4 Lessons from the First Year of Marriage

Dan and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary last month with a romantic dinner at a French restaurant in Brooklyn Heights. Just like the day of our wedding, everything was perfect. The food was exquisite, the wine was sweet like my taste buds prefer and the dessert made me forget all about my caloric budget. We exchanged gifts and marveled at what an eventful first year we had together. Our anniversary really got me thinking about all the things we learned about ourselves and each other within only a year’s time. And that’s when I started to think about the lessons I’ve learned about relationships and marriage. I share them with you here.

  1. Couples who work out together stay together. I’m so glad I found someone who is as into fitness as I am. We work out together all the time. Well, not really together.  Every time I’m working out in the living room, he works out in the bedroom. Well, that doesn’t really happen much… anymore. I still work out every day but sometimes he isn’t even able to work out at all…  Hmmm…leisure walking is a workout, right? It is! Yay! Then that’s what we do every morning together—well, not since school started again…   😜
  1. Get used to doing some things yourself so you won’t be such a nag. If your husband has the habit of turning on all the lights in the house even though the sun is shining brightly inside, you don’t have to say anything. Or say your husband decides that he, for some reason, needs ALL of the lights in the apartment on just to get himself a glass of water from the fridge and then retreats back into the bedroom without turning off any of the lights.  What will nagging solve? Simply turn off the lights yourself when he’s left the room, no matter how often this occurs. And if your wife has the habit of leaving her laptop, her purse, her books, her papers, her headphones and her chargers on the living room couch when all you want to do is lay down to enjoy a good book, you don’t have to say anything. No! Just move them all somewhere she wouldn’t like them to be placed (like the floor {I have a thing about putting my belongings on the floor}) and forget about it. She’ll think twice next time about being so inconsiderate! Guaranteed!   👍🏽
This pasta fork was the instrument I used to secretly gain access to one of my favorite snacks!
  1. You alone are responsible for controlling your temptations. I’m not quite sure if my addiction to peanut butter is particularly odd. If there’s no peanut butter in the apartment, I am quite fine and I don’t crave it. But once it enters my home, it becomes my obsession! Upon my request, Dan was kind enough to hide the jar of peanut butter in an effort to help keep me from feeling the guilt I’d have once I’ve started inhaling its contents. And I’m not talking about having it with a cracker or with jelly on bread—why waste my time on that? No, this has gone into the territory of ingesting one-third of a 48 ounce jar literally in one sitting with a spoon, as if it’s ice-cream! When I discovered that the jar was hidden in the cupboard way beyond my reach, like a mischievous child sneaking snacks when she knows she’d be in trouble for it, I developed a strategy to easily get to it without having to use a chair. Whenever Dan was not around, I would use a pasta fork to tactically open the cupboard and then carefully reach it inside to gently push the jar out, quickly catching it as it falls out. I perfected this technique until one day… it wasn’t so perfect. I didn’t know what happened! I must have pushed the full jar too hard or too quickly towards me and before I could catch it, it fell directly onto the bridge of my nose! (Just think about how heavy a full jar of PB is!) I dramatically threw the pasta fork down and desperately caressed my nose as if that would help diminish the excruciating pain that I was in.  I frantically ran from the kitchen to find the closest mirror to investigate the damage, half expecting my nose to swell as quickly as it would in a cartoon. To my surprise, my face looked fine but the pain was unbelievable! It should not have been Dan’s responsibility to help me suppress my temptation. He did what I asked him to but once I found it, I should have either told him about my knowledge of it or controlled my temptation. I learned my lesson!! Thank goodness he wasn’t around to witness the pathetic scene!  😜 
  1. Doing things for each other shows how much you care.  It’s not unusual to find peanut butter on the cabinet doors after Dan has finished putting his usual ingredients into his morning smoothie. Yes it bothers me to find this (why is the peanut butter all over his hands to begin with?) but that’s not why I wipe it away for him. It’s clear that he had every intention to take care of it, but of course his mind is focused on way more important things (like consuming his peanut buttery morning beverage), so he simply forgets- I would too!  Wiping the peanut butter off the cabinets makes me as happy as Mrs. Cleaver herself because I am doing it for him, not because I find it absolutely disgusting (after all, PB is delicious, as I’ve alluded to in my previous paragraph). And he- he does some wonderful things for me too. There was one particular evening when I was so exhausted that I couldn’t bother with my usual bedtime routine of washing my face and brushing my teeth. As I said goodnight to Dan, he asked me if I brushed my teeth. I told him I was too drained. The man got out of bed, went into the bathroom, and took it upon himself to put toothpaste on my toothbrush and waited until I got out of bed to brush my teeth. He didn’t do it because my breath was so stale by the end of that day (nope, not the minty freshness that is my breath). He did it because he cares about my oral hygiene. You see how thoughtful he is?  💕

In all seriousness, aside from our peculiar obsession with peanut butter, I’ve learned that there is a lot of compromise that occurs in a marriage and sometimes you might feel there’s more give than take. But if you fail to look at some of the trivial situations with humor, then those small compromises may later result in resentful feelings about your spouse and the relationship. We really do make it a habit to talk frequently about the things that bother us and we don’t ever go to bed angry. In fact, Dan likes to make me laugh as I attempt to fall asleep by shuffling the blanket over me until it becomes so annoying that I have to yell at him in order for him to stop. Or he likes to place his hand under my pillow, pushing it up in small rapid motions until I’m forced to say something. My laughter is not a result of my annoyance in the least. No, he’s making bedtime fun and that’s what I respond to.  😄

Anyway, if you have a significant other, I hope this post has added some insight into different ways you, too, can make your relationship as smooth and argue-free (well, most of the time, anyway) as my marriage is with Dan. ❤️

During our anniversary dinner

Published by Cathy Marie

Cathy has published her poetry with The National Library of Poetry, and has won awards for her short stories. She is currently working on a novel where she uses her own personal experience with depression to develop the inner conflict for her main character, a high-powered magazine executive who has trouble sustaining relationships due to family trauma and chronic depression.

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