Not like we have been married very long, I mean, we haven’t even been married a year(!), but we have already learned a LOT about being married!
We did not have a fairytale start to our marriage, and we know we are not alone. We got hit with a LOT of outside stressors that got in the way of us feeling like newlyweds. That totally stunk! Ryan lost his job the week of our wedding (gotta love those budget cuts!) so as soon as we got home from our amazing honeymoon we were hit with the reality of being unemployed. Although I was still working, I was not the main bread winner of the family. We had a house that we were building, saving for someday having a family, and planning more traveling adventures, but everything was put on hold. Oh, and I forgot to mention I had multiple surgeries within the month before and month after our wedding.
These stressors consumed us and we had no idea how to handle them. So, how have we learned to handle them and turn our first six months of marriage around from not feeling like newlyweds to now having that newlywed experience?
We went back to the basics
It’s really hard to tell yourself/each other that you’re not going to talk about those problems going on in your life/relationship. After all, those problems are consuming you, your every thought, how are you not supposed to talk/think about it constantly? It’s easier said than done, I know, but I’ve also done it and can tell you it changes everything. We started a “time out” which for us meant when I got home from work, we would allow ourselves to talk about our days/worries/etc. until dinner was ready and then for the rest of the night… we were on a time out from those problems. For us, during a time out those problems didn’t exist. It took a LOT of effort because most conversations circled back around to the situations at hand, but we had to help each other and redirect the conversation away from those topics.
Keep dating each other
This isn’t just a six months of marriage piece of advice, this is a forever piece of advice for all married couples. Date each other. We don’t have the money to go on fancy dates and although it seems counterproductive to spend money on dates when you’re unemployed, but those dates really helped us reconnect with each other.
So, we changed our version of fancy. Fancy no longer meant making a reservation and (woo-hoo) we can get a Restaurant Week deal for a total of $70;It now meant, let’s grab brunch on Sunday morning for $15 total.
We go on a date once a week. Whether it’s Friday night date night, Sunday brunch date, or we want to save up our date nights to make one fancier one or go to a sporting event, we do that.
Continuing to date each other has definitely been the best thing we have done to help get out of our six months of super stress.
When I say we went back to the basics, I mean b.a.s.i.c.s. We were so caught up with everything going on in our lives, that the pent up frustration about everything that we didn’t feel we had control over, exploded when we felt like we did have control over the situation (aka meaningless arguments).
For us, taking the time to listen to ourselves and what we want to tell each other was huge! Just as important, we had learn to listen and let the other person say all that they would like to say without interruption. Once you’ve heard their peace, take the advice that your kindergarten teacher told you and count to three before you respond. Don’t react, communicate.
Compliment Each Other
When your S.O. catches your eye and makes your heart skip a beat, tell them. Let them know, “Wow, you look so handsome/beautiful today!” Appreciate the things that they do for you and for your relationship. Say thank you. Thank you for working so hard to find a job, thank you for providing for our family, thank you for helping with the dishes, thank you making me tea, etc. For example, instead of getting frustrated that your S.O. didn’t do something the “correct way,” say thank you that they took the time and effort to try. They are trying to help and be more supportive, show that you appreciate that.
Let Loose and Laugh!
When you’re really stressed it’s hard to joke around and be in a playful mood, but try. Brush everything off of your shoulders and laugh with each other. Whether it’s an unexpected tickle fight or playing a board game together, let loose and have some fun. Laughing with each other is the best medicine!!
& Love often
Being intimate with each other is so important. That connection, bond, love for each other extends from the bedroom. Busy schedules, stress, (or surgeries), can make being intimate difficult. It’s hard to get in the mood when so many outside problems are bothering you and keeping you down. So, set the mood and realize being intimate doesn’t always mean being physical. We hold hands everywhere we go and I love that about us, but especially when we couldn’t be (physically) intimate we realized we weren’t even kissing. That was so wrong of us, KISS each other! Hold hands, kiss, snuggle, light a candle, the moment is there waiting for you! Extend your intimacy on a deeper level. Showing you love each other and that you’re attracted to each other doesn’t mean going to bed with them. By doing the things I mentioned above, you’re showing your S.O. that you love them and how hard you’re trying.
We have learned SO much from the past 6 months and after everything, the most important lesson we have learned is at the end of the day, you have each other and that’s all that matters.
Say, “I love you,” and kiss each other goodnight. Enjoy every moment you have with your significant other (you never know how much time you have), and when outside situations start to bring your relationship down, realize that’s what it is, and reconnect with each other.
know we are not the first newlywed couple to experience a stressful road right out of the gate and if you are too, I want you to know you’re not alone and it will get better and be better than ever!