I’ve heard some people refer to it as the honeymoon year, and I’ve heard others say it’s the toughest year of them all.
When people ask how long I’ve been married and I respond with any answer that is equivalent to less than 365 days, the response is always something along the lines of, “Ohhh, you’re a newlywed!”
But, what the heck does it even mean to be a newlywed?
And, if people date for various lengths of time before getting married, why is this year consistently so unique for each and every couple?
Here’s the deal:
1. You give... a lot.
Okay, so maybe you've already heard this, but you won’t actually realize just how much you sacrifice, albeit willingly, for your partner until you’re about six months into your marriage.
Somehow, after years of swearing off dishes, I now load the dishwasher every now and then.
It’s like magic. But, it’s bigger than that, too. You learn to care for your spouse as an extension of yourself, and it pays off.
2. Because you also get… a lot.
Just like something about being married triggers a sense of giving, it does the same for your partner.
Oh, another thing you’ll get a lot of questions that include both the words “children” and “when” from absolutely everyone you know.
3. You don’t always fight about money.
But, you certainly will sometimes, even if you never did before. When times are good for one of you, you can assume that the other will reap the benefits, and when times are bad, you’ll both feel the heat. Get ready to see both sides.
4. Your spouse’s family treats you differently.
And often, in a good way! All of the sudden the hugs and “I love yous” start to roll in from aunts, uncles and second cousins you’ve only met once before.
And whether it’s real or not, you will feel pressure to have a pristine house with a full fridge when any single one of them comes to visit.
5. Your friends treat you differently.
All of a sudden, when you don’t want to go out to the bar, it's okay. Some mysterious barrier marriage seems to erect that pushes some people back about 10 feet or so.
Expect to be given your space when you want it. And, get ready for every single one of your friends to say, “How’s married life?” during each conversation, as if nuptial vows somehow result in the creation of a new universe.
6. You treat your friends differently.
That new universe I was talking about? Yeah, some days you’ll totally live in it.
But, because it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day and take that personal space you’re now more willingly offered, you’ll find yourself making it a point to fight the urge to stay in every night.
And, you’re okay with that as long as HBO Go and Thai food are involved.
You learn to value friendships for the sacred connections they bring on a very different level when you spend most of your days the same person, which leads to the next point…
7. Some days, you’ll really want to have a day or two without your partner.
My husband has a way of scattering wire hangers throughout the house that makes me feel like the mother in the movie "Mommy Dearest."
I can’t seem to get work done when he’s around; think countless, obnoxious yawns before you’ve had your morning coffee and video game noise levels that don’t seem to register with his ear drums.
Sometimes, you’ll be ready for your partner to go ahead and take that business trip.
8. And then, after a few hours, you’ll really want your partner to come home.
As soon as those wheels take off from the airport runway, you’ll miss him or her.
Waking up to a house void of those obnoxious yawns in the morning just doesn’t feel right. Plus, I also tend to miss my husband taking out the trash.
9. You experience a new level of comfort.
So not every day is bliss, but a certain feeling of wholeness definitely does overpower the stench of morning breath.
The minutest worries you had when dating or even while engaged fly out of the window and suddenly, there is no topic out of bounds.
In the first year of marriage, you begin to realize the deepest of connections you’ve made with another human being, and suddenly, there is no need for embarrassment or hiding anything — gynecologist visit recaps and all.
10. But, the mystery is totally still there.
If the first year is anything that one word can describe, it’s got to be “revealing.”
You’ll learn more about your partner than you knew even if you two already dated for 10 years. But, every day still presents a new opportunity to both learn and grow with him or her.
After all, it’s only been a year.