(As told to Sanjukta Das)
As exhilarating it is to be getting married to the person you love, the years to come are going to be less so; because it is so much more than you expect it to be. And you have to be open to learning, marriage lessons are on the way.
The first year of any marriage is a torrid affair. Experiencing the highs and lows of each other and the marriage, with its ups and downs, the first year of marriage “wet cement year” of marriage tests your patience and how good you are with living with each other. It sets the foundation of your marriage. The first year of being married is not a piece of cake. Sometimes it’s a cake walk, while other times you want to accidentally burn your house down so that your spouse dying seems a tragic affair. Believe me, anyone who has ever been married, getting accustomed to the marriage takes time and patience (a lot of patience).
Getting through the first year of marriage can be tough for few, especially since love is not the only thing that binds a couple together.
Being married has taught me that there are times when you bite your tongue and suck it up and not explode in angry bursts of energy at the sheer stupidity of my wife. No, I am not saying all wives are stupid. It’s just that when you live with a person, like really live with a person after being married, you notice the little things you have not before. Morning breath do not seem so sexy. Her cooking is most often unsavory. And don’t even get me started on hair stuck in the shower drain. I mean how does one even have hair left after losing so much? So, after I brought these things up in the middle of a fight, there was furious upheaval at my house.
But interestingly, I have gotten used to seeing that chunk of hair there. I don’t feel icky anymore. I don’t feel the need to pick at her for this in the same way she does not nag me for occasionally picking my beard while sitting at my desk. Both hairy things are disgusting but we have both made peace with it. My wife makes it a point to keep the shower drain as clean as possible and I have gotten over my nasty habit of plucking my beard.
So, my first marriage advice: Learn to let go of the little faults. Faults, that are less of marriage-threatening, and more of a character flaw.
25 Marriage Lessons We Learned In Our First Year Of Marriage
Marriage problems in the first year mostly were based on the things we did not know about one another. Like I didn’t know she got crushes on random people too often. At first it threatened me a lot and insecurity crept up quite often, but after three couples’ therapy session, I learnt it was just me being weird for my past trauma of being cheated on by my girlfriend. Thank you, Anjali for that. Also, developing crushes are normal. Also, my wife is too lazy to go do anything about them.
So, here are a few marriage lessons I learnt in my first year of marriage that lets us navigate through this river of love:
1. Love will not get you through everything
Marriage is more than just love. Trust, honesty and communication – this is a deadly combo. You get these right, you will not have to resort to love to make a blissful marriage. Mess this up and get ready to be repaying for it.
2. Let the little things go
Especially if they are habits that annoy you. Don’t go changing them for your convenience. Unless their nasty habit is picking their nose in public. In that case, please tell your spouse to stop doing that.
3. Spice up that bedroom
Literally lather them up in tandoori mayo and lick them good, if that helps. Chocolate tastes good as well and doesn’t sting as much.
4. You can lean on your spouse
This is mostly for the men out there; it’s okay if you have had too many pegs and can barely stand up. Let your wife carry you home for a change. It will require a lot of cussing and dragging you through the road to get to the cab, but let her. There’s no need to feel guilty about it. Drunk or not drunk, it’s okay to lean on your partner on your off days. They have the strength to carry you. One of the most important marriage lessons.
5. Do not go out of touch
Quite literally again, touch more and touch often. Nothing sexual. A little pat goes a long way.
Related reading: 13 non-sexual touches to feel intimate and close
6. Equality is not 50-50, it’s 100-100
Mathematically, it doesn’t make any sense but housework and everything in your life has to be divided equally. But on days your spouse is sick, you will have to pick up your own bag off the couch, cook meals and clean the toilet. You have to give your hundred percent.
7. Procrastinating talks
Because you are uncomfortable you keep procrastinating talks but it won’t cut it. Need to talk about having kids? Do it now. Don’t just let it hang in the air.
Like really listen. Listen to your wife while she is getting her hair done. Don’t tune out the rant about her boss. You don’t need to offer any advice, all you have to do is listen.
9. Listen and understand
If your spouse says “the music is driving me crazy”, don’t ask what kind of music they want to listen to. Just turn off the damn speakers. This is a tricky thing to learn and I have got it wrong most of the time. But I learnt. And it remains one of the most helpful marriage lesson.
Related reading: Here’s how you can improve your relationship by listening better
10. You are never right
Chant it with me: I am never right. In marriage, you don’t need to prove who is right and who is wrong. Your spouse is always right. Tables can be turned later when you get to say “I told you so”, but the spouse is always right.
11. Cute won’t stay cute forever
What you found cute in the beginning might start to annoy you. The snorting she does when she laughs, I got annoyed with that. But that’s marriage – sometimes you got to suck it up.
12. Fight, but with a plan
We have actually started this really late. Three months into our marriage, my wife and I continued fighting like we used to when we were not married. There are Hindi slurs we threw at one another; those slurs were not good to hear. Brings a bad energy to the house.
While fighting now, we do not abuse each other because now we have learnt since our families are joined, some slangs shouldn’t be thrown around so carelessly. Converse about the things you can call each other when angry and those that you cannot use.
Fight with a plan.
13. You cannot, MUST NOT throw your spouse under a bus
Not literally though. You should be united, especially when you are with people. If your spouse does not like one of your friends and doesn’t want them to know but you go ahead and tell them that anyway – it’s a wrong move on your part. Always second your spouse, no matter what.
Related reading: 8 ways to fight respectfully with your spouse
14. Learn from one another
My wife is a Bengali; I am a stark Rajasthani. Our cuisines are different. Initially, whenever food was prepared, we did it the way food was cooked back home in Rajasthan. Six months later, she didn’t quite like it anymore. So, I learnt how to cook egg curry the Bengali way. She taught me other dishes as well. And I taught her how to make round rotis.
15. Expect darker sides of your partner to come up after marriage
What you know about your spouse before getting married is just the tip of an iceberg (in a very non-threatening way).
If you learn darker things about your spouse, don’t over react. There’s no point in that; you are already married.
16. Do things to make them like you more
They might love you, but after a point they might not like you. Do things like you used to when you were going out. Let them know you are not going to stop making efforts just because you are married.
Buy them chocolates on the way back from office. Grab their favourite croissant from the bakery.
17. Don’t skimp on date nights
CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. Skimping on date nights mean you are letting yourself get lazy. And that’s not cool.
18. It’s okay to go to couples’ counseling
If you feel you cannot deal with the bit of tension in your marriage, it’s alright to seek professional help. What you cannot say to your spouse at home, you might be able to do so with a counsellor.
Related reading: 10 ways marriage counselling can solve your issues
19. Life decisions are important, take one step at a time
Don’t rush into things. Planning to buy a house? Be extra sure you really want to take a loan out to buy a house right away. Impulse buying should not be on your list.
20. When in doubt, travel together
Even if that means a short ride to Lonavala. This is not just a marriage lesson. This is marriage mantra.
21. Don’t let things get monotonous
Work-home balance disturbs the bliss of marriage. Leave your work at work when you return. Things will get monotonous if you make a habit of it. Also, keep the weekends mostly free to spend whole days together, even if that means laying around on the couch.
22. Don’t expect a blissful first year
Since we were so good on paper I thought we would never fight. But we fought for little things and that equally freaked us out. Now we know marriage is hard work. Yelling, crying, throwing stuff is normal.
We are still working on the throwing-stuff-when-angry part, but we will get there.
Related reading: 22 Tips to Survive the First Year of Marriage
23. Passive-aggression does not have a place in marriage
Just don’t. You are married for love’s sake! Don’t say you are okay if you are not.
24. Stay less on social media
I am a social media person. My wife does not like me posting embarrassing photos of ours to be put up on social media. Marriage can survive without Instagram stories. If your spouse does not like broadcasting your personal lives on the internet, maybe tone it down a bit.
25. Do not trash talk relatives
If you do not like your spouse’s second cousin and if you have a foul mouth, it’s better to not voice those opinions. They are your spouse’s family and no amount of trash talking is going to change them. But it might hurt your spouse. So, tone that down as well.
First year of marriage is more about surviving just the first year. It will set how you grow as a newlywed to a happily married couple. As much as it is to enjoy yourself in the beginning, it is equally important to know what works for you together and what doesn’t. To each couple their own.