In July, it will be my one year anniversary. I am not entirely sure when we "stop" being newlyweds. I have heard that it's when you start having children, or after you've been married for a year, but there are so many days that I feel like I have been married for 10 years and there are other moments where I feel like the past year has just flown by! Either way, I still feel like there are so many things that I am learning about my husband, myself, and our relationship through marriage. I am nowhere near knowing a semblance of what you need to know to have a completely successful marriage, but I have found three ways that have made our transition into marriage much more successful. Those first few months were quite brutal, to be honest. We had to learn all the little nicknack things about each other, whether positive or negative. And it was interesting, to say the least.
1. Ask Your Spouse about Their Day.
My husband and I have quite a different schedule than most "typical" couples, if you will. He works from home and goes to school a couple of hours every day. I work about 50-60 hour weeks as a 6th grade teacher. He is the one who starts the laundry, does a lot of the cooking and cleaning. It definitely changes the dynamic of our household with this routine, but it works for us and we like it. Something that I have found that works for our marriage is that, no matter how hard of a day at school it was, no matter how tired I am, is to ask Tanner about his day. To take a moment and just listen to his day and vice versa. It is nice to get to vent and talk to someone who truly cares.
2. Set Your Expectations.
This one is HUGE for us. At the beginning of our marriage, I had all of these expectations and when he wouldn't do them, I would get frustrated. But I found that when I sat down and explained what my expectations were, whether for cleaning or how to clean or how to set the table, etc. it made things so much more pleasant. For both of us :)
3. Travel Together.
Now, we don't have a ton of money, and ideally, if you can go somewhere far with your spouse or loved one, I think that is a huge bonding experience. (Thailand? Sure! That's where Tanner and I are planning on going next summer!) But something I found that strengthened our relationship is going on little trips together. Whether that was just to California for a few days or St. George, etc. You see how that person responds under stress and you get closer and out of your comfort zone.
I am nowhere near perfect, but I do know that these three things have helped us. Go on--try it out!