Sarah & Caleb were married 1 year ago on July 4th. They were kind enough to drop some knowledge on what being a newly wed couple is like. Read on if you want to make your first year of marriage a bit less bumpy.
What do you miss most about the single life?
Scheduling things on my own time. Having more options to do things I used to when I was single, work out, have a girls weekend, spend the weekend at my parents, or simply to go shopping for “wants” without feeling I have to consult with another’s schedule or consider our budget.
What’s your best cheapo/ fun date idea?
A campout. Could be after a long hike, or driving to a really cool location and setting up tent for the night or simply having a picnic with the tent set up for shade, we even set our tent up on the front porch in record low temperatures and spent the night out there – and just to live on the wild side it was a weeknight! Wherever you set up camp, make sure to stay long enough to star gaze and having a fire with s’mores is a MUST! This date can be done all year round, but my favorite time is during the fall.
What has been the best thing about your first year of marriage?
The best thing about the first year of marriage has been coming home to my best friend every night. Having that person to share frustrations with, get angry at, bounce ideas off of, share joys and encouraging each other through life’s ups and downs. Being married is just another example of God’s love for us.
What’s been the hardest part about being married?
The hardest part of being married for me has been a lack of “me time”, so very similar to what I miss most about being single. I lived on my own for 5 years, independent and financially stable. I didn’t need anyone to do anything for me. I could pick up and have a weekend with girlfriends at a bed and breakfast in a fun town, or sleep in until 7:30am (yes, that’s late for me!) Being married, is a give and take, and for all the things my husband and daughter add to my life, I’m happy to give up some of my girls weekends and sleeping late occasionally.
What surprised you the most?
It wasn’t so much that I was surprised by it than it was a huge realization. After a particularly difficult discussion (one of our first since being married) we headed to bed and I recall thinking… “He’s not leaving… I need time to process this conversation…he’s not going home…this is his home… Oh my gosh!” When we’re dating we had the luxury of our own homes. When we had discussed something difficult, there was time and space in between the next time we saw each other… Now that we’re married, it’s a little different. Still learning.
What have you fought about most and why?
Expectations I had about being a wife and mother. I have a wonderful example of what that looks like in my mother. I failed to realize that before she became the awesome mother and wife I witnessed while I was growing up and that I know today, she had to go thorough the first few years of marriage as well- figuring out who she was as a Mrs. and as a mother. I fight with myself about not meeting preconceived expectations which I place upon myself, which in turn effects our communication.
What was the biggest thing you were nervous about? How has it turned out?
A friend of mine just reminded me of one of the things I was nervous about before getting married: making lunches for my husband during the week and planning the week of meals for our family. It seems so funny now to think about how worried I was, but I wanted to make sure I was taking care of my family and doing a good job of it by the way of cooking meals which I enjoy and keeping a warm, inviting and clean home. My husband and daughter help out so much and even without me asking them to do it. From doing the dishes, to making the beds, vacuuming, helping me cook, washing, drying and folding the clothes, they make being married and family life easy and enjoyable. I feel so blessed!
Do you have any advice for couples who are about to blend a family?
My husband always went on “Dad and daughter dates” before he and I got married. I encouraged them to continue these dates afterwards as well so that they can have one on one time and further their bond without me in the picture.
I am an educator and have seen many of my children from divorced households and the gambit of relationship dynamics pass through my classroom. Remaining positive and complimentary of the child’s parent(s) is essential. Nothing negative should ever be discussed in front of the child/ children.
I read many books about blended families and even books about the specific role in which you are about to take on. Read books about the your children/ stepchildren and the emotions they could experience. (The five Love Languages of Children is also a great book!)
Lastly, the biological parent needs to be sensitive to their spouce’s, the step-parent’s emotions. It is important for the husband and wife to continue to go on dates. The spouse/ stepparent needs to feel validated and a respected part of the family. This can be very tricky. Communication is key and it also requires the spouse (stepparent) to be sensitive and very understanding.
Happy 1 year of marriage guys. Thanks for opening up and giving us a little peek into your life.