All photos taken by my sister Chas.
As wedding season comes to a close, & many newlyweds are starting to settle into their first year of marital bliss, I thought I would take the time to write a little post on How to Survive Your First Year of Marriage.
Because lets be honest newlywed bliss doesn’t exist.
Marriage takes love, faith, & a whole lot of work.
And no matter how long you dated, or prepared for marriage, nothing can truly prepare you for marriage.
During our first year & a half we worked really hard on our marriage & even though we have only been married about 3 & 1/2 years we already see a night & day difference in our marriage & are reaping the benefits!
So here are 11 things that helped us survive our first year of marriage & that I hope will help you too!
1. Keep Your Marriage Private
I know how easy it is to vent & I know it can even be therapeutic for some women, but the truth is that it can also be very damaging to your marriage.
Your husband trusts you (Proverbs 31:11), deeply trusts you.
You are not only his confidant but his greatest supporter & defender & he needs to know that he can trust you with all & in all.
Trust can be so easily & quickly lost during idle chit chat & venting. Even if you think what you said behind closed doors won’t reach him you are breaking his trust.
Respect is so very important to men & to God (Ephesians 5:33) & by keeping our marriages private we are not only respecting our husband but showing others that they should respect him as well (Proverbs 31:23).
2. Communicate with Your Husband & God
If you have a problem or an issue it isn’t going to be resolved by talking about it with others. The problem will only be resolved through prayer & discussion with your husband.
If you need to vent or calm down before talking to your husband, instead of going to your friends or family why not try journaling, better yet, a prayer journal.
Pour your heart out to your best friend & Father. Ask for guidance, a pure heart, clear mind, understanding, & selflessness. He will give you the peace, comfort, & strength you need to resolve any problem that might arise in your marriage.
As many of you know, over the last few year I have been working on not bottling things up & learning to communicate better. I even have a whole post about communication & Arguing with an End Goal.
And one more really important thing about communicating, it’s not just for when there is a problem. It’s important to regularly & genuinely uplift your husband, especially in his love language.
3. Take the Time to Understand
Of course your marriage is not one sided. Once you have calmly opened your heart to your husband, don’t forget to take the time to listen & understand him too.
No matter how masculine or brave your husband is, he still desires to be loved, cherished, & respected. He has his own unique & individual needs & wants, just like you!
If you both take the time to listen & understand one another love & trust will naturally grow in your marriage.
4. Date Your Spouse
On a lighter note one of the simplest ways to stay connected, that will naturally bring about a desire to talk & listen to each others deepest needs, is by dating!
Although Roger & I do enjoy the traditional dinner & a movie we often find ourselves turning everything into a date!
Some of our most random (& crazy fun) dates have included hoping in the car (on a late Saturday night after watching a movie or two) & driving to a local McDonald’s in our pjs to split a hot fudge sunday.
Dating your husband doesn’t have to be a big, extravagant, or expensive ordeal. It’s simply about taking the time out of your busy lives to reconnect & remember your love.
ps Here are 50 fun fall date ideas to enjoy this fall!
5. Disconnect & Reconnect
In an age when we as humans are connected more than ever before, it is a sad realization to discover how truly disconnected we are. We can go to dinner, watch a movie, go on a walk, & be connected with everyone & everything & yet nothing at all.
So while dating your spouse is great, unless you are able to disconnect from all the distractions it will be impossible for you to reconnect with your husband.
But believe me when I say, I am preaching to the choir on this one.
This is probably the most difficult for me. I love you all so much & I love to stay connected with you, but I love my husband more.
And even though my heart knows the truth, I must continually remind my mind to allow my heart to direct my actions.
6. Begin & End the Day in Prayer
The power & peace that comes from beginning & ending each day with prayer is beyond words.
Before we started dating we prayed, through our entire dating relationship we prayed, & as we grew closer we would even end each night on the phone in prayer.
And in marriage we have continued this special tradition, except now we get to pray together in bed. Oh the perks of marriage!
We also begin our morning together in prayer before Roger leaves for the morning.
My connection & relationship with my husband has grown deeper & stronger over the years simply through the gift of prayer.
7. Learn Selflessness
One of the biggest lessons I learned during my first year of marriage was selflessness. Now I’m not saying I’m completely selfless now, but boy was there a steep learning curve for me during our first year of marriage.
I spent many a night in silent tears wondering what was wrong. Wrong with me, wrong with my husband, wrong with our marriage.
But learning selflessness wasn’t easy & is a continual battle for me, especially when I don’t keep my priorities straight.
And only true love can come from selflessness.
(1 Peter 4:8)
8. Keep Your Priorities Straight
I can try with all of my heart to put my husband first, but I know that without God it is impossible.
I must daily surrender myself & my marriage to God & ask Him to come into my heart & mind.
When I put God on the back burner of my life I can clearly see everything else in my life begin to crumble. Usually it’s a slow fade & I don’t eve realize it until I have created a huge mess.
However, when I continually put God first & foremost in my life I can clearly see the beauty in my marriage as it blossoms in God’s loving care.
9. Read Together
One of the many things my husband & I did together that greatly enhanced our marriage was to read together.
While my husband has never been a bookworm like me (huge understatement) he has always enjoyed listening to me read.
Of course the best book to read together is the Bible.
Another book that greatly strengthened our first year of marriage was Redeeming Love. This book gave us a little peak into God’s love for us & how we should love each other with God’s love. (ps. I also have a little book review here)
Sharing finances for the first time isn’t going to be easy, especially if one of you is a saver while the other is a spender.
So don’t let finacies become the elephant in the room.
Talk it over. Make a plan. Stick to your plan.
If you have need or concern, take some time at the beginning of each month to go over last months successes & struggles & to remind yourselves of your financial goals.
But don’t let it monopolize your every thought & conversation.
Stay open through communication (#2) & remain united as one (Genesis 2:24).
11. Partnership for Eternity
Remember, you are now one flesh (Mark 10:6-9).
You are one with your husband.
And when you (together you) are one with God not even death shall part you.
So don’t hope to survive your first year of marriage. Learn to thrive.
And as the years pass you can hold to the promise of growing young together for eternity.
With love, G
Therefore a man shall leave his father & his mother & hold fast to his wife,
& they shall become one flesh.
More Confessions from Domestically Blissful