My wife and I just celebrated our first anniversary. Here is what I’ve learned over the last 365 days.
1. People communicate differently.
My wife and I are working hard to learn how to communicate with each other. She likes to talk things out and I avoid all confrontation. Now she gives me time to gather my thoughts and I have learned to use my voice.
But after almost five years together we still haven’t really figured it out. Actually, we haven’t figured any of this out. You really shouldn’t even be listening to me. Go find someone who has been together for 30 years and and talk to them. I’ll do the same.
That said, this past year has been the most challenging and rewarding of my life, so if you still care what I have to say, please read on.
2. Marriage isn’t always easy. It takes work.
Marriage, a house, and having a responsibility to take care of my family gave me hardcore anxiety. Well, I already had the anxiety, but the added responsibility was the straw that broke the human’s back. It really took away from our marriage because I wasn’t able to be present. It was hard for my wife, at first. But she learned how best to be supportive and there for me and now I think our relationship is better than ever. It also took time for me to realize that I’m not the only one with stress and anxiety. Which leads me to my next point.
3. I had no idea how selfish I was/still am (there is no more I).
I’m sure that I’m not alone here but it was much easier for my wife to think of us as a team and not individuals. It’s not Chris and Kelly anymore. It’s ‘US’ and ‘WE’. What effect does doing X have on our family when we could use the time and/or money on Z. And I like our home to ‘look’ clean. She actually cleans. There is a difference. Note to self: dust and clean the bathroom one time (lots of times).
4. You should still be a little selfish.
That being said, you still need to be a little selfish and do things that make you happy. You still need some alone time and still need to go out with your friends, sans the old ball and chain.
5. You don’t have to agree on everything or have the same beliefs.
My wife and I have slightly different views on faith, money, how many kids we want, even style and fashion. And that’s okay.
6. Don’t stretch yourselves too thin.
Take some time to just chill. Take a nap, binge watch Orange Is The New Black, or just do nothing.
7. You don’t have to give up or turn in your man card.
I feel sad for dudes that just give-up because they’re married. I’m not done partying, traveling, and doing cool shit. In fact, I’m even more excited about those things because I get to do them with my best friend.
8. Sometimes you just need to listen.
As humans, we have the urge to solve problems and really, just to talk. In marriage, or in any relationship, you should listen about 80% of the time. But sometimes we just need to vent.
9. Actions speak louder than words.
Don’t tell her you are going to do it. Do it.
10. To trust and be trusted are amazing feelings.
Don’t fuck it up.
11. Be present and get excited about every moment you get to spend together.
Tonight my wife and I grilled out and had some beers on our patio. It was freaking awesome.
12. Never settle.
Make your life together everything that you want it to be.
13. Say ‘I love you’.
Like, a lot. Things are going to get really freaking tough. Like, WAY harder than either of us can probably imagine. But you know what? The best is yet to come.