We got engaged 9 months after our first date and got married 9 days after our first dating anniversary. I was 30 and he was 31.
We knew we were rushing things, but he received orders to Japan and we knew we wanted to get married, so we took the logical next step in order to stay together. Instead of doing a courthouse marriage (which would have been very easy to plan in a 90-day crunch), we decided to have a traditional wedding at in San Diego in front of 10 guests.
Looking back, there is a lot I’d do differently, but the one thing I would not change is the getting married part. Our love is abundant and our marriage is highly functioning and what we need it to be (not the most romantic description, but an honest one).
Because we got married so quickly, we had a lot of learning and growing to do in our relationship with each other. Of course, I think every day of a healthy relationship involves growth and change, but we had some extra work to do because we still had so much to learn about each other.
Some of the growth was very challenging. Looking back, I wish we had worked with a marriage counselor for the first few months of our marriage as a way to learn about this marriage thing. We hardly fought, but we had a lot of growing pains. I think the growing pains are normal, but we didn’t know they were normal. I, for one, wasn’t comfortable talking to my parents or married friends about our growing pains because I thought that they would think that our marriage was failing or they would think poorly of us. I wish I had asked for advice. Through it all, though, we have learned a lot about ourselves, each other, and what it means to be married, and I am thankful for those growing pains. Our perseverance through them made for a strong marriage, now 2 years in, and I am absolutely certain that I married the right man for me. He’s everything I need and want, he is an outstanding partner, and I love him more then I can put into words.
Here are some things I wish I knew when we got married:
– It’s okay to grow into your marriage. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean a lot will change suddenly or that you will enter a new plane of love immediately, and that’s okay.
– You will have good times and bad times, and some days are worse days then others. The important thing is that you want to continue working on your marriage and moving forward together.
– Growing pains are normal and you shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed that you have them. Ask for advice or help if you need it. Battle through. It is better on the other side!
– Marriage is hard! You don’t say ‘I do’ one time; you say ‘I do’ every day of your marriage, and sometimes multiple times a day. Marriage is a daily decision and recommitment.
– Marriage is a partnership and friendship. The partnership/friendship aspect is equal to the love aspect. Love has highs and lows, life circumstances will bring you down at some point, and you’ll have disagreements along the way. A healthy partnership and friendship will carry you through the hard times and light the way forward.
– You’re not going to like all of your spouse’s friends and activities, and that’s okay. It’s okay to do some activities individually. Actually, it’s important for both partners to have their own space – physically and emotionally – which includes having some friends and activities of their own.
– Even though you’re married, you should still have a sense of privacy. My husband and I know each others’ passwords for email, Facebook, etc, but I’ve never snooped on his accounts and he doesn’t snoop on mine. When you snoop, you don’t just invade your partner’s privacy, you also invade the privacy of their friends and family. Sure, your partner shouldn’t be hiding anything, but there are some conversations, emails, etc, that are better-off unread, ESPECIALLY those that relate to your partner’s work/professional career. Some couples do things differently, but that’s my 2 cents.
– Awkwardly, sometimes exes and people from your past will come out of the woodwork when you get married. Their chance to rekindle has now passed, and they’re sad. Beware of lurking wolves.
– It’s easy to focus on your partner’s negatives, and the challenge is to balance those negatives in your mind with all the positives. If you’re like us and didn’t live together before marriage, this part can be especially challenging. Be kind and give each other some space to be imperfect. Compromise.
– Continue to have date nights and quiet time together (or loud time, if that’s what you prefer). Since we live on base, we are constantly asked to go out to dinner, drinks, to events, on vacations, etc, with friends. I don’t know anyone who is more social then us, save one other couple friend. It’s a challenge to pick-out days where we do something just for us, but I insist on those days. Since we are both introverts, we need that quiet time away from other people, too (yes, we are social introverts. Call it a product of my husband’s profession).
– If you’re a military spouse, resist the urge to make your husband’s military career your identity. I say this because I see far too many friends get caught-up in their husband’s job. They try to fight battles for their husband and their happiness is tied to his work life. Give yourself some space from his career. Many of us prioritize our spouse’s military career over our own in order to get him or her to 20 years, so we may not have a lot going on professionally of our own. This is especially hard when you’re a brand new military spouse and you had to leave your career in order to be with your spouse. Identify something of importance to you and do that thing. Have something of your own that maintains your own personal happiness, whether is volunteering, working part time with animals, selling crafts, or working on personal projects.
That’s all I’ve got for now 🙂 Do you have any suggestions or advice for newly married couples?
Also, just want to share that I’m still physically feeling really bad. I have an appointment with a specialist on Tuesday, which I am very excited about. I’m going to undergo an out-patient procedure that will answer a lot of questions. We’re experiencing some complications now, too. I’m nauseous all day everyday and It’s getting me down, but I feel positive that questions will be answered and things will workout. I’ve had to do a lot of arguing with the medical powers-that-be here, but I seem to be winning this fight. My daily mantra recently has been to “keep calm and carry on” and maintain my stiff upper lip. I’m channeling my inner Queen Elizabeth.