What I Learned in My First Year of Marriage

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first year of marriage

Last weekend, Heath and I celebrated our one year anniversary by attending the wedding of his high school best friend. Since we ended up getting married on Memorial Day Weekend, we joked about how we will always have a three day weekend for our anniversary, plus the opportunity to attend friend’s weddings. (It didn’t pour down rain on their wedding day, in case you were wondering. That was reserved for our special day.)

When we found our table at the reception, I noticed small books lying near the centerpiece. Inside, there were questions for us to answer, such as: how to be a good husband or what’s the best time to kiss or where’s the most romantic place for us to travel.

I loved their idea to put these booklets on the tables, because I found that I had so much advice to share. There are so many things about life and marriage that I didn’t know one short year ago as a newlywed.

I didn’t know Heath talked in his sleep.

I didn’t know that Heath thought marriage meant he could eat food off my plate.

I didn’t know how we would handle driving. Would he always drive us places like my dad does, or would he expect me to drive? Is it anti-feminist if I assume he will drive us anywhere? And if he automatically walks to the driver side, should I protest and insist that I take the wheel?

No one ever teaches you these little things, but it’s usually the little things that cause the biggest fights. You recall the GPS debacle, don’t you?

In pre-marital counseling–which I highly recommend to everyone who is engaged–we talked about the big things like finances, family relations, even about our plans to travel the country. It made a huge difference in the trajectory of our first year of marriage, and saved us hours worth of fights.

But once we were living together, full-time, working together, full-time, never ever able to escape each other in our 29-foot RV, well, I learned a lot about marriage to say the least. The biggest lesson I learned in my first year of marriage was simply how to live together.

There are a lot of facets to living together. Cooking, cleaning, maintenance, sleep schedules, allergies, your husband constantly begging you for a dog even though he agrees that it makes no physical or financial sense to buy one but that doesn’t stop him from asking anyway.

We took a housekeeping questionnaire in our pre-marital counseling book where you work through a long list of housekeeping duties. Everything from washing the windows, servicing the car, taking the kids to school, returning missed phone calls, and sorting the mail. We worked through this four-page list together and discussed how we would handle all of these tasks.

We decided that Heath would take out the trash. I would handle finances. We would both fold the laundry and keep the counters clean. I would make the bed and Heath will plan when we eat out.

Unfortunately, we were wrong about a lot of this.

Heath hates taking the trash out every day, but always makes the bed. I always fold and put away the laundry, but Heath keeps the counters clean.

I’m the planner in our relationship, but sometimes no matter how much you plan ahead, life will surprise you. I had no idea that Heath would end up making the bed every morning and Heath didn’t realize that expect him eat dinner’s leftovers for lunch.

This is the beauty of the first year of marriage. You’re always learning something new, learning how to be together, how to live in the same, small space, and adapting every step of the way. The more I reflect on our first year, the more grateful I am that we chose to live in a small RV as opposed to renting a house or apartment in Austin.

In our first year of marriage, we defined how we want our lives to look. We are building the foundation for the rest of marriage.

We are pursuing creative jobs that allow us to pursue our passion.

We are working together all day, so we learn every side of each other.

We are traveling together, encountering the stress of driving, maintenance, and feeling lost.

We are learning how to live with each other, the good and the bad, through thick and through thin.

Our first year of marriage has been the best year of our lives. It was filled with happiness and adventures. We learned who we want to be and how we want to be together. As we get into year two, I’m sure it will be filled with even more joy and more adventures.

You can check out our map to see where and when we’ll be traveling this summer.