Three First Year Marriage Lessons

Despite all the advice we were given by people from all walks of life (all unsolicited, of course) my husband and I decided to embark on this journey blindly and do things our own way. After all, our relationship up until the point of marriage had been anything but conventional so why stop now, we thought.

For us, this meant not living up to he standards and expectations of others but instead truly marching to the beat of our own drum.
My maternal grandmother would drop to her knees if she ever heard me say that in our house, my husband and I share the domestic duties. Then she’d proceed to lecture me to change my ways. Bless her.

*Cue African parents criticizing the millennial way of life*

Our first year of cohabitation has been nothing short of amazing. I’ve come to learn that with the right partner, the transition can be a smooth one. However, I can’t pretend that there weren’t and still aren’t any major learning curves that come with getting to know someone whilst living under the same roof, all guards down. No filter.

lessons from first year of marriage

I’ve learned that contrary to popular belief, it’s actually okay to go to bed upset and without resolving an issue.

I won’t take credit for this one because God knows I can talk anyone’s ear off until I feel better. My husband can attest to this. But if there’s anything he has taught me it that it’s sometimes necessary, and perfectly okay, to take a step back and calm down, regroup and allow yourself to sit with your feelings. This helps a great deal to understand why you feel the way you do and to figure out if your emotions are influencing the problem in front of you. More often than not, you’ll wake up with a clear head and can better have a productive conversation at a later time.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t struggle with this one but with growth and self discovery, you learn to understand what makes you tick on a deeper level and are better able to confront those triggers with yourself. It helps with learning to separate the emotions from the situation and realizing that they’re not one in the same. This one is still a work in progress for me but I can now say I understand the process. The emotions are usually temporary and subjective but after careful observation (and time!) you find that they are not, then there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

married couple

You can’t live up to unrealistic expectations.

For the first 2 or 3 months that we lived together, I tried make sure that the house was always vacuumed and mopped daily, and that I cooked a hot meal every night. I wanted to be the ultimate wife. I still do, but a more realistic version. Along with going to work, school and living life in between, I basically thought I had to be a superhero in civilian clothes.

I thought that this is what I was meant to do as a wife. Not that there is anything wrong with the above, but I quickly realized that I couldn’t keep up with this routine and I broke down. I felt defeated and exhausted. It wasn’t until I expressed these feelings to my husband (who had no idea up until this point), I came to understand that he didn’t expect me to be superwoman and wait on him hand and foot.

Being raised in an African household, you are constantly told that your home must be polished from floor to ceiling, regardless of the day of the week. You must be the perfect representation of your upbringing. But what’s missing in that backwards equation is everything else that comes along with life, especially in the western world. This one was a major lesson for me. Once I overcame it I finally realized that it’s perfectly okay to leave the dishes in the sink for tomorrow and for the dirty laundry to end up on the floor. Through this realization I found relief and peace. 

Weekend getaways and date nights are a must.

This one gets me every time when people say to me (usually single friends) “you live together with no kids, what do you need to get away from?” Hmm, where do I begin? How about wanting to snuggle up and watch a movie in peace without the dishes taunting me from across the room. Or my favorite- letting someone else cook for us and not having to worry about cleaning up. Or realizing that though you live under the same roof, days can pass without being able to have a face to face conversation because of opposing work schedules. Your daily check-ins then start to come in the form of text messages and two minute scattered phone calls throughout the day.

The list goes on. Sometimes a change of scenery is good and allows you to focus on each other without the distraction of everything else that constantly requires your immediate attention. This is something we’ve prioritized in our marriage early on and have no intentions of compromising. We believe in being able to take care of responsibilities while also enjoying the fruits of our labors. They’ll come a time when quality time will be hard to achieve and I don’t ever want to look back and wish we had spent more time together, made more memories, and stopped to enjoy the newly wed bliss.

What have you learned since taking the leap with your partner?

41 thoughts on “Three First Year Marriage Lessons

      1. I really enjoyed reading it! I feel the same after my marriage ! Thanks for sharing

        1. I’m so happy that you can relate! Thanks for reading 🙂

  1. Reality of life….I think you should write a book and thanks for sharing your journey with the rest of us!!

    1. Haha, I’d love to write a book. Thank you for your love and support!

  2. Great post! You definitely can’t live up to unrealistic expectations. We women think we have to be perfect and do it all, but we don’t.

    1. Thank you! Absolutely- they’re so many misconceptions out there about what women are supposed to be/do, we can’t possibly keep up with it all.

    1. It definitely requires work but we’re still figuring it out. Just figure out what works in your own household and stay positive!
      I’m always in my feelings lol.

  3. I love this! My huge pet peeve is the cleaning up after him thing. But I’ve come to learn that in the scheme of things it really doesn’t matter. I have a friend that lost her husband and she told me the other day…she would give anything to have to clean up after him. Really puts things in perspective!


    1. Wow, I never thought of it like that! You’re so right- there things in life that are far more important than small pet peeves.
      I hope your friend is doing well xoxo

  4. I’m thinking this is why marriage and many relationships haven’t lasted and I have been looking for the ideal of what our parents and grandparents taught us, but it’s your life to live not theirs and I wish I had learnt that a very long time ago, I fear it is now too late for me being in my 50’s with a chronic illness, but a great read thank you.

    1. Its challenging to find a balance between what you’re taught and how you want to apply those lessons. Sending lots of love to you, thank you for stopping by xoxo

  5. Sounds like you’re off to a great start! I’ve found that the housework will always wait for you so don’t stress so much. I prioritize spending time with my family and doing the best I can with keeping a comfortable, lived-in home– that means messy happens a lot 🙂

    1. The day I realized that I can never be caught up on house work (there’s always something to do!) the less stress I started to put on myself.
      I agree, quality time is a priority and messy comes with the territory! Haha

  6. Such a great post. Date nights are 100% a must! We stopped and it only caused us to grow farther apart. Thank goodness we caught on and decided to start treating ourselves once a week.

    1. It’s so easy to grow apart and get lost in your own separate routines (work, gym, etc.) so I’m glad too that we’re able to realize it too!

  7. Great post, I’ve been married for 35 years, and I totally agree with much of what you advised. Going to bed without resolution happens and sometimes this allows both parties to cool off and think things through! And I absolutely agree with the date night philosophy, time alone, dating, courting each other is imperative to a strong relationship. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Ahh, good! I’m glad that we’re on the right track- it’s good to hear from those who have much more experience than us as far as conflict resolution goes.
      I appreciate the feedback, Cheryl xoxo

  8. A great post!! My boyfriend has recently moved in with me and before when I lived alone, I didn’t mind so much that it was messy during the week as I would have no guests. Now that he lives here I always felt a need to clean up before he arrived home (crazy and a bit OCD I know). I have now got used to him coming home and it not being completely clean, and he also helps do the chores around the house too.


    The Blonde Jetsetter x


    1. That’s the same thing I felt!! I was so used to being in my own space and doing things in my own time but there’s something about being in the same space as someone else that makes you see things differently.
      Not crazy at all- I still find myself frantically cleaning up before I leave the house in case my husband comes home before me haha.
      Thank you for reading, I’m glad you found it relatable!

  9. My boyfriend and I are so different when it comes to cleaning. I always get mad because I want it done perfectly – and my way. Compromising is key!

    1. Haha I used to be the same way too then I realized that it’s great that he wants to be involved. So I stopped fussing and you’re right, compromise is a huge part of it!

  10. What a great post! Date nights are a must! And yes going to be while the issue is still unresolved is ok. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Love this! I sometimes feel like I am not the perfect wife because I am the messy one between us…my husband likes to clean. It was ingrained in my head that Filipino women have to keep everything spick and span…my husband is half-Filipino, half-Mexican, but his dad (on the Mexican side) was raised completely the American way and his upbringing was that BOTH should do the share. He is all for equality too and doesn’t believe that the wife needs to do anything.

    Also, we don’t have kids either (we have 2 dogs though!) and we love having date night as much as possible!

    Hannah the Mad Dog

  12. Such a great post!!! You brought up so many great points!! I especially felt the one about the cleaning! My family is Puerto Rican and we too like our house in pristine condition and it’s been hard for me (even though we’ve been living together for over two years) to deal with the clutter and mess that my bf leaves behind sometimes. I’ve learned to compromise and let it slide every now and then. Thank you so much for sharing!!

    1. The cleaning is always my number one worry but you’re right, I think it all goes back to upbringing. I’m glad you were able to relate, thank you for reading! 🙂

  13. Great Post! ‘Great expectations ‘ so good that you guys talked about this and it makes you realise that a lot of these expectations, we place on ourselves and the other person has a completely different viewpoint! Love you guys! To many more years of growing together in love! God Blessxxx

  14. So much truth in your story. I can relate as a newly wed two years in the game. For I learned I still have to do what I need to do to be happy for myself. I can’t put all that responsibility on my husband.

    1. Absolutely- I couldn’t agree more. Everyday comes with something new to learn and I think the most important thing to do is to embrace the journey and take it day by day 🙂

  15. What a great read! I agree it’s ok to go to bed without resolving an issue. I always hated that, but by time you realize that sometimes it’s better to leave things for tomorrow.

  16. I absolutely loved this post! These are some good points, especially giving each other time to resolve the issues, and that sometimes means going to bed without making up. But I definitely agree with the fact that you need to come to terms with the underlying issue, which is often hard to find without cooling down.

  17. Great post! I completely agree with you and share similar experience. My Nigerian parents engraved the not going to bed angry. I was so terrified if I did go to bed angry that’s the end of my marriage. Well I did and the next morning my marriage was still standing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *