You And Me Equals Us: 13 Things I Learned In My First Year Of Marriage

by Christopher Perry

My marvelous, beautiful wife and I just celebrated our first anniversary.

But after almost five years together, we still haven't really figured it out.

(Actually, we haven't figured any of it out. You really shouldn't even be listening to me. Go find people who have been together for 30 years and talk to them. I'll do the same.)

That being said, this past year has been the most challenging and rewarding of my life. So, if you still care what I have to say, here are the things I've learned over the last 365 days:

1. People communicate differently.

My wife and I are working hard to learn how to communicate with each other. She likes to talk things out, and I avoid all confrontation.

Now she gives me time to gather my thoughts, and I have learned to use my voice.

2. Marriage isn't always easy; it takes work.

Marriage, a house and having a responsibility to take care of my family gave me hardcore anxiety. It really took away from our marriage because I wasn't able to be present.

At first, it was hard for my wife. But, she learned how to be supportive, and now I think our relationship is better than ever.

It also took time for me to realize I'm not the only one with stress and anxiety.

3. I had no idea how selfish I was. (There is no more I.)

I'm sure I'm not alone here, but it was much easier for my wife to think of us as a team rather than individuals. It's not Chris and Kelly anymore. It's "us" and "we."

4. You should still be a little selfish.

That being said, you still need to be a little selfish and do things that make you happy.

You still need some alone time and should go out with your friends, sans the old ball and chain.

5. You don't have to agree on everything or have the same beliefs.

My wife and I have slightly different views on faith, money, how many kids we want and even style and fashion. And that's okay, as long as we respect each other's views.

6. Don't stretch yourselves too thin.

Take some time to just chill. Take a nap, binge-watch "Orange Is The New Black," or just do nothing.

7. You don't have to give up or turn in your man card.

I feel sad for dudes who just give up because they're married. I'm not done partying, traveling and doing cool sh*t.

In fact, I'm even more excited about those things because I get to do them with my best friend.

8. Sometimes, you just need to listen.

As humans, we have the urge to solve problems and really just to talk. In marriage, or in any relationship, you should listen about 80 percent of the time. But, sometimes we just need to vent.

9. Actions speak louder than words.

Don't tell her you are going to do it. Do it.

10. To trust and be trusted are amazing feelings.

Don't f*ck it up.

11. Be present, and get excited about every moment you get to spend together.

Tonight, my wife and I grilled out and had some beers on our patio. It was freaking awesome.

12. Never settle.

Make your life together everything you want it to be.

13. Say "I love you."

Things will inevitably get really tough, like way harder than either of you could probably imagine. But, you know what? The best is yet to come.