In less than 2 weeks, Adam and I will have been married for a year. A whoooole year. Like all newlyweds, we’ve been through a lot this past year. Ups and Downs. Challenges and smooth sailing. Laughter and fights. Celebrations and tears.
Some say the first year is the hardest, but since I have nothing to compare it to, I thought I would make a list of superlatives. Then maybe next year we can see how our list fares…
Easy. Our Honeymoon. 7 days in Jamaica with perfect weather and all the food and fruity drinks you could ever want is hard to beat. It was so nice just to get away after the wedding chaos and just enjoy sunshine and each other.
Most Ridiculous Fight
This is not an easy one to narrow down. When you get married you discover the little things that drive each other crazy and how to “accidentally” do them all. The. Time.
Certainly our most reoccurring ridiculous fight is the shower nozzle. Yep, how Adam turns off the shower without pushing the drain button down, only to have it slam down on it’s own minutes later–sounding much like a gunshot–makes me lose my marbles. Every. Time. Especially when he’s showering early and I’m sleeping. The shower is right on the other side of my head and sure enough, that stupid nozzle slams down, jolting me awake, and we have the same argument. Every. Time. Sure, there are ways to avoid this. But it’s much easier to bicker about it instead.
Favorite Date Night
We’ve had so many incredibly fun date nights. We’ve celebrated with dear friends at their weddings, enjoyed weekends out of town, and even had a blast going to dinner and a movie. We have been blessed over this past year with a lot of quality time together. Probably our favorite date night includes dinner and the comedy club. It’s never a disappointment.
Most Enjoyable Holiday
This we argued about initially because when reviewing the holidays over the past year, Adam included The Ohio State VS. Michigan game. Uh, veto. Not a holiday. But we did agree that our Easter this past year was pretty great. We spent the weekend in Chicago, one of my favorite cities. We stayed right in the heart of downtown, visited with family, and had so much fun. Deep dish pizza, walking till our feet hurt, swanky brunch and watching the Reds beat the Cubs at Wrigley Field made for an incredibly fun Easter weekend.
Most Challenging Roommate Adjustment
Because let’s be honest, I think most of what’s hard about marriage initially is just learning to live together in harmony. Whether you were living alone or with roommates before, sharing a bedroom and a shower and dresser space and a grocery bill with someone changes things. You find out you have odd ways of doing things, and so do they.
For us, sleeping has been our greatest challenge. God bless every one of Adam’s roommates before me. I have NO idea how his college friends didn’t smother him to death with a pillow. Adam has sleep apnea, and bad. And until me, he thought it was “normal” to stop breathing in your sleep 15 or 16 times a night. On top of his crazy snoring, I would wake up to the sound of him gasping for air after he had just quit breathing. Horrifying.
He now wears a sexy, face mask that he loves, which has been an adjustment. He sleeps better, but there’s definitely a learning curve. Apparently I’m the lightest sleeper ever, and I wake up to every noise that mask makes. Especially the one when Adam rips it off in his sleep and it sounds like a gas leak–that one’s my favorite. But we’re learning, and adjusting, and working on being gracious partners, a loving husband and wife, and harmonious roommates. Through thick and thin, through sleepless nights and restful ones…
It will be interesting to see how this one changes over the years, but this year it was most certainly when we signed our life away buying a house. It’s shocking, overwhelming, exciting and terrifying to pick out a place to call your own, write the biggest check you’ve ever written, and take on a mortgage with a 30 year plan. The most we’ve done before this is agreed to a couple thousand dollars and 12 months. Oh the extremes.
All things considered, I’m absolutely glad we made the choices we did. It was the right decision and time for us, and that decision and time is different for everyone. We have a modest house that we’re enjoying adding our own style and flare to. I have no idea how long we will be here, but for now, this is home.
That Thing We Still Can’t Agree On
Our social calendar, and I don’t see this one ever changing. But they say the majority of conflict in marriage doesn’t go away; rather, you just learn to live with it. How much time we spend with friends (and family) is definitely one of those for us. Adam could see people once every 10 days and be happy. Me? How about a lunch date, a walk, and some evening plans with friends…and repeat again tomorrow. We just have different social needs, so we take turns compromising and spending quiet time at home or another dinner out with friends. Give and take.
(And if we’re being honest, I think Adam more than meets me halfway on this one. Bless him.)
Most Positive Change
Since I can’t speak for Adam (although I sometimes try) I can only note the things about myself that I’ve seen change. You simply cannot live through your first year of marriage and remain unchanged. You are not the person you were when you started, and hopefully that’s for the better. You learn a whole new level of sacrificial living. Your routines change. Your priorities shift. You take on things that matter to them and work on making them matter to you, too.
Two of the areas I’ve seen change the most in my life are how I spend money and time.
Adam is a minimalist. When we met, he could fit all the clothing he owned into an overnight bag. Not kidding. I started buying him clothes and shoes, and he would sound like an old man, “Why do I need all those shoes?? You can only wear one at a time.” Oye. So while Adam embraced adding a few dress shirts to his wardrobe, I also made adjustments in the other direction. Instead of seeing charges for Express and Target one after another on my credit card statement, I see reoccurring charges for Kroger and Home Depot. Not that I don’t shop at all, but my personal shopping has dramatically decreased. My priorities have shifted to house and home, and I have learned to spend less money on boots and scarves and other things I probably don’t need or have enough of already.
Time is a hard thing to give up. It feels sacred and cherished and yours to decide how you want to spend it. In marriage (and I’m sure even more-so with kids) time becomes less and less yours. Even spending time cleaning up after another person is an adjustment. When you have roommates, you sometimes do that thing where you pick out the dirty dishes in the sink that are yours, wash those, and walk away feeling like you did “your share.” Or you pick up the stuff in the living room that’s “yours’. Well, in marriage, the “yours” is “ours” and you don’t get to pick and chose.
I’ve enjoyed taking care of the meals, keeping a clean home, and other household chores that bless both of us. However I think it took a good 6 months for me not to point out each and every thing I did around the home or for Adam. Which was annoying, and sorta not the point. It’s still a daily decision to sacrifice time that I feel I could spend doing a dozen other things and clean the bathroom or take out the trash. But when I freely give of my time to my husband and my home, everything feels a little more peaceful. And I like it that way.
Marriage has been a whirlwind. Some things were exactly as I expected they would be and some have completely taken me by surprise. Everyone tells you that you think you know what you’re getting into, but you have no idea…and they’re right. How can you? It’s something totally and completely new, unlike anything you’ve gone through before.
It sands down your rough edges and exposes your ugly spots, yet gives you freedom and space to grow and change and learn and apologize and thrive. Marriage should be a holy and edifying experience, where you taste a bit of heaven on earth.
Whether you’re just starting out, praying for your mate, or celebrating 20 years of faithfulness, may you experience love and forgiveness, freedom and acceptance, respect and admiration, and enjoy all of what God intended for marriage. It’s a wild and beautiful ride.