Photo by Grace M Moser "First Year of Marriage
Getting married is a wonderful decision, it shows your commitment and faith in the relationship. Dating can be scary; you're either going to marry this person, or you're going to break up with them at some point. So once you've made it to the wedding day, you've finalized your decision. And it's not just about finding the right person for you, it's about being the right person that someone can love.
You've found the one that you want to make happy for the rest of your life. The honeymoon is a wonderful way to start it off, but sometimes you might wonder what the rest of "until death do us part" holds. The future of you two can be intimidating yet exciting, so many unknown adventures await you both. But first you must know about the first year, it is crucial, especially when learning to live and getting to know someone on new grounds.
Some of you may have heard of the five love languages; physical touch, receiving gifts, acts of service, words of affirmation, and quality time. Gary D. Chapman wrote a book on them in 1995, detailing their different attributes and how we can understand them in us and the one we are close to. In the first year of marriage, some of us may experience frustration because we feel like our needs aren't being met. They are so important to realize, otherwise it can be hard to communicate with your partner on your needs. Uncommunicated needs can result in bitterness and frustration, leading you to believe that your significant other doesn't care. Or it can lead you to misinterpreting your partner's love language for neediness.
If you're single, it can be one of the easiest things to deny. In fact, being single is a lot easier than being in a relationship; it means you don't have to work on yourself. In your first year of marriage, you're going to realize that you're not as selfless as you'd like to be. This isn't some ministry that you can attend for a day, then go home and know you did a good deed by handing out food or cleaning the city. It's a day and night job to make sure that you're thinking of your wife or husband and their heart. Whether it's as simple as making a cup of coffee not just for yourself or realizing something is important to your spouse, and then acting upon it. It's all important to have a happy partnership.
If you didn't live with your partner before you got married, than this is something new to get used to. It can be fun, like having a sleep over with your best friend. But it can also be interesting when figuring out each other's sleeping patterns. One of the most common things we can run into is that some of us go to bed early while the other is a night owl, and some of us get up early while the other gets up at twelve. But there are other things that we need to get used to.
Your spouse may wake up at three in the morning and not be able to go back to sleep. You want to be there for them, but you're basically a zombie in your tired wake. Others are light sleepers and wake up easily at the sound of sheets shifting or a cough. It's not always easy, but when you both are able to come to terms with your different sleeping patterns and how to deal with them as a team, it gets a lot easier. If your spouse wakes up before the crack of dawn, they can go into the other room and read as you finish your sleep. If you're a light sleeper, ear plugs might be the answer. But whatever it is, you must communicate so you can work on it together.
Before you got married, when you were just dating, it could be a bit of a hassle to let a guy or girl know you were taken. And then you could feel the awkward tension, knowing they were wondering if you were lying so you could get them off your back. But it's a lot easier when you have a ring on your finger to prove it. Letting other's know you're not on the market is a lot less awkward when you tell them you're married and they can see the band to know you're telling the truth.
Fights About Change
Many of us will feel offended when our partner wants us to change and some of us will say, "why can't you just accept me for who I am?" Now if your partner is never happy with you even though you change things they complain about, then you have reason to get counseling. But claiming that, "I am who I am, why can't you just love me," is unfair and unhealthy.
All of us want the person closest to us to accept and love us. We're faced with so many people in our lives that don't like us for one reason or another, that when our spouse communicates frustration, it can almost feel like an insult or betrayal. Yet saying that you can't change and that this is just you, is not the truth. What if your wife would tease you all the time and make you feel belittled. And when you confronted her on it, she lets you know that she jokes around a lot and she can't change that. Or what if your husband stared at other women and when you asked him not to do it, he said, "Well I'm a guy, we can't help it."
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Changing what hurts or bothers our spouses can be one of the most selfless and loving things we can do. And in our first year of marriage, it can be one of the toughest things to do, but its rewards reap benefits. Fighting can take up so much energy and time, that when you work on yourself and make an effort, you'll realize that those fights just don't happen as often as they used to.