It’s hard to believe this time last year I was starving myself to look good in my wedding dress, having nightmares about all of the things that could possibly go wrong, worrying about my wedding night, reviewing every detail over and over again.
Now a whole year later, I’m thinking about so many other things: when is the best time to buy a house, how in the world do you even begin to do so? When are we having kids? What does our health insurance cover? How do I build my credit score?
Honestly, I miss the days of stressing over whether or not an updo better suited my veil.
We’ve all heard that the first year of marriage is the hardest and I don’t doubt for a second that’s 148% a fact. This year has had more twists and turns, peaks and valleys than every ride at Adventureland combined.
It’s hard combining two completely separate lives into one balanced life. There are so many decisions to make, only now you have to decide everything as a team instead of just doing whatever you darn well please without any hesitation. There are many things that need to be done, only now you have to do them together OR decide who does what. Between household chores and money management and vehicle maintenance and family engagements- it’s a lot to get used to.
So what would be more fun than to share with all of you newly and nearlyweds what I’ve learned and struggled with during my first year as Mrs. Chapman:
Holidays are different, and difficult
Every holiday gets to be “our first (insert holiday here)” which is exciting! Making memories together and attempting to start our own traditions was the best part. Whether it was watching Christmas movies and drinking hot chocolate or midnight pie on Thanksgiving, there is something so special about starting traditions on your own.
It wasn’t always candy canes and parades, unfortunately. I have a relatively large family and I’m a child of divorce, so the holidays have always been tricky schedule wise; adding in a whole new family only makes it trickier. It’s hard deciding which family traditions will be upheld and which will be compromised. It’s hard to keep both of our families happy and not hurt anyone’s feelings when setting our holiday schedule, I’m hoping this issue gets easier in the coming years.
Married or not, people STILL talk
Maybe it’s my age, or maybe it’s my imagination- but I’m always amazed by the way some people view us and how they treat us.
“Married? How old are you?” Oh if I had a nickel. I apologize for being five foot two and having the round,but adorable, cheeks of a child, but I am old enough to vote and get a tattoo.
People look at us like we’re just a couple of teenagers and treat us like we have no idea what we’re doing. In my opinion, we’ve done pretty well for ourselves over the past year. I’m not bragging, but I’m proud of how well we’ve done on our own.
We pay all of our bills, we have yet to borrow a dime from anyone-including our parents, we bought a vehicle on our own. Thank you very much for your concern but really-no, realllllllly-we’re doing just fine! I promise.
Adventure is key
The happiest moments we’ve had since “I Do” have been spent exploring or just driving without a destination. We didn’t go on any fancy vacations, we never boarded a plane but we walked on new trails, got lost on new roads, ate at new places. I can’t think of many things I love more than spending the day out of the house and lost with my husband.
Whether it was shopping at the antique mall in Story City, getting locked out of our cabin near Decorah, battling snow on our way home from the Mall of America- we managed to have more fun than I’ve ever had on a beach.
Little things are the big things
You’ve probably heard this before, if so it’s because it’s true. Love notes and surprise iced coffee are sometimes the only things that can get me through the week. Morning kisses, lunch break phone calls, praying together before bed; these are the little things that strengthen us and our relationship, daily.
Don’t stop dating
We’ve been practicing Friday night date nights since we first got together and it’s still my favorite weekly tradition.
For a while this year John was working second shift and not getting off of work until eleven, therefore date night suffered. John was exhausted from a long day’s work, Saturday nights somehow weren’t the same. We tried desperately to find another way, everything including midnight takeout and at home movie dates but it just wasn’t working. Date night was our time to let loose and talk about stuff other than work and plans, it was our time to have fun. It took a toll on us to go without it.
When John returned to first shift we not only had a newfound appreciation for our Friday night dates, but a deeper appreciation for the time we get just to spend with each other.
Marriage is a job
It’s a hard, rewarding job, it’s a full time job with mandatory overtime and great benefits.
Sometimes you feel like you want to quit, sometimes your coworker pushes every single button you have. There are days the two of you can’t work together at all, shoot, you can hardly be near each other. And you know what? That’s okay.
The other times you get to spend laughing at each other’s stupid jokes, talking about the future with excitement, cuddling and just being together. There are times you are so blissfully happy that you can’t think about anything else. There are those times you catch them looking at you the way the did on your first date. There are times when you finish each other’s sentence or communicate without a single word.
Those hard times never measure up to the good ones. The feelings of can we really do this, never beat the feelings of “we are actually pretty good at this marriage thing”.
Overall I think the theme of our first year was simply this:
It takes a lot more than love and laughter to make a marriage work, but boy, do those two things make it easier.
Tell me about your first year.
Stay Tuned for the next installment of the List Project.