bit of nostalgia, here are some photos from our wedding day!

Many more cheers to many more years!


  1. Good points! I would second all of your marriage advice. Of course, I AM an expert, since I've been married for two years. ;)

  2. Good advice. We used the same reception hall!