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Marriage - The First Year Survival Guide

Updated on April 2, 2015
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It's Just Us Two...

This October will mark the two year anniversary of my marriage to my best friend. Like any other newly-wed I had my moments of doubt because everyone around me were either separating or going through a divorce. The constant reminder that no matter of how good a relationship is perceived to be, a messy divorce could be on the cards. What made matters worse, my own parents went through it.

Personally, I considered the reality of what it is to be married before the date was set; no I wasn't having doubts about my now husband, but what does being married mean? It couldn't be as simple as changing my title and surname, everyone else who has gotten married has changed; what is it going to happen to me?

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Our Day

I don't know whether it is because we are "boring" or not "normal"; but after all of my anxieties I can honestly say NOTHING! Apart from the obvious name change and title, we haven't changed; not that I have noticed anyway.

Saying that, I could take it as a good sign that regardless of what happens we are still best of friends, acting like a pair of mature teens, in love, wanting to annoy each other everyday. Even after each and every other argument/disagreement or fall out; we still manage to remind each other, how much we love each other, make up and move on.

We didn't have the stereotypical big wedding, we wanted OUR day to be for us NOT an excuse for people to party and get drunk (neither of us drink). We didn't wear anything too formal as it wasn't us, we have tattoos and piercings we like to show the world and we had little touches of us. He wore a baseball cap and DC trainers with his suit with black shirt and red tie and I wore bright red killer heels. No it wasn't the most original idea, but that's how we see each other and that's how we wanted to look or our wedding pictures.

We did the legal stuff at a City Hall, in the city we first met and had our first day; with our witnesses. After going to McDonald's for a bite (we went there on our first date), we went on to celebrate our day with friends and family before leaving early to stay at a hotel. The day wasn't the fairytale, princess in a castle wedding I dreamt of as a kid; but it was our day, and with all the giggles, tears and memorable events it truly was all about us. We didn't spend a fortune on that one day, instead we made a commitment to stay true to one another and celebrate US on a regular basis that wasn't based on one big party. Not only that but what I haven't told you is my husband suffers from a debilitating condition; he is constantly in pain, feels lethargic and his illness is completely unpredictable. A nice quiet day, that he managed to stand up and say his vows to me meant and means more to me than anything!

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The Do's

  • Remember the person you married, is still the same person you fell in love with! If you say people change; my opinion is that isn't true, your perspective and feelings towards them has. It shouldn't matter if they change their appearance or mind about something; they are still the same person.
  • Tell each other how you feel. Keeping emotions locked up can raise concerns and lead to speculations and evidently lead to serious arguments.
  • Spend time with each other, as a couple. Many couples these days have started families before saying their vows. Or start a family as soon as they have got married and forget to make time for each other. Don't think that this has to be something only your partner likes, or you have to over emphasise the efforts for a romantic night (nothing wrong with that- but everyone has the time, money or opportunity). Try to do the things you used to do together, that you enjoyed before getting married; for example my husband and I never went out to the pub and got drunk when we were dating but we loved just cuddling up on the sofa and watch a movie together with some of our favourite foods after going for a drive. Date nights are great; but it could leave you feeling as if it was all planned for one night, but doing something fun as if you don't need to make an extra effort to spend time with each other. You should want to whenever and however you both feel is right!
  • Spend time as a family (if you have one together); my husband has two children from a previous relationship and we do things together as a family. It reminds us of our relationship is a strong, loving unit and the kids are just as much part of us as we are to each other. We have duvet days, in our pjs watching movies; go to the beach together or playing games.
  • Give each other space! If you spend all day and night with someone, you will run out of things to say and before you know it tensions rise and the arguments start. This also applies when things have got a bit heated, don't continue arguing until your face is blue; walk away calm down and talk things out rationally.
  • Have a hobby you both can enjoy! It doesn't have to be a sport; as long as you both are progressing, enjoying and spending time with each other it doesn't matter.
  • When in doubt; remember what you promised each other! Nobody is perfect, everyone has flaws and will make mistakes. What makes you a strong couple is being able to work through it together.
  • Spoil Each Other! This doesn't just mean showering each other with gifts; it can be as simple as complimenting each other, giving each other massages or making your favourite meal!
  • It's the small things that count! This could be as simple as getting something from the shops because you saw it and thought of your partner, or remembering stories that have been told and doing something for them that means something. For example, a childhood memory where an object, song, movie or smells that remind them of it and doing something to relive because it makes them happy. It could be as simple as sending each other message just to tell your partner that you're thinking about them, and that you love them!
  • Flirt with each other! Why stop because you're married? If your attracted to your partner, why not? I still get butterflies; I truly hope that feeling NEVER goes! It doesn't just mean verbally, it includes texts, emails, phone calls, giving each other the "eye" or the cheeky smile from across the room letting each other know you still want them!!
  • KISS each other everyday!!! To ME, a kiss itself does a million things! It doesn't matter if it's a peck on the cheek or forehead or a 10 second frencher; it shows that there is still passion between you! Plus who knows where the kiss could lead :P
  • Dress to impress! Don't make it a test; something new unnoticed instantly can lead to a petty argument - make it fun! It doesn't just mean sexy underwear or outfit; it's not letting yourself go,but taking care of your hair or skin etc. Ladies unless your partner prefers it; don't let your lower half of your body resemble Chewbacca. If you made the effort when you were dating; why did getting married mean you can grow it all and not care?
  • Feel Proud! You're married now, it's nothing to be ashamed of; many people don't even get the opportunity to marry a loved one or even meet them.
  • TALK! About your thoughts, feelings, wishes, troubles etc Most relationship break downs are caused by miscommunication. It doesn't have to last very long, nor does it have to be in depth philosophical conversations (although it's very interesting) it could be as simple as asking how their day has been
  • LISTEN! For the same reason as above!
  • MAKE YOUR OWN RULES! Do what's best for you as a couple and or family. It's your lives, do things that works for you!
  • Take responsibility and share responsibility! Whether it's something you have said or done take responsibility. Make decisions and share responsibilities; whether it financial, rearrangements, everything should be talked through!
  • Love and Cherish every moment you have with each other, you never know when it will be your last!

The Don't's

  • Blame each other!You're a joint unit, and being married mean everything is shared! If you start blaming each other, tensions will rise and the situation will get out of control.
  • Stop the intimacy! It's not the most important thing in a relationship; nor is it just about having sex. It can be anything from holding hands, hugging, kissing to foreplay!
  • Ignore one another!you're married; not on death row!
  • Indulge in mindless Secrecy! This means making plans for you and you alone and not considering your partners feelings. It could anything from going out every night, getting a loan, hiding things or an action that you know will potentially upset your partner.
  • Make it a competition! Bringing up the past and each others mistakes will only make matters worse! The same goes to "winning"; it get infuriating when couples compare and out-do one another!
  • Take your partner for granted! There will come a day when they say "enough's a enough" and before you know it you will lose that loved one forever.
  • Don't forget who you're married to! They should know you better than anyone else, and if anything is wrong or different with you; they will be the first one to realise this! This includes lying or hiding something!
  • Break your vows! Self explanatory,if you promise and take vows you should honour them!
  • Succumb to the ITCH! If the realisation of either or both of you have an itch; something seriously is wrong and the feeling you have has to be addressed.

The Itch

The term "itch" is usually associated with the timeline of seven years; however, this isn't necessary true - statistics show one in twenty newly weds end in divorce in the first year. Not only that but the UK divorce rate is at it's highest; it gets the number one spot in the EU. Not something to be proud of, and it should be addressed. The figures are not based on newly weds getting divorced but all round, with the increase on couples who have been married for 20 years or less.

There are many reasons behind separations and divorce, all of which cannot be defined or categorised by simple explanations; these decisions have been made by the couple and can only be expressed by themselves.

Perhaps, the UK don't have the same procedures to help couples in need in order to prevent divorce. For example: in America, it is almost part of normal day-to-day lives to speak to a councillor about issues; which inevitably leads of couples counselling. This has proven in the majority of cases, couples working out their issues and rediscovering their feelings for one another and their marriage is saved. This option isn't always the answer, however I believe anything can and should be discussed between a married couple.

Stop Worrying!

If your heart is set and you're getting married or are newly married; you have plenty of time to iron out creases!

Everyday is a new day! Don't stew over little things, move on! You never know if it will be your last, so make it count! Life is too short to be stubborn and dwelling on the past!

After being together for 5 years, married for 2 of them I can say without a shadow of doubt I made the right decision, not just because I love him and I know he feels the same way about me. But because he is my best friend, who makes me laugh and smile each and every single day! There has been days where I wanted to kick his ass and sometimes kill him, but all it does is fuel our passion when we kiss and make up. We're not society' perfect couple, but to me it's perfect for now. We're still in our dating honeymoon phase and he can still give me butterflies. Even if one day, *touch wood (I hope it doesn't, but who knows what the future has in stock), we don't stay married he will always be my best friend and I have and will continue to cherish every single moment with him!

Good luck!

© 2015 MFPrincess

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