It’s been three years since my husband and I exchanged marriage vows and pretty rings. We said “I do” under twinkling lights, outside on a chilly New Year’s Eve. What followed was a glitzy celebration full of champagne, confetti, and popcorn. The whole day, from hair and makeup to the midnight kiss, went by in a flash. Lucky for us, Mel and Tim where there to capture it all in photographs that we frequently go back to. Flipping through our wedding album, I remember what it felt like to wonder what marriage would be like. Many people told me that the first year of marriage would be the hardest; I now know that it doesn’t have to be.
Now, a few years into “til death do us part” and I know that the first year of marriage was not the hardest, at least not for us. I think the success of our first year was due, in part, to communication. It may be cliché to say, but good communication really is key when it comes to successful relationships. Need some help opening up? Try flipping through a good book. Blake and I read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman when we were engaged. It really helped us to better understand how the other person expresses love, and how to better communicate with each other.
Get a hobby.
One of the best pieces of marriage advice I’ve ever received was to always have something to do together. Find something you both have an interest in, and make it your thing to do together. In our first year of marriage, we bought a condo, gutted it, and remodeled it from the flooring up all by ourselves. It was a lot of work and stressful at times, but with each finished project our teamwork paid off. Not all bonding activities need to be big projects. Lately, we’ve been reading a book about happy families and working on trying some of the techniques at home. Whether it’s home improvement projects, training for a marathon, or putting together a piece puzzle, having a common interest or goal to work toward together can help you bond.
Work on intimacy.
Things may be hot and heavy during the honeymoon, but for many couples the post-wedding libido eventually fades. Lasting marriages take work, and so does the intimacy of said marriages. When the honeymoon phase is long gone, work together to keep the romance alive. Schedule bi-weekly or monthly date nights to spend quality time together, and I’m not talking about “Netflix and chill”. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try new things in between the sheets. Remember to show each other simple acts of affection every day, such as kissing each other with every greeting, holding hands, or cuddling on the couch.
Looking back on our lives together so far, Blake and I have been through some tough times, but our first year as Mr. and Mrs. was not the nightmare it was talked up to be. We took on a serious project with our condo remodel during our first year of marriage and we still didn’t kill each other. If you can put together an entire Ikea kitchen with your significant other without filing for divorce by the end of it, I think I can confidently say that you’re going to be okay. Do your best to keep the flow of communication active, work on keeping your intimate connection strong, and don’t forget to have fun together. Before you know it, you’re first year of marriage will have come and gone, hopefully leaving only happy memories in its wake.
This post was originally written for Mel & Tim Photography’s blog. You can see the original post, and check out their amazing work here.