Lessons From the First Year

As of yesterday, Justin and I have been married for one full year.
We met August 2011. Started dating October 2011 after I gave him a lot of crap about not wanting to date anyone. He proposed March 2012 and we were married for all time and eternity August 3, 2012.
We are currently (thank you scheduled posts) having the time of our lives during our first anniversary–post to come. But, this past week, we have given some serious thought to our marriage–what we have gained, what we have shared, how we have grown, what we have learned. 
Justin is very quiet and stoic. Yes, he is socially apt and active and can sometimes be the most animated and enthusiastic person in the room, but he’s a thinker. Justin will think things through before talking, especially if they’re serious. He’ll keep things to himself unless he feels it’s important enough for others to take note or worry about. He is also the more grown-up of us two and will hold his tongue so I can win or if he thinks he’ll just cause more tension between us.
Justin is a very hard worker. Justin hates school–he hates the system and the expectations and not being able to see instant results. But, he tries his absolute best for me and our future family. He thrives at work because he knows he’s doing it well and is rewarded for doing it well. 
Justin is very tender-hearted. Although he has promised he will never watch Titanic with me and hates chick-flicks, he is still very tenderhearted. He loves me through the depths of his soul and beyond. He loves little kids to the point where he has already made plans to kidnap his 3 year old nephew. I have seen how he acts with his nieces and nephews and I know he will be an amazing father. He also melts when a scene in a show or movie or picture includes a kid and their stuffed animal. I love that about him.
Justin is one of the most generous people I know. He is always willing to do service and help others. When we have friends visiting, he is more than willing to pay their share of the meal or activity. He always talks to those whom I wouldn’t talk to (like some of the weird people who have moved into our apartment complex)–he feels that they may not have anyone else talking to them and wants to show them someone will listen to what they have to say. Justin will always immediately drop whatever he is doing and give a blessing or perform an act of service to those who are in need of it.
Justin has the most heart-melting smile. His smile fills his whole face and shines through his eyes. I have always loved his smile and ever since the first time he smiled at me, my heart skips a beat.
Justin makes puppy-eye faces when he looks at me and then says, almost pouting, “I love you.”
Whenever he thinks or concentrates hard, his forefinger rests on his temple and his thumb is under his chin.

I complain/whine too much. It is one of my favorite things to do. I do it even when there is no real need. Not only does it get on Justin’s nerves, but it also is getting on mine, too!
I need to unplug/stop grading sometimes. Our first few months were very hard because not only was I a newly wed, but I was a new teacher, and just starting to become a serious blogger. Balancing everything was hard and sometimes I didn’t give Justin the attention he deserved and needed. But, throughout the year, I got better at learning to quit grading and we’ve made standards of when I should unplug.
I am lazy. Justin has always warned me about how lazy he is, but I am, too, by asking him to get me stuff. Justin jokes that if I am in the kitchen and he is in the bedroom, I’ll ask him to get me a drink of water. It’s not that bad, I promise, but I have caught myself quite a few times and decided to get it myself.
I feel I still have to find the balance between being a nagger and not delegating/asking Justin to help. We all have a picture of ourselves as an ideal wife. But, we aren’t–it’s just “ideal.” Justin doesn’t expect me to keep up with my lessons and grading, come home straight after school, clean the house, have dinner made, and an empty schedule for the night. That’s near impossible. But I feel that way sometimes. I am still learning that it is ok to ask Justin to do a load of dishes, pick up his pants, or even scrub the tub! But, in my mind, I still hesitate because he is a full-time student and works 25 hours a week. How do you handle that balance of delegating and not being a nag?
Tayler is forgiving and patient.  Despite any attempt to say how impatient she is, she remains a very understanding and long-suffering individual, at least when it comes to me.
Tayler perseveres through her goals. As soon as she has her heart set on something, she will stop at nothing to attain it.
Tayler seriously underestimated the amount of food I eat….only half joking.
Tayler is terrible at lying.  That comes either when she says the infamous “i’m fine” or when it comes to planning a surprise.  She carries her emotions on her sleeves and is very easy to read.  That also applies to positive emotions too.  When she’s happy, everyone knows it, hence being terrible at hiding surprises.
Crying Patterns.  Whenever she is hurt, or sad, or tired, she starts crying from her left eye first.  When she’s overjoyed, it starts from her right eye.
Tayler is very detailed.  There must always be specifics.  Even down to the last tsp of oil in a brownie mix.  She is infinitely better at explaining details than I am.  However, I tell the story better…
Despite my utter disdain for it, I tend to deal in absolutes.  I can’t watch a TV show or movie part way and finish it later, and I struggle with doing homework, as I feel I need to get it all done in one bout, and if I feel I don’t have the time to do that, I’ll do it later when I feel I have the time.  Sometimes, that includes taking out the trash….
I need to see results for my efforts.  I mean, who doesn’t? However, I have noticed I try a lot less at something if I know I won’t likely see the results of my labors.  Sometimes, it boils down to the “Honey can you do the dishes?”  Why bother?  They’ll just get dirty later in the day.  I can do it then….right?
I really don’t stress out.  What I often mistake for sheer apathy is my tendency to not worry about much.  I figure things will work out once certain actions are done, and if nothing can be done about it I tend to not think about it.  This really contrasts how Tayler views/does things.  She’s gotten after me for “not caring enough” about something.  Clearly, we need to find some kind of balance.
I really need to do romantic stuff…Apparently, I was a lot more romantic when we were dating.  Those same efforts may have diminished once we got married.  However, that doesn’t mean that Tayler still doesn’t need something “mushy” every once in a while.
Old Habits die hard.  All of those things I said I was gonna do/be/become when I got married?  Yeah…….about that…..I might like Fire Emblem too much.….Maybe….
Sometimes you just need space. “I don’t want to talk about it” right now doesn’t mean “I don’t want to talk about it ever.” We both need time to gather our thoughts and piece through our emotions before we confront each other.
Try to budget. Keyword=”try.” If you have a set goal of what you want to spend that month, you will end up spending less than you would’ve otherwise. Unless of course, you are both exhausted from work/school that day and go to Carl’s Jr., Pizza Pie Cafe, Sizzler, or Costa Vida for a quick dinner.
Take Time to Talk. We’ll sit and talk for hours on end (and maybe pull out the laptop for a complete list of Disney movies as we make our expansive list of characterized song subjects). We really like to go on walks Sunday evening. It’s cooler in the evening and it is a very peaceful way to conclude the weekend. We talk about anything and everything: memories, plans, religion, family, school, work, dreams, etc.
Getting Sick Sucks. It causes all sorts of worrying and you just feel helpless as your spouse coughs up a lung. Tayler got sick all the time at the beginning of the school due to being a first-time teacher in a jr. high. Then, it all passed on to Justin who already has a weakened immune system! Make sure to stock up on a lot of Vitamin C, fruit, soup, electrolytes. And don’t be afraid to ask for help from close relatives or friends! We need to do better with that.
Follow religious patterns together and have Christ be the center of the home. We are both Mormon. We were raised Mormon and our families have been Mormon for generations. It is who we are. When we first got engaged, we discussed patterns and traditions we wanted to include in our family: attend church every week, visit the temple when we could, have family scripture reading and family prayer. While we were engaged, we met with our Bishop and he talked about the “love triangle.” We are at each bottom angle and Christ and Heavenly Father are at the top. The closer we get to them, the closer we get to each other. There is a quote in The Family: A Proclamation to the World that says: “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.” We are striving to that and will raise our children on these principles.
Take Time Away from Life for Each Other. Unplug from electronics every now and then. Have fun. Just because you have married your spouse, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to woo them anymore. Go on dates. Have tickle fights. Go on drives, ride bikes, play video games or board games together. Surprise each other. Have fun. Put away grading or homework for a while and do something together.

We have loved our first year of marriage. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it has already been a full year and sometimes it feels much, much longer. It has been an exciting journey to see how much more fully and deeply we love one another than we did on our wedding day, which was exponentially more when we were engaged, which was much, much more than when we were just dating.

We can’t wait to spend the rest of time and eternity together!

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • Z

    What an incredible post. Just love it.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  • Happy anniversary! I hope you two are having a wonderful time together right now.

  • Thanks for the awesome post with your reflections about your first year of marriage. Our 1st anniversary is next weekend, so I've been thinking about how much I've learned and changed this year. It's helpful to know that there are other couples who are still learning to be married and are trying hard to make it as great as it can be. Marriage is harder than I expected, but also more rewarding. Thanks for sharing that aspect of it, too. 🙂 Happy anniversary!!!

  • You two have learned a TON. I love that you both jumped on board for this post!

  • That's so great that you guys can be reflective on your relationship. I'm sure it helps you grow closer together. It's kind of like a "marriage progress report." You are such a teacher. 🙂

    • I've seen other blogs do it and I think it is wonderful because you are learning about marriage in general, but then applying it to your own!

  • To this day I'm shocked sometimes at how much Angel can eat. Sometimes I feel like I'm still cooking the same amount of food that I was making when I cooked for my family of 8, but now there's only Angel and I. It can be hard to estimate a man's appetite, I feel ya! Happy one year!

    • I feel the same way with my husband! I had to teach him the concept of "left-overs." It is still a lesson in progress!