People are lining up to give you advice about how to plan your wedding, but no one really tells you what to expect AFTER the wedding…except for those bummer people who say “It’s all down hill from here” and “The first year of marriage is the hardest!” #BYE. Marriage is a beautiful, lifelong commitment and like most brides, I didn’t really know what to expect. We’ve gathered some insight from some of our favorite ladies (and put in our own two cents) on how to survive your first year of marriage. Enjoy!
- Don’t Keep Score: In other words, “control your petty”. You have to remind yourself that you are not opponents and “being wronged” is not a competition. It’s absolutely okay to forgive and move on quickly from the small stuff. This was a difficult thing for me to master as petty comes naturally to me but I can say I am way happier because of it. Remember that marriage is a marathon and not a sprint. You have a lifetime of living together ahead, so CHILL! – Kunbi O., Editor in Chief of Aisle Perfect.
- Expect the unexpected: Brandon and I had a very unique experience a few months after our marriage. He had life threatening, emergency surgery completely out of the blue. To say it shook our world would be a major understatement. He spent a week in the hospital, and I never left his side. He is in recovery now, and it’s been a really tough and unexpected road. It sucked – no way around it. You don’t expect your honeymoon phase to be full of IV’s and doctor visits and sleepless nights. But you know what? I’ve never felt more connected or in love with my husband. This experience has brought us closer in ways I couldn’t have imagined, and all of my silly insecurities and fears have gone from my mind. So, while I hope none of you brides-to-be experience something like this, I can tell you one thing: What doesn’t kill you sure as hell makes you stronger. And if we can make it through this, we can make it through anything. –Brianna K., Editor, Aisle Perfect.
- Be yourself: Don’t try to follow any rule books; instead learn what works best for the both of you and focus on that. Come together as a team, but never lose your individuality and never stop fueling your passions. Lastly; try to indulge your partner once in a while by pretending to be interested in something they are super interested in. It won’t kill you, and its cute to see them light up and share all that useless information with you – Ozzy Etomi, Writer
- Do not assume they can read your mind: I used to think I was being chill and easy by not asking for what I wanted, only to get resentful when things didn’t go as planned (the epitome of not being chill). I’m a lot more communicative, whether it’s about something important or trivial like me wanting G to take out the trash. By asking for what I want, it clears up a lot of confusion and ensures we’re both on the same page. – Emily Schuman, Cupcakes and Cashmere
- Be patient: Chances are you guys are new not only to this marriage thing but to living together as well. Understanding takes time and it takes a while to adjust to someone else’s quirks. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and take a second to breathe before responding to certain things. Trust me, they are totally not worth it.” – Kike Ojewale, My Velvet Scrapbook.
- Don’t Lose Yourself: It’s so easy to let yourself only exist as a couple, to disappear inside the romance until you’re unable to see yourself outside of the context of your marriage. Maintaining your sense of self is crucial to any successful partnership; you aren’t two halves that complete each other, but two wholes making the decision to navigate the world together”.- Caitlin Kean, The EveryGirl
- Acknowledge and Appreciate: It’s really easy to think a person doesn’t constantly need to hear affirmations or compliments or expressions of gratitude because it must either be obvious to them that you’re happy or perhaps you feel it’s your spouse’s obligation anyway. That’s not true. As human beings we crave attention and recognition. I definitely do. More so from your partner who made a choice to be with you on this brand new journey. Try to be verbal in telling your spouse what they positively mean to you. It encourages and strengthens the bond between you two, knowing that you love them for who they are and the things they do. – Ndali Orepitan
- The first year of marriage was like raging a war on my mind!!! No matter how long you dated for, it’s just a weird time because your mind screws you over based on everything you have heard it should or shouldn’t be. There is no blueprint so don’t buy into it. Spend time renewing your mind, coming up with your own joint ideologies and learning how to fight fair. Study each other and communicate with each other… marriage is just like dating, don’t let a piece of paper make you forget that.” – Tomilayo Aluko, Relationship and Family Coach
- Don’t be under any pressure: Keep your relationship as “business as usual”. Whatever was working for you both before you said “I do”, keep at it and don’t change just because you got married. So much pressure comes with marriage, mainly due to unrealistic expectations. So keep it simple and cut out the “crazy marriage expectations” – Gee Asaam, Knotsvilla
- Communication is KEY. Open your mouth and speak it! Your spouse is NOT a mind reader. You can avoid a lot of conflict by sharing your thoughts. – Foluso Gbadamosi, Serving With Love
- Be careful. Unmet expectations can lead to disappointment that can hinder intimacy in marriage. I know because I have experienced it in my own marriage. There is nothing wrong with having faith that our marriages can be all that God created them to be, but we must have grace and patience, because our husbands are a part of marriage as well and it may take time for us and them to understand our roles and how to fulfill them.” – Jennifer Smith, The Unveiled Wife.
- Let your expectations be known to each other. It’s a partnership so forget the you and me stuff. Y’all become a We and Us! No one is a mind reader so communication is key. There will be conflict! Learn when is best to resolve conflict because straight after an argument may not work with your partner. Also enjoy it; spend time together, love, laugh and make plenty of sweet love! Marriage is delightful – Marcy Dolapo Sijuwade, Actress, TV Host
- Do not underestimate the power of “Date Nights”: Take time out of your week to enjoy each other in a special way- whether it’s at a restaurant, going to a PaintNite or just spicing up your usual Netflix routine by getting popcorn, your favorite candy and a cozy blanket. Once you get into the rhythm of making it a priority, it becomes a part of your journey together. Extra tip? This time should be sacred, so take a break from your iPhone during date night. – Kunbi O., Aisle Perfect.
*cover image by Chi Chi Agbim of TwoTwenty