Earlier this month, we celebrated 9 months of marriage! June marked nine months since Mr. NavigatingAdulthood and I said “I Do.” This means that we only have 3 more months to go before we hit our first anniversary. I know what you’re thinking- what could you have possibly learned in such a short amount of time? We’re supposed to be in the honeymoon stage of our marriage where we do nothing but gaze into each other’s eyes in a nauseatingly, romantic way. You know, because we totally don’t have chores and jobs.
Although we lived together before we got married, it turns out that you can still learn a lot about yourself, about your significant other, and your relationship. This isn’t a post to brag about how I have the perfect relationship or the perfect marriage [I literally told Mr. NavigatingAdulthood this morning, “Stop being so happy, it’s too early”].
Here are the 9 biggest lessons I’ve learned from my first 9 months of marriage:
1. Being married doesn’t feel any different
In the past 9 months of marriage, the question I have gotten asked the most frequently [behind “How was the wedding?”] was:
How does it feel to be married?
The answer? It feels exactly the same as before the wedding. It’s kind of like your birthday- an event has passed [you’re officially a year older], but you don’t feel any different. Other than my last name, my life is pretty much the same before our 9 months of marriage. I feel like some people like to romanticize the idea of marriage and how it can magically make a relationship stronger/better/more amazing. The truth is marriage isn’t going to magically fix any issues you have in your relationship- you’re going to have to work hard and put effort at your relationship to keep it strong and to improve it.
2. If feels weird when people call you Mrs.
I know this is probably just me, I still haven’t gotten used to people calling me “Mrs. NavigatingAdulthood.” It feels weird because I feel like people are referring to my mother-in-law and not me. I don’t know- being referred to as “Mrs” makes me feel like I’m 50 years old, but I think with time, I’ll slowly get used to it.
3. Never stop communicating
Communicating is something that we’re always actively working on. We have very different personalities- I’m a planner, I’m detail-oriented and I have a “must act now” mentality. On the other hand, Mr. Navigating Adulthood is much more laid-back, and has a “I can wing it” mentality. Because he’s not super detail oriented, I’ve learned that he doesn’t pick up on subtle clues very easily. In our first 9 months of marriage, we’ve bickered a couple of times due to not-so-perfect communication
Example: A couple months ago, we went on a trip. I unpacked my stuff from the suitcase and left the suitcase in front of the bedroom door as a reminder for Mr. NA to unpack his stuff. 3 days went by….and nothing. Every morning, I would strategically move the suitcase in front of the doorway so he would have to move it in order to walk out of the room. And every morning, he would move the suitcase and walk out of the bedroom. After a week, I caved and angrily ranted about how I had to do everything. After tensions died down, I learned that even though he had been moving the suitcase from the doorway every single day, it never connected in his mind. He never realized that it was my way of reminding him that he needed to unpack. Now, I know to just nicely remind him, “Can you unpack tonight?”
4. Be present when you are together.
If you’re anything like me and Mr. NA, our lives seem to somehow get busier and busier. Sometimes, this means that we don’t get to spend as much time together as we would like. BUT, we’ve learned to make the most of our time together by being full present. This means that when we have date night, we put our phones away and we make eye contact when talking. When we go grocery shopping, we ask each other about how work is doing. It sounds silly, but little things like that help us to make the most of our time together.
5. Support each other’s interests
It’s the little things that count. My husband is a sports car fanatic. He likes reading about them, he watches races online, and he watches Youtube videos about them. When we’re spending the day in Boston, we can usually spot at least 5 super expensive cars [it blows my mind that a car can cost $200,000]. When this happens, I make a point to ask questions about the cars. I now know [barely] enough about luxury sports cars that I can point them out on the highway during road trips! Similarly, Mr. NA asks every evening about how my blog is doing. He patiently listens while I go on ten minute rants about SEO.
Takeaway: You don’t have to share the same interests as your spouse. However, showing interest and support in their hobbies shows that you care, and it goes a long way in the relationship.
6. People have no problems asking if and when you plan on having kids
One thing I didn’t expect after getting married was for people to be so open about asking when we were planning on having kids. Personally, the right answer for us is, “Not right now.” We’re both trying to establish ourselves in our careers and we both work a lot of hours. We also currently live in a 650 sq foot apartment, so there’s not exactly a lot of room for another addition to our family. I mean, at this moment, the baby could sleep in the bathtub? [Totally kidding, I know this is super unsafe] Every marriage is different- if you’re planning on having kids right away after getting married, that’s great! That’s just not for us- we’re not planning on having kids in the immediate future, and that’s ok. Every relationship and every couple is different.
7. You don’t have to give up your friends when you’re married
I feel like the one piece of advice I got before we got married was, “You’ll have less time to hang out with friends once you’re married.” In the past 9 months of marriage, I honestly haven’t noticed a decrease in our social interactions. If anything, our social life has gotten more robust because other married couples invite us to double date nights with them. You don’t have to give up your friends when you get married- just like everything in life, if it’s important to you, make it a priority.
The top 2 lessons I’ve learned from my first 9 months of marriage:
8. Make it a priority to continue dating each other
Even though you’re married now, it’s still important to have date night on a regular basis. This doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant- you can go out for pizza or ice cream! Admittedly, Mr. NA was the one who really pushed for regular date nights when we first got married. Initially, I didn’t really understand why we needed this- I mean, we already see each other every day! However, I’m come to appreciate our regular date nights. It gives us an opportunity to have a conversation and relax outside of our tiny apartment. Making time for each other is what keeps the spark in the marriage alive.
9. Keep saying ” I love you”
After we got married, Mr. NA and I have a tradition where we say “I love you” to one another before we go to sleep. It’s gotten to the point where if I go to bed later than Mr. NA, I can expect a mumbled “I luh ouuu” from him, which is super sappy and kind of amusing. The reasoning behind this is somewhat morbid: Mr. NA explained to me one day that if I were to die in the middle of the night or sometime during the day, he wants the last words that he says to me to be, “I love you.” In a nutshell: never stop saying “I love you.”
I can’t wait to see what the remainder of our first year of marriage brings us! What about you? What lessons have you learned from your relationship/marriage?