Advice from Not-So-Newlyweds: 10 Things I Learned in the First Year of Marriage

Advice from Not-So-Newlyweds: 10 Things I Learned in the First Year of Marriage

In the spirit of encouraging marriages, I'm excited to share advice from Misty of Misty Saves the Day, a veteran both of the wedding industry and her marriage. Read on to see what she has learned in the last 10 years...and what she continues to put in practice today.

My husband and I got married 6 days after I turned 21. We were young and in love and wanted the world to know it. We’d already been living together, and we decided to live by the mantra of “marriage doesn’t change anything.”

Except it does. And it did.

10 years later, here’s what I can tell you I learned in the first year of marriage:

  1. You are not instantly a better cook. 10 years later, I’m still not, but back then, I instantly thought being a wife meant that I would be able to cook with the best of them. Made sense, right? Get married, become epic housewife. I’m still not, and don’t claim to be. What we DID learn was that Chris is a fantastic cook, and maybe we should let him cook when we have people over.

  2. Spending time together, just the two of you, is crucial. That first year of marriage, we took all the trips. We took day trips, we went away for weekends, we spent weeks away. We didn’t go far, and it didn’t cost a lot of money whenever we did it, but we made sure to spend time with each other. 10 years later, that’s still important (and 10 years, two kids, and two dogs later, it happens a lot less).

  3. Date night doesn’t have to mean an extraordinary dinner. Sometimes date night meant that I went to Fresh Market and we ate something that wasn’t the daily special, and sat around on the floor of our living room and watched hockey. EVERY night we were together was date night. It should feel that way. Just because you attach an anniversary, a birthday, or even just the word “date” to it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t treat every day like this.

  4. Everybody hates laundry. Chris has always been bad about putting his laundry in the hamper. I’ve always been bad about doing the laundry in general (or sometimes just putting away the laundry that I’ve managed to fold). We found our faults, we adapted. Mostly, we just adapted to being slobs when it comes to our laundry, but I promise whenever you see me, there’s a 99% chance that my clothes are clean, they were tumbled to lay flat, and I had to go searching for them.

  5. Play on each other’s strengths. Chris is a fantastic vacuumer. Didn’t know you could be bad at vacuuming? Invite me over and see how perfect the lines on your floor are compared to what I do. While it doesn’t matter THAT much, in our tiny apartment, we had control over whether or not the floor was vacuumed. Chris was good at vacuuming, but he hated (and still does) cleaning bathrooms. I didn’t care one way or another. We suddenly had assigned responsibilities, which made life so much easier when it came to arguments on how messy the house was.

  6. Clean up the dishes every night. I say this, because 10 years later, we STILL don’t do that. Not to say that our house is an insane wreck (I’m making it sound like that, right?), but we never got in the habit. Friends of ours are pros at keeping the kitchen clean right after dinner, and I always think, “that would be wonderful!” and then I start a show instead.

  7. Make friends, and make time for friends. This is both as a couple, and as individuals. Have friends. Include them in your lives, in the important things, invite them to Friendsgivings. Friends are what life is all about and will help fuel your relationship even further.

  8. You are still who you were before you got married. That means just because you took a new last name, or you wife-d up, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have the things that fuel you, separate of your significant other. The things that make you YOU are still important. It’s the biggest mistake that I see couples make: they worry SO much time about spending time together that they lose their individual selves.

  9. Make time for each other. That means that you SHOULD schedule time to just sit and chat. Talk on the drive home from work. Genuinely care about each other’s day. Even if it’s just 5 minutes a day, those should be the best 5 minutes of your day.

  10. Use your words. The biggest piece of advice that I can give any married couple is to talk with each other. If you aren’t happy with something, talk it out. Find compromise. If you ARE happy with something, give them praise. As humans, we thrive on this. Don’t let your anger build up, and don’t become so complacent and happy that you don’t notice the little things. Continue to do those little things.

As I’m writing this blog for Maria, the one thing I notice most of all? These are all still the things that I believe and love about my awesome husband – but sometimes you need gentle reminders. I wrote from the heart when I wrote this, so I didn’t necessarily make a top 10 – I just really looked back at the things that we struggled with, and 10 years later, what makes us awesome now.

And really, what makes it all work? That we work together and we work with each other. That’s honestly all that it’s about. Ultimately, if you find ways to compromise, you find time for yourself, time for each other, and you speak up – that’s all you need. It feels weird to write this like I’m an expert. Here’s the other thing you should know: NO ONE is an expert. No one does it perfectly. We sure don’t do all of those things perfectly. Marriage is work. It’s not always perfect. It’s especially hard right in the beginning. It’s how you navigate that that gives you a marriage that works or one that doesn’t.

Misty Saves the Day

The Professional Bio: Misty Prewitt has been in the wedding industry in Hampton Roads for almost ten years. As the owner of Misty Saves the Day, a social media marketing, branding, and consulting company specializing in weddings and co-creator of ISO:ALT, an online publication aimed at pushing the creative envelope for both couples and wedding vendors.

With a background in Communications and Counseling with a degree from Old Dominion University, Misty has been privileged to use both skills in her field, working closely with couples and wedding vendors alike, whether it be helping choose attire for their big day, or working with vendors to better market their business through networking, creativity, getting published, and social media.

The Personal Bio, written by one of my very best friends: Misty Prewitt has a creative spirit and a heart three sizes too big for her tiny little body. She is a fiercely loyal friend, amazing wife to Chris, and incredible mom to Piper and Wren. When Misty loves you she does it with her whole self. Her energy and enthusiasm for her life, her work and her friends and family are rivaled only by her immense and diverse talents.

Maria Grace Photography

My name is Maria, and I am a wedding and family photographer based out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, but I am always excited about traveling. I love families who truly enjoy spending time with each other and living life together. I love couples that are looking forward to their wedding day because they are so excited to finally be married to.