JOY42

Marriage: Year One

MarriageHannah DrakeComment

I know what you're thinking. Didn't you just finish recapping your wedding last week and you're already on about your first anniversary? I know, I know. But to be fair, I've only been recapping our wedding since June since we didn't have a wedding until May. Remember how we had already been married for eight months when we got wedded?

One year of marriage. What do we know, right? I don't subscribe to the idea that young love is superior than everything else. I try not to buy into #couplegoals on social media. But I do think that every relationship can offer an opportunity to learn about yourself and interactions with your significant other, and hopefully an avenue for growth. So even though it was just yesterday that Luke and I celebrated one year of marriage, I have a few thoughts.

If I'm being totally honest, the last year has been pretty easy for us. Over the last year, people have asked me how I'm adjusting to marriage and how I'm finding it living with a man. Most days, it's a cake walk. Luke and I enjoy each other's company. We came into marriage with a solid foundation. We discussed big issues and problem-solving strategies beforehand. Our goals and values align. And we respect one another.

Other times, marriage can be like a mirror showing you the worst parts of yourself. I have a short temper and a long memory and I'm not proud of either. When I snap at Luke or give him the silent treatment because of something he said or how he said something hours earlier, I can see how it hurts him and I can see how ugly those tendencies are.

Our marriage is far from perfect, but it's a choice we make every day and have vowed to make every day forever. (Plus three days!) When I started to reflect on this year, there were four things that stood out to me as the biggest contributors to our good first year.

COMMUNICATION

I don't mean talking things through or communicating calmly and effectively all the time. We (mostly me) are working on that all the time and that takes a lot of practice. Instead, I mean more of the mushy-gushy type of communication that makes you gag unless it's the relationship you're in.

Luke and I say "I love you" dozens of times a day. In text, in person, seriously, tenderly, humorously. We just say it all the time. There isn't a doubt in my mind how he feels about me and I hope there isn't one in his. We constantly compliment each other, thank each other, and build each other up. I try to be respectful when I talk about Luke to my girlfriends and respectful to him when we're with other people. Words matter. How you say them matters. We've made the choice to use them to build the foundation of our relationship and continuously reinforce that same foundation.

GRATITUDE

Months ago, we decided we would end every day with gratitude. Now it's as much a part of our nighttime routine as climbing into bed is! Every night, we ask each other, "What are you grateful for today?" There's no rule about how many things you have to say or how impactful things have to be. We just say what we're grateful for throughout the day. It creates an opportunity to reflect over our day, to maybe catch up on something in the other's day that we didn't yet know about, to look at things in a different light, but most importantly, to vocalise our gratitude for each other. Both of us always start and end with saying we're grateful for the other and even though it's something we do every day, it's not an automated going-through-the-motions kind of gesture. It's true gratitude for our partner and our life together.

SILLINESS

Fun fact: it was nearly impossible for me to type "grateful" every time in that previous paragraph. Why, you're wondering? Because Luke and I always say "grapeful". I'm pretty sure it started with a typo on WhatsApp, but it's an inside joke that's been around so long that I can't even really remember the genesis of it. It's basically like "grateful" isn't a word anymore! And that's just one of the many silly things we do. If I told you all of them, you'd think we were crazy. But what matters is that we have fun together. We're silly together. We have too many inside jokes to count. When people say "home is wherever I'm with you", I feel that. Luke is the only person in my life that I've shown my whole self to. He has seen every side of me and accepts all of me. So I'm my most comfortable, my most at home when I'm with him. Apparently my true self is super silly because that's the tone of most of our time together.

Also, laughing at farts helps.

ALONE TIME

I bet you thought I was going to say that it's important to both of us to still be individuals with individual lives and interests. I mean, that's still true, although a venn diagram of our interests and lives probably overlaps about 99%. What I mean is that we've found a place in our relationship where when we're craving alone time, that still means being together. Like sitting on the couch watching a show or movie together, being in the same room doing different things together, lying in bed reading different books together. We had a house guest for a few days and after the visit, we talked about how we both were craving time alone, together. (That's not to say we don't love having house guests though!) I don't know how we got here, but I hope we never leave. Of course we still have time truly to ourselves, but the overwhelming presence is to be alone together.

Header photo & dancing photo by Brianne Haagenson Photography.