"The First Year is the Hardest"
When I was younger I was told so many times that as you age the years start to fly by faster and faster. I’d say 2018 was definitely the quickest year yet for me, but it was a hell of a good one. I truly can’t believe we’re in December now and the year is coming to a close. With the ending of the year comes another important marker for me, this Monday; December 3rd is my one year wedding anniversary.
Like I said above, there’s definitely some truth in clichés, the whole “time flies” thing wasn’t a lie at all. But one very common phrase I heard over and over again around this time a year ago was, “the first year is the hardest.”
Again and again. “The first year is the hardest.” “Haha, watch out, marriage changes everything, it’ll hit you like a ton of bricks.” “It’s all going to change now, and the first year will be tough.” “First year, first year, first year.” And this was certainly not coming from exclusively negative people, I heard this from divorced friends, happily married family members, you name it. I was distinctly reminded of similar comments made to me when I first moved out of my family home and in with my now-husband. “It’ll take some getting used to.” “The fighting will be bad in the beginning.” I steadfastly remained confident that the two of us are laid back, non-confrontational people and that none of this would be true, but as much as I’d love to say they didn’t, the comments got me wondering. Would it be true? Would it be hard?
Firstly I want to say, if the comments I’ve listed sound like they ring true to your relationship, that’s totally fine. Every relationship is different and some experience difficulties in adjusting at first. But that’s the key here, every relationship is different. And I think people sometimes forget that. In my experience, myself and my husband had the exact opposite outcome from moving in and getting married. Both of us wanted to move in together, to see each other more, to watch movies and order take out without having to worry about who had to go home at what time because we had work the next day. (Side note, no I don’t come from a background where everyone I know is happily married either so I don’t have a warped perception that marriage is this perfect thing.)
In the days leading up to our wedding, we kept reiterating that more and more people were making the “It all changes now,” comment, and we kept shrugging and wondering how a piece of paper and a small (32 person) party would change our relationship. And, in truth, it didn’t. Nothing changed, we didn’t change. We had a killer dinner, a ton of fun and laughs with our families, and the next day we got roast beef sandwiches and mashed potatoes.
I think a lot of this is deeply intertwined with the negative connotations that come along with marriage in general. How often I’ve heard a snide comment about how wives are controlling and won’t let their husbands have fun, or that husbands lust over other women and don’t want to spend time with their wives, is staggering. I can’t imagine being in a relationship like that. Being in a relationship where it’s not fun to be around your spouse, a relationship where your spouse isn’t your best friend, a relationship where you don’t look forward to coming home from work to listen to good music, watch good movies, and chat all night. I also can’t imagine being in a relationship that doesn’t let the other person have their own life and their own fun, and know that that’s normal and ok, knowing that you don’t own the other person and they have their own life to live and their own dreams to follow. Again though, every relationship is different, and I’m very aware of the fact that there are an array of different reasons why people get married, not always for that best-friend kind of love. But for me anything other than that just wouldn’t work.
So no, I never feel like I need a break from my husband. And unless something drastically changes in day 364 or 365, this definitely has not been a hard difficult year of adjusting to married life. In all ways aside from an additional ring and trading in fiancée for wife, it feels exactly the same, which means full of incessant laughter and 80s action movie quotes. My bottom line is, don’t let anyone’s comments influence a relationship that’s yours and not theirs. (Of course, in other circumstances that sentence goes right out the window.) But regarding other people’s negative experience with their own partners being interjected into the advice they give you, take what they say with a grain of salt, smile and nod and know in your heart that it won’t be the hardest year, far from it.