The First Year


 

It has been a year and a month since our wedding and time has flown by!  When I look back on the year of wedded bliss, I have to admit that, it wasn’t happily ever after all the time.  The fairytales always end at the wedding ceremony and you never get to see what married life is like.  I have read a lot of relationship books, I call them “self-preventative” rather than “self-help” since I haven’t encountered these problems yet, and want to know what to do about it when, or if,  they come up.  Yet, none of these books really helped me understand what it was like to be married, to live on your own and how to balance career and marriage.  No person or book can really prepare you for this new experience.  It was hard at first, but now I’ve grown accustomed to the changes and am so glad that I have been blessed with this life.

I am not sure if my first year of marriage is common, but I don’t think I’m alone.  The first couple months of marriage was bliss.  We finally got to live together, no more late night drives home, or phone calls.  We started to plan our life and though I hadn’t started work yet, we were confident that once I was bringing home a pay check all would be well in the world. “It was a carefree time, where two people can pretty much do what they like” to borrow from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book “The First Four Years”.

Flash forward to months 3 and 4 and realizing… hmm it’s expensive to live on your own.  Neither of us had ever lived on our own, so we were pretty shocked about how much things cost and that there were now a mountain of bills every month.  I was also in the first two months of teaching and finding it pretty stressful.  It’s amazing how different a career is than just a 9-5 job paying your way through college.  I was spending 60-80 hours a week lesson planning, marking, and coaching volleyball.  It was overwhelming.

Months 5 & 6 were a little better.  I was getting used to the teaching routine, and the domestic routine.  Christmas was also a special time for us.  We both had our own Christmas traditions growing up, but we wanted to create one that was all our own.  So we went and cut down our Christmas tree, which neither of us had ever done before.  Of course we picked a giant tree, not realizing they look a lot smaller outside.  So we had fun fitting our 9′ Christmas tree into our tiny townhouse.  We also had no money this Christmas and had minimal gifts, but it was still my best Christmas to date.

Months 7-9 was another up and down time for us.  We were both super consumed with coaching basketball, which left little time for ourselves.  It was also around this time that DH was getting really frustrated with his job, the amount of work he was doing, for little pay, and the long distance commute.  I was also starting to freak out about what we were going to do in the summer, since I don’t get paid, and we had not started saving yet.  Yes, the spring was a stressful time.  They weren’t kidding in marriage prep when they said finances was the number one reason people fight.

Moving along to months 10-12 was the point where everything just started to click. We had become familiar with each others habits, finally accustomed to all the domestic chores and learned some of the tricks to having a successful marriage.  It was also around this time that DH quit his job and embarked on his own.  You would think that this would have put more stress and strain on our marriage, but I think it actually made it better.  Finally, it felt like we were going somewhere, like we had righted the ship and the wind was hitting our sails just right.  We were doing a better job with our finances, communicating more and even making more money. I was also, at this time, realizing that I didn’t hate the laundry, that I didn’t mind cleaning as much as I used to.  Now, that he was working so hard to make a life for us, I was beginning to see the value of my role as a wife.  I found that I preferred to be in this traditional role than this modern role I was trying to be.

When friends tell me that marriage is easy, a breeze I don’t get jealous anymore, because I really believe that working at something just makes it more valuable in the end.

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4 Responses to The First Year

  1. sarah says:

    Love this! Our first anniversary is coming up, and I may need to write up something similar. It’s amazing what happens in the course of a year. 🙂 Btw, i totally agree that no book can fully prepare you for married life (and this is from a “Marriage Editor” who has read a LOT of books about marriage! :)). I also agree that working at marriage is worth it. 🙂

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  2. Rae says:

    I got stressed just reading this! Our first year (two years, actually) of marriage was really stressful financially. And I can only imagine how horrible it would have been had we not each lived on our own and dealt with the expenses ahead of time (for all practical purposes we merged finances almost a year before getting married, even though we didn’t actually live together, so there wasn’t much of a financial transition–but being engaged was really hard too because of finances along with other things).

    Things actually improved for us both when I got a better job and he got to the point of doing housework because he saw it needed to be done, not because I was asking for help. But even though our situations are somewhat reversed, I completely understand the peace that comes with finding what works for you rather than what you might have thought would work going into marriage. I hope that things keep getting better for you!

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  3. Elise says:

    Thanks for your insight Rae! I guess the one positive, about being stressed over finances, is that you’re not ignoring the problem. So many people I know just ignore their finances completely, until they have run out of credit, or they have no idea what is going on, because they leave it all to one spouse. They may be living stress free, but eventually that might turn into an overwhelming stress when they finally are forced to look at their finances.

    Even though its stressful to talk about our finances, its helps me, to be reminded of where we are trying to go, and after we are done talking about where we are, it motivates me to try harder. If we don’t talk about it, I’m more prone to think everything is fine and don’t think about how much I’m spending.

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