If you’re engaged, newly married, or even just talking about getting married, my guess is that someone along the way has said to you,
“The first year of marriage is the hardest!”
I had SO many people say this to me when Sterling and I got engaged. The general consensus was that it is so difficult to adjust to a new life with your new spouse, especially when you’re Christians that haven’t lived together yet. I would listen to the so-called advice people kept giving me, but definitely wondered how accurate it was. It was kind of scary; thinking “Is it really going to be that bad?” The horror stories kept rolling in, from late night yelling matches to women saying, “Who is this person I married?!” I was also forewarned that my positive expectations for our sex life were very unlikely, “You won’t have as much sex as you think you will, that’s for sure.” Another warning I received was, “Forget about your privacy!” and “Say goodbye to romantic date night.”
All these negative experiences were all put on me before I even walked down the aisle! Then, that wonderful day came and went and now I’ll be celebrating 2 years of marriage in just a few months. And guess what?
MY FIRST YEAR OF MARRIAGE WAS AWESOME.
Yep, that’s right! Mind blowing, I know. I have no horror stories to share and Sterling Brice Key proved to be exactly who said he was! If that first year was “the hardest” then I’m looking at some amazing years ahead. Here’s the deal, everyone’s experience is different. For some, I’m sure adjusting to all that change was very difficult and a lot to handle. I can remember that amongst all the negative feedback coming my way, one woman who’s like a second mom to me shared a little piece of wisdom. She said;
“People will ALWAYS say ‘the first year’s the hardest,’ ‘look out for the seventh year stretch,’ or ‘after the first decade it’s all down hill.’ But you know what Kendra? My husband and I have never had “a bad year.” Of course we’ve gone through ups and downs, and times can be hard, but we never let that affect our marriage long-term. It’s all dependent on how you face the things the world throws at you. Don’t let others tell you what your marriage will be like. You and Sterling are the only ones who decide that.”
Those were amazing words from an amazing women. She was SO right. After just one year of marriage I already learned so much. Don’t let other people dictate what your marriage will be like. Sterling and I face things together, and of course we’re not perfect. We have our moments where we get in arguments or don’t agree, but at the end of the day, I get in bed with the love of my life and even if I’m frustrated I can say, “I love you” before we fall asleep. We know that we will go through tough times, but we will always strive to fight for our marriage.
So now that I’ve cracked the “first year” myth, I want take a moment to respond to those negative comments and horror stories I was told before I got hitched.
“Who is this person I married?”
Often times when people are dating or engaged there is this false belief that all of a sudden once they’re married, everything will be different! Wrong. The person you are dating will not magically be flawless once you tie the knot. So often people ignore issues in their relationship because he or she thinks that once they are a married couple, everything becomes easier and your love is so much stronger. That’s not how it works. If your man is over-protective and jealous, marrying him will not change that. If your significant other speaks down to you at times, becoming their spouse will not change that. I am so thankful that Sterling and I went through awesome pre-marital counciling before we got married. We knew each other so well before making the commitment to be married. Nothing surprised us once we were married.
“You won’t have as much sex as you think you will, that’s for sure.”
Excuse me?! Did you just try to tell me how MY sex life is going to be? HA. That’s funny, because last time I checked that’s NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. And since you’re so interested in my sex life, I’ll let you know, I have AWESOME sex with my husband. [Okay, rant over. I can just see some of you that have known me for years thinking, TMI!] But really, nobody has a right to tell you what will happen between you and your spouse in the bedroom. That is something that is extremely intimate and personal. Now don’t get me wrong, having a healthy sex life with your spouse is not always easy, it takes hard work. Life tends to get in the way sometimes, but it’s worth working on. [I could go on and on about this topic, but I’ll save it for another post.]
“Forget about your privacy!”
This is an easy one. I’ll keep it short and sweet. When I decided to enter a covenant relationship with my husband, we became ONE. Therefore, all that is mine is his and vice versa. And yes, it’s very healthy to have alone time and not be together 24/7. But there is nothing I should ever need or want to keep from my husband, so privacy is not something I’m concerned about.
“Say goodbye to romantic date night.”
To avoid this from becoming true, you NEED to have a regularly scheduled date night! For some couples, it is necessary to pick one night a week that is always date night, but for others it happens organically. My husband and I make sure to have a date night every week, but it looks different every time. Some weeks we will go to dinner and a movie on a Monday night, and others we will just make our favorite meal at home and watch our favorite show on Thursday. The point is, it’s time spent that is INTENTIONAL and set aside just to be together.
I think I have a rambled on enough, but there’s one last thing I want to mention. People will ask me all the time, “So what’s been the hardest thing about being married?” I feel like I never know how to answer that. Instead I always talk about something that I truly think is vital to keep things from being overly hard. Don’t sweat the small stuff. That may sound really cliché, but let me explain. I’ve seen so many couples let little things matter, which makes them a bigger deal than they really are. Marriages have literally ended because a couple couldn’t stop sweating the small stuff. For example, when we first got married Sterling would always put his dirty dishes in the sink, NOT the dishwasher. Ugh!!! Like, what’s so hard?? Just put them in the dishwasher that’s 3 inches away from the sink! But, why even complain? Why be upset? It takes me about 20 seconds to put the dishes in the dishwasher. That’s the least I can do for my husband. So, here is my last piece of advice: don’t worry about the laundry getting done or your coats getting hung up. Does it really matter? Don’t sweat the small stuff, instead pay attention to the big stuff and never stop being intentional.
Here’s to many more years that I hope are just as “hard” as my first year of marriage. Because that would be fantastic.