On March 23rd, my husband and I will celebrate two years of marriage.
We met in the spring of 2011 and dated for three years before tying the knot. Since that time, we’ve laughed and cried, traveled, adopted a puppy, bought a house, celebrated holidays, changed jobs, and everything in between. Our married friends warned us before we took the plunge, saying, “the first few years of marriage are the hardest”. Some even told us, “marriage doesn’t get really good until about seven years in.”
They were wrong.
These lovely advice-givers genuinely loved us and sincerely wanted the best for us, but they were wrong. Greg and I loved being newlyweds. We know that not everyone feels that way about their newlywed years, but we did. It felt like a long-term sleepover. I’ve never laughed so much in my life.
I’ll share some major contributing factors to our “wedded bliss” over the past two years- take what works for you, leave what doesn’t. And know that having a rough first few years is okay and normal- it doesn’t mean you made a mistake getting married. We just did some things that we think helped us have more fun!
We were able to spend time with our pastor before we got engaged, thinking through what married life would look like. We talked and wrote plans for EVERYTHING- chores, vacations, budgets, holidays, traditions… everything. It seemed like a trivial exercise at the time. But we really have used those plans! We let our parents know in advance what holidays we would be spending with them. We knew what chores each of us needed to do, and how often. So much of the work of “putting two lives together” was done on the front end, so more time was left to just enjoy the benefits of marriage.
2. Free Your Schedule.
Being a Newlywed is a great excuse to get out of prior commitments. USE THAT to your advantage. Take a year break from your clubs/meetings/volunteer work, if you need to. Bow out of book club meetings or girl’s nights. This isn’t a recommendation to sever all social ties- just make sure to slow down enough to get used to the new rhythms of your life. In biblical times, a man would be free for a year after marriage- even skipping drafts- in order to be home with his wife. Hanging out a home with one another has been one of our favorite things to do!
I took vacations with my family before I was married, road tripped with friends, and even traveled by myself a bit. They were all fun, but I prefer by far to travel with Greg. We take quarterly “getaways”- even if it was just to a few cities over for the weekend, we would pick an affordable hotel and spend time drinking coffee, browsing bookstores, trying out new restaurants, and hitting up local happy hours. We’ve gotten a few longer vacations in as well, but the ability to go somewhere else and focus on relaxation and one another has been amazing.
4. Include Friends.
Sometimes wedding bells are a death toll for other friendships the couple might have. Make a point to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you- the friendships will inevitably change, but they don’ thave to die. Serve dinner at your house- a lot. Host parties. Go out for drinks as a couple with your friends. Continue to ask and give advice to your friends- your single friends are as smart as they ever were, and even if they’re not married, they can offer wisdom.
The first year, Greg and I had a jar sitting on a shelf in our house. Everytime we did something that was fun, interesting, or meaningful, we would write it down on a slip of paper and put it in the jar. At the end of the year, we dumped them all out and read them together. It may seem like a sappy idea, but it really helped us to savor our first year together. We’ll keep those slips for the rest of our lives to remember the joy and fun we had together.
What do you plan on doing to make the most of your first few years of marriage? Or what did you do when you were first married? Share below!