My husband and I recently celebrated our first anniversary. When I tell people this, I’m often given a hearty congratulations. I should be proud they say. A huge accomplishment.
But one year of marriage doesn’t feel like this big achievement. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy to have hit this milestone. But to be honest, reaching it really wasn’t that hard.
People say the first year of marriage is the hardest. But from my experience, the first year of marriage wasn’t nearly as hard as they say it should be.
So what does this mean? Am I doing this marriage thing wrong? I really don’t think so.
If anything, I think I’m doing everything exactly right. I’ve never been more confident in my relationship or sure that I made the right decision. And everything that’s happened in the past year has confirmed that.
Flash back to one year ago, when on December 3, 2016, I said “I do.” It was a great day and an awesome celebration of our commitment to each other. But those two little words didn’t usher in a huge change. After the wedding was over, and my new husband and I returned to the home we already shared, nothing really felt that different.
The truth is the wedding and getting married was really just a formality. I’d already committed to this man long ago, and he had committed to me. The fact that we said so publicly didn’t change anything. It just reaffirmed what we already knew.
Becoming one couple, a married couple, instead of two people with separate lives, isn’t a transition that happens overnight. It’s built over a long period of time, brick by brick, day by day. Which is exactly what my husband and I had been doing for almost three years. By the time the wedding day came around, in our hearts, we were already married.
I’m not saying that this year has been perfect or that our relationship is perfect. We are a normal couple with challenges and issues like anyone else. But because we’ve committed to each other, those challenges don’t tear us apart. We face them together.
We have our disagreements like any other couple, but because we’ve built such a strong foundation we’re able to work through them and find common ground. We’re not in this to one-up or outdo each other. We don’t keep score. We’re a team first, and we’re always on the same side.
This year, both of us have lost family members, and it’s been a challenge to deal with those losses. But having each other to lean on has been a huge help. Because that’s what I think marriage is truly all about. Unconditional love and support. My husband is my rock, and I know that no matter what is going on, he is there.
My husband recently went abroad for three weeks, and it was the longest time we’d spent apart since dating long distance the first year we were together. Being apart reaffirmed everything I believed about our marriage.
Those three weeks weren’t fun. A few years ago and the idea of three weeks to myself would’ve thrilled me. But this time, I didn’t want my space or alone time. I wanted to be with my husband. Because the fact is we are better together. We are two halves of a whole. But not because we had a wedding a year ago. Because we’ve built a strong foundation from the ground up. We’ve built a marriage.