Updated: Sep 12, 2020
This week, my husband and I celebrated our first anniversary. In some ways, it feels like this first year has flown by, and yet so much has happened.
We’ve been through job changes, getting settled in our new home, a worldwide pandemic, the first two-thirds of our first pregnancy, and so much more. And I’ve learned a lot along the way.
Marriage is not exactly how I expected it would be. It is far different, far harder, and far more wonderful.
Here are the main lessons it has taught me so far.
Normal is Relative.
Before getting married, I thought of certain things being “normal” and pretty widely accepted to be as such. I had an idea of how clean the house should be kept, what time dinner should be, what spouses should expect of one another, who should do which chores, etc.
Looking back on it now, I can see it was pretty narrow-minded of me to think that just because I had a certain standard or expectation, that my husband should have the exact same one. Different people have different “normals.” They have different ideals, based on how they were raised and what they’ve experienced.
The same applies with spouses. After all, we are two unique individuals with unique experiences. We have different “normals,” and that’s okay. It takes time to work out which ones we should adapt as a couple, and which we should get rid of altogether.
Marriage Will Not Fix Your Problems Or Make You Happy.
If I’ve discovered anything in this first year of being married, it’s that marriage is not a solution to any problems you may have. It will not get rid of low self esteem, anxiety, distrust, or any other such challenges that you had previously.
It’s too much to expect a marriage to solve all of your problems. It just won’t. Instead, marriage revals your imperfections like a mirror. You see all of your problems even more clearly than before, and that can be a good thing that leads you to address those problems you used to just sweep under the rug.
I’ve found myself confronting ghosts from my past in this first year of marriage, and it has been hard. Being married in and of itself does not make you happy. I had to learn that if I want true happiness, I have to seek it out for myself.
This is still a work in progress for me, but it is getting better everyday. Happiness is something that comes from within yourself, that you pour into your marriage, and not something you suck from the marriage itself.
It’s Not About Who’s Right.
I’ve learned in this first year that being right doesn’t really matter. “Right” is kind of like “normal” - it’s relative to each person’s individual opinions. Arguing just to prove that you are right is futile in a marriage.
What matters more than being “right” is being understanding, seeing things from your partner’s point of view. This will help facilitate problem solving and real solutions or compromises, rather than wasting time trying to prove your rightness.
You Will Both Grow and Change.
I am not the same person today that my husband married a year ago. He is not the same man I married, either. We are both constantly growing and changing.
And that is okay. Actually, it’s good. We know we are not becoming stagnant or stuck in our ways if we are progressing, evolving, striving to be better.
I can’t predict how my husband will continue to change, and he cannot predict that for me. However, if we remain close, sharing our new discoveries and victories with one another, we will grow closer together rather than further apart.
New Seasons Of Life Will Reveal New Aspects Of Each Of You.
Along the same lines of continuous growth, new seasons of life will bring out characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses that we never knew we even had before.
Since getting pregnant, I have seen my husband step up and provide in amazing ways I never expected. As we become parents in the near future, we will both come into our roles differently, revealing parts of our personalities that haven’t yet had a chance to shine.
It is exciting to think of all the many stages of life ahead of us, and all we’ll continue to learn about ourselves and each other as we go.
Remember You’re On The Same Team.
Even when those challenging days have come (and there have been a few), I’ve learned that fighting against my husband is ultimately counterproductive. After all, we’re on the same team.
It doesn't make sense for one teammate to bring down another, because that will only hurt the team’s chances of winning the game. In the same way, if I try to prove my husband wrong or make him feel bad about something, I’m hurting us both as a unit. That's not at all what I want.
At the end of the day, I want us both to be happy and build a beautiful life together. That’s what he wants, too. Keeping this in mind will help me to avoid repeating mistakes I’ve made in this first year.
It’s Hard, But It’s Worth It.
Marriage certainly has not been easy. It has been difficult, trying, frustrating at times. It has also been more than worth it. I have felt more love and fulfillment in this past year than I had in my entire life beforehand.
I know that the challenges will continue to come. But I also know that our marriage is strong. We will continue to choose one another everyday, for the rest of our lives. This year was just the very beginning. We have a lot more to learn, and so much more to look forward to.
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