Can you believe it has been a year already!? That's what Brian said to me this morning and he is right, this year just flew by. Lately, I've had a chance to take part in a lot of conversations with my friends about marriage. We all agree that we get so tired of everyone acting like things are perfect or, at the other end of the spectrum, of people getting divorced after only a few months or years. A lot of us younger couples never get to hear much about those who have struggled through things and managed to stay together. Of course, people say "marriage is so hard" but that doesn't help much. Without going in to a lot of detail, I'd like to share a few of the things Brian and I have learned in our first year of marriage.
Dealing with the hard times...
-Don't just think you'll never get divorced, you'll live happily ever after, and that's that. If you had asked me last year if divorce would ever cross my mind I would have said absolutely not unless there was cheating or abuse involved. Let me tell you, I had serious doubts this year that I never saw coming.
-Sure, some couples are "perfect". But I guarantee you, if you open up to your close friends about marriage issues you will find out that many, many couples go through more serious rough patches than you had ever guessed. Our issues paled in comparison to some of the things my friends had gone through, and I felt so much better knowing that a lot of other people have struggled too.
-Fight!! Please, please, just fight! Okay I don't mean scream and yell and definitely don't start slapping. If something is on your mind - tell your spouse. If a topic comes up in conversation and you feel uneasy - let him (or her) know. Don't just let it go and build and build. I used to think all the little spats we have were a sign of a poor relationship. Now I feel like that is all part of working things out. I've seen more than one friend keep everything bottled up and when they finally let it out it was much, much harder to deal with and recover from.
-Don't be afraid to ask for help or advice. It is hard to tell what is going on when you're so involved. Go to a pastor or an older couple and ask for their thoughts. We have avoided discussing our marriage too much with our own parents and friends who might judge just because their opinions might be too biased. ;)
Enjoying the good times...
-We started a new thing a few months ago that I really, really like. Almost every night we turn off the TV and computer, sit down the knitting or paper, and just talk to each other. It sounds silly but we really didn't give each other a lot of undivided attention until we made a point to. Even 5 minutes makes a difference. We just level with each other about how we're feeling and if things are going right or not.
-Do what the other likes. I've sat through a lot of tractor pulls (not that I don't enjoy them but they aren't my first choice for entertainment) and Brian has listened to me ramble on about my garden and my blog. Do what you both like too (for us it's relaxing on the front porch or going to the rodeo).
-Laugh together! I love it how we both try to impersonate a funny thing the cat did that the other person missed. We can't help but laugh when Brian is running around the house in his underwear and cowboy boots with a cookie sheet in hand trying to kill one of our many bat invaders.
-Ask each other's opinion. I am so in awe of Brian sometimes when I expect a smart remark and he gives me a serious, thoughtful response instead. At the same time it feels really good when he says, "What do you think we should do?" and values my feedback.
I think we're more in love than ever. We're truly best friends, and are very well matched. Last night we went out for our anniversary. Brian confessed, "Umm... I still haven't got you anything." Oh thank God!! I had spent the last hour on Google trying to figure out what I could make/buy/do for him since I hadn't thought of anything yet either. We went out to eat and drove past the movie theater on the way home. "I had halfway thought of asking if you wanted to see a movie..." I trailed off. "...yeah, there wasn't much on when I checked earlier and..." he said. "...and I'd really much rather go home and relax" we decided. :)
We have done so much this year besides get married that I think we came through it very well. We've dealt with the barn fire, a lot of family issues that come with buying the home farm, starting a business (farming), fixing up the place, and stretching our budget to the max in order to avoid taking on any debt this year. Oh yeah, and remember I'm trying to learn how to grow and preserve most of our food while Brian runs in five different directions catching runaway cattle and fixing the semi. Maybe the best recommendation would be to live in an apartment the first year (with maybe just a cat), work 1 job each, and go to the grocery store more. ;)
I hope you got something out of this, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on marriage.
P.S. Sorry no "new" wedding pics, I'm trying to dig some up but they're all copyrighted with the photographer so I'll have to ask about that.
Feeling Emotional During Transition
4 hours ago