Today marks a half-year since G and I said “I do” in front of our loved ones and God. Honestly, I cannot believe it has only been six months. A lot has happened during that time including a career shift for G, both of us enrolling into coursework, a new truck and house, an adorable nephew, and all the other thrills of being newlyweds with busy schedules. While enjoying sushi at our favorite restaurant on Friday, we reminisced about all of our milestones since the wedding. The ink is barely dry on the marriage certificate, but we are excited for the next memory we’re able to make in this adventure.
One thing we had fun talking about over dinner was what we’ve learned so far as newlyweds. Some were foretold during marriage counseling and illuminated during our few months as newlyweds, others we’ve uncovered on our own. We have learned a lot in this short amount of time, and I can only imagine how much more we have to discover.
1. Eat At the Dining Table together
When we married, G and I had set a goal to eat at our dining table together for the majority of our meals. Though this has not been a priority as of late, we still aim to sit together when we eat. With our hectic schedules this means we may not technically eat together but we try to make sure when one of us is enjoying a meal the other is sitting down in “active togetherness.”
I am a big proponent that relationships flourish over food. When you’re sitting down with your spouse, family, or friends, you are savoring every flavor and topic of conversation. Sitting together at our dining table/coffee table/counter top allows G and I to catch up on the day’s happenings and weekly goals. Or maybe vent, rant, and what have you, which is also just as important. Make sure you opt for open time to discuss any and every topic while having dinner — or any available meal — together.
2. Remember You Are Always Team Number One
Marriage means having a teammate in every situation. Are you having issues with work or maybe with a friend/family member? Your spouse should be your key point of communication when needing to talk things through. That may mean giving some tough love and providing valuable insight when your partner is in the wrong. Or maybe its being emotional support as your partner works out a solution. Either way, you are one another’s team members first and foremost.
Luckily, you probably have more than your spouse as your “Life Teammates.” However, sometimes you will need to narrow your team to only two people: you and your spouse. Do you have family members giving advice on how to handle a situation with your kids? Maybe you are giving too much time to an extracurricular activity outside your marriage? Whatever the case, if you see (or are told) by your spouse that they need you to take their side, DO IT.
Being a good teammate comes in a variety of circumstances too. You may need to voice your spouse’s opinion for them to an opposing team (i.e. telling a family member that you appreciate their advice, but this specific situation is strictly between you and your spouse.) Or it may mean putting an extracurricular on the sideline to be present for your spouses’s needs. There are a lot of different reasons your partner may need you to step up your “marriage game” so be on the lookout for red flags and pull your weight.
3. Pick Your Fights
I know this is one I mentioned back during our marriage counseling days, but it is still so good! Little arguments are bound to happen in any relationship. However, not every squabble needs to be a blown-out smash. Consider if making an offensive or defensive statement will help or hinder the issue at hand. If you’re saying or doing something to cause harm to your spouse, then you don’t have the best for your relationship in mind. The same goes if you’re attempting to elevate yourself or your objective. Remember, you are a team!
Some fights are better off just letting go for the benefit of everyone involved. Ultimately, you and your spouse have the same goal(s). Learn to choose your battles well and let any unnecessary issues drop to the wayside.
4. Be One Another’s Cheerleaders
One of the best parts of marriage is knowing you have a personal cheering squad in your spouse. Whether you achieve your goals or fall a bit short… Your spouse is behind you to encourage and uplift all your endeavors. Be open to sharing all your achievements with your loved one, and also freely share those little goals you haven’t quite reached yet. More likely than not, your spouse will provide the motivation, encouragement, and advice needed to reach all your milestones.
This is particularly necessary in those instances you are being hard on yourself. Take the love and adoration your spouse gives you to heart! He or she chose you and continues to choose you every single day, and that in itself should be praise enough even when you might not be feeling especially high in self-esteem.
5. Learn To Be Selfless
One of the biggest learning curves both G and I have struggled with in our marriage is something I think humanity as a whole struggles with: putting someone else’s needs before your own.
Personally, it is so easy to get caught up in my own schedule and bucket list that including my husband into the equation took a lot of self-control and mindfulness. G praised me on Friday for my effort though, and I was proud to hear I’ve been making headway in this arena of our relationship. (Insert pat on the back.) It took some practice to eliminate criteria off my weekly planner, but I did so knowing time with G was more important. In the same respect, G has gotten so much better at putting aside his perfectionism and goal-oriented mindset to sit back and relax every now and again. We compromise and enjoy common interests much more often than we go do something only one of us enjoys. It really has become the best of both worlds!
Actively attempt to put your spouse’s needs above your own while not forgetting to be an individual. You’ll be amazed at the new things you gain interest in and the adventures you and your partner can share when you prioritize your time together.
6. Enjoy the Little Things
Last but not least, my last piece of advice is a common phrase from one of my favorite movies: Zombieland. Enjoy the little things in life. Together.
G and I are still in the process of organizing our new home. We don’t fold the laundry every weekend, and we forget to dust sometimes. I don’t spend as much time reading as I’d like, and G isn’t able to work on his truck during his free time. Though that time might be a quick 30 minute viewing of my latest cooking-show binge or lounging on the couch playing cards, G and I make time for each other every day. While we certainly have our separate activities and we make time for our friends and family, finding quality time together is our number-one priority. And one we take very serious.
Fellow newlyweds, do you have any lessons to add to the following list? Everyone has different experiences, and I would love to hear yours. Please feel free to share in the post’s comment section below.