I’ve been married for almost three years. I met Greg my first week of freshman year and by the second week we were already “official”. I was 19, he was about to turn 21. We dated throughout college, did long distance once he graduated and have grown alongside each other. From being young college lovers to being a young married couple, we’ve dealt with life’s curveballs and changes.
Once we got married there was a feeling of newness in our relationship. We had a new anniversary date, I had a new last name and we were legally one unit. Some people say that marriage doesn’t change their relationship but for us, that’s not the case. We instantly felt more connected and had a new mindset about each other.
When you’re in a long time relationship, you go through growing pains. Your personality changes, your career, your weight (ha!), your dreams and ambitions, your outlook on life… There’s so much change while still being with the same person. With that, there are 5 things I’ve learned from being married that have really helped us.
Keep dating your partner
This one sounds simple but it’s really major. Greg and I make a point to have a date night once a week. Either going out to a restaurant or cooking a nice meal at home. It gives us the chance to dress up for each other and to engage with each other, without any distractions. Our calendars have become super busy so we usually talk a week in advance to see what works for us and where we’d like to go. It doesn’t have to be a fancy restaurant. It’s really just about spending 1 on 1 time with each other and feeling connected. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in a quick dinner at home and watching HGTV for the rest of the night. Dating your partner insures he doesn’t turn into your roommate and keeps the spark alive.
Adapt to change
If you really want to make a relationship work, you have to adapt to change. Life changes and so will your partner. You have to adapt to their growth and recognize that they’re not the exact person that they were when you first met. They’ll develop new interests, change careers and all of that affects you in one way or another. Greg and I have both changed tremendously since we met and we’ve always been supportive of each other’s changes. Especially when it wasn’t easy.
Communicate your feelings
This seem like a no brainer but BOY is this a tough cookie. If something is on my mind or bothering me, I bring it up as soon as I can. I like dealing with problems head on and would rather discuss the issue now than later. It’s taken us a while to get to this place but it is oh so worth it. You’ll feel better quicker and can go back to living your life with your partner. It’s important to take the initiative and not wait for your partner to ask what’s wrong. Say what’s wrong and move on.
Share your expectations
Going off of adapting to change, your life’s expectations will change too. Greg and I have discussed in detail what our life’s expectations are, career moves we want to make, our expectations from each other… You have to spell out those things because your partner can’t read your mind – contrary to popular belief. I know what Greg expects of me and he knows what I expect of him. It can be as trivial as me being in charge of the laundry and he being in charge of folding them. It makes life a lot easier when you know what your partner expects of you.
Plan small adventures together
The last thing I’ve learned from being married is planning small adventures. We’ve travelled the world together but when we’re home, we try to keep that travel spark going. From visiting a local winery to checking out a museum together, we try to discover new places. You get to see your partner in a different light, interacting with new places and people. It reminds you why you love your partner and you simply have a great time together.
Those were my 5 cents on what I’ve learned from being married. Yes, I haven’t been married for that long but any relationship has a learning curve, no matter how long it is. Do any of those points resonate with you? What relationship advice have you learned along the way?
Photo by Emma Weiss Photos