Nearly four years ago, I married the man I love in a small ceremony in a Las Vegas chapel. We did not have a traditional wedding. We designed it that way! I did not wear a white dress with a flowing train, and we did not have 500 of our closest friends and family there to witness our formal commitment. We gave each other simple wedding bands to mark the occasion and posted our “thankfulness” for each other on Facebook to announce our nuptials.
Did I mention we were married on Thanksgiving Day? We had a blast that day!
Here are 36.5 lessons we learned during the first 365 days of our marriage — my second and his third.
You will be tested. People do some stuff sometimes. Forgive your spouse and move on.
Away from kids, work and home — should be regularly observed. Can’t fly to a remote destination? Take a drive to a different part of town. Go for a walk. Be together.
Nurture your connection with things or words that speak to your spouse.
Instead of using words to communicate via text, send memes or GIFs.
It’s OK not to be right all of the time. (We’re still working on this one.)
Being open and communicative as a family is in the best interest of your children and your ex-spouses.
Have your spouse’s back.
He loves you very much and wants to be a good husband. Try not to nag him so much.
You may be surprised how much you like something that you never thought you would. My new loves: camo and archery.
Criticize less and encourage more.
It is good to spend time away from your spouse — with friends or by yourself.
If you can’t trust your spouse, who can you trust?
A lot. Like bowl-full-of-jelly laughs. You’ll never regret it.
Tell the same goofy story over and over and over and over.
Your spouse should be your closest, truest friend.
Be willing to cry. Be willing to share your deepest fears and desires.
Sometimes, family and friends will resent your happiness. You will not let that faze you.
Financial transparency is paramount to a marriage, especially if one person is handling the cash flow.
You will sleep better, I promise.
Ask for help when you need it. (We’re still working on this, too.)
Boundaries may need to be in place for extended family relationships. This is OK.
Marriage first, kids second.
I don’t know if it’s scientifically proven to enhance relationships, but it sure makes us feel connected.
Look for the small things he does to show you he loves you.
Keep a secret journal and write loving messages to each other often.
Write flirty messages to each other on the bathroom mirror after a shower so your spouse sees it the next time she takes a shower.
Less stress and more sex. Seriously.
Never let anyone love you who treats you as if you were ordinary. You are good and worthy of love.
It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out conversation.
Find someone who appreciates your level of weirdness.
Romance is not dead.
You know, like housecleaning and yard work.
Find a couple (or a few couples) that you admire and have been married longer than you to mentor you.
Look the other person in the eye when having a conversation. Are you listening?
Be willing to apologize sincerely when you make a mistake.
There is no shame in being in a second (or third) marriage. Love and be loved.
What did you learn the first 365 days of your second — or third — marriage? Share with us in the comments below.
Originally published at www.sheknows.com