It has always shocked me how many people say the first year of marriage is the hardest. Believe me, I heard it from all sides when M and I were engaged. I was so excited to get married and move in with M, but for some reason people kept trying to drill into my head that I was in for a one-year struggle. I’m happy to say that after being married for one year, I can disprove this myth that the first year of marriage is the worst.
One of the first people who gave me her first year horror story is a friend from church. We had gone out to eat, and me being recently engaged, soon got on the topic of marriage. All I could talk about was the anticipation of finally being married to M, whom I had been dating for over three years at the time, and how great it would be when I didn’t have to leave his house at night anymore, because it would be our house. And the sparkling diamond on my finger kept reminding me it was really happening; we were really getting married. Soon my excitement was met by a dreary warning as my friend began to tell me what life was like after the wedding. Married life for her was full of tears, starting the first night of her honeymoon. She went on telling me how she cried basically everyday for the first year, and not because she was happy. It was as if she had post-partum depression after the wedding. To make things worse, her husband changed jobs several times in just a matter of months, and she had a two hour drive to school everyday. She admitted their lives just weren’t meshing together like they should once being married. So there I am, trying to figure out just how something as exciting as getting married could turn into something so torturous, especially when you’re supposed to be in love.
Another horror story is of an acquaintance of mine, and again, a couple in the church. Their marriage fell flat on its face soon after they were married, and that was no secret. The wife started telling people “If I weren’t a Christian, I’d get a divorce.” What a terrible thing! So what does she try to do to make her marriage better? Have a baby! So now throw a baby into the mix of a couple contemplating the big “D” and picture how it helps the marriage. Of course, it doesn’t.
It really troubled me to think that two Christian people could have such struggles in only their first year of marriage. I mostly thought it would be a problem with people living un-Godly lifestyles. I had this negative message being sent to me from all kinds of people. Just turn on Dr. Phil or Oprah and see how many young married couples on the shows are on the verge of divorce, when just months earlier they couldn’t get enough of each other. The message being sent from everywhere tells you that you go from being best friends to enemies when you take the vow.
Now having gone through a year of marriage, I want to refute the belief that the first year of marriage is going to be the hardest. First, let me make it clear that in no way do I believe that M and I have the perfect marriage, if there even is such a thing. And I am sure we’re not the only couple that experienced a great first year of marriage. I just want to speak against the trash that was talked into my pre-marriage days; that the first year will be a train wreck. It doesn’t have to be that way, and I know this because M’s and mine wasn’t. So if you’re still in the pre-marriage stage, or just beginning to learn what marriage is, listen up!
There is hope! Marriage can be just as fun, and even more fun, than life while you were dating. It’s now official, you and your spouse have made a lifetime commitment to each other, to love and always be there for each other. That’s what you signed up for! So start by enjoying it. A honeymoon is a great kick-off for a great marriage. It’s sets the pace for the first few months of your marriage. So get away! The crying woman in the first story went on a one night honeymoon with her husband to a town fifteen miles from home. That is no a great start. Go somewhere that you don’t have a chance bumping into someone you know. Go somewhere neither of you have ever been. It will now only give you the feeling of true freedom while being with each other, but it will cause you to rely on each other as you start your adventure. Don’t let anyone tell you a significant honeymoon is not important. It is crucial!
And when you get home, find fun things to do together. Go for bike rides, play games, have a sense of humor, cook together, clean together, make shadow puppets, sing stupid songs, surprise each other, go on dates, go camping, hold hands. It may sound cheesy, but it definitely worked for us. Most importantly, keep God the center of your relationship. If you’re living a life pleasing to God, you should automatically be pleasing your spouse. Disagreements and misunderstandings will happen, but have a forgiving and understanding attitude. It will pass, and pick things up right where you left off. You chose to get married, and you chose whom to marry, so now choose to be happy!
To me, the myth has been busted. With the great start our marriage has had, I cannot believe that the first year of marriage is the hardest. But if I’m wrong, if the first year truly is the worst, I can rest assured that I’ve got a lot of incredible years with M ahead of me.