My husband and I recently celebrated our first anniversary.
I’ve already blogged about our engagement and my thoughts on those first few months of being wed, and it’s hard to believe it’s been a year. But what a year it’s been! We celebrated our first anniversary by announcing that Baby Hendley will be arriving in September.
I was 33 when I got married. My timeline for my life included marriage by 28 and a baby by 30. (Clearly God had a different, and better, plan.) Because of that, I was worried that marriage would be a hard transition. I was really skilled at living on my own.
I worried about major things, such as relinquishing control of “my” money and learning how to live with a boy. But I also worried about small things, such as giving up half of the closet space, learning how to prepare a meal that was more than cheese and crackers, and the potential of finding out that I snored or had terrible dragon breath in the morning.
The first year of marriage has been wonderful, hard, and the biggest adjustment of my life. Through it all, I’ve seen God’s faithfulness and His answer to over a decade of my prayers. A friend asked me for my observations on that first year, and here’s what I told her:
1. Expectations don’t go away in marriage — they are intensified.
A lot of miscommunication in dating stems from disappointed expectations, and that doesn’t change once you say your vows. The 24/7 intimacy that comes from living with someone brings even more opportunities for unreal or unattainable expectations for yourself and for your spouse. This past year has been about adjusting my expectations and not being surprised when sin shows up in my life or in my husband’s.
2. Hold loosely to the advice from marriage books, and friends and family.
I highly recommend premarital counseling and seeking godly advice from other couples. But when it comes to matters that aren’t moral issues, such as who will handle finances or how to divide up housework, I discovered that we didn’t always fit the roles that we had read or talked about. And that’s OK. What worked for my parents — or the way that my best friend and her husband do things — isn’t always what worked best for us.
3. There’s a reason why couples disappear after they get married!
When I was single I noticed my newlywed friends went MIA for the first six months. That annoyed me, and I was determined not to do the same when I got married. But we ended up in the “marriage fog” anyway. Those first few weeks were spent unpacking wedding gifts, writing a seemingly endless number of thank-you notes, not to mention all the paperwork associated with changing my last name and combining bank accounts, insurance and bills.Then there’s the fact that the best part of marriage is not having to drive home at the end of the day. We didn’t have a ton of free time, but when we did, we were content to just be with each other. After about six months, we emerged from the fog and started making it a priority to see our friends more often. We had awesome friends who understood, kept inviting us to things, and welcomed us back with open arms.
4. My fears were (mostly) unfounded.
Living with a husband was a huge adjustment, but most of the things I feared about that transition didn’t happen. Sharing the finances was the hardest, but mostly because it reminded me that I had to relinquish control over that part of my life. But I learned how to cook healthy man-approved meals, how to give up half (OK, maybe more like a third) of my closet, and thankfully I don’t snore! Having a spouse who offers me unconditional love and extends grace to me has made even my biggest fears seem small.
Overall, the first year was easier than I anticipated. And, more importantly, even through the difficult things we encountered, it was worth it!