A Honey-Do List for Newlyweds…by a Newlywed: Part 1
So you’ve made it down the aisle – woo-hoo! That is a big feat. We all know how difficult planning can get between the initial “Will you marry me?” and the final “I do!” But, alas, you’re here. What now? Firstly, I’ll admit, I am no expert. Luckily though, I’ve received a lot of wonderful guidance in the (almost) two years that I’ve been married. That guidance has gotten my husband and me through some extremely difficult times, and I’m sure that it will continue to do so in the future. Of course, I’m big on sharing the goods, so here are my top 5 things to do for newlyweds:
1) Let It Go……
Elsa said it best. When it comes to the idea of the fairytale (pun intended), let it goooooooooo. Repeat after me, my marriage is not a fairytale, my marriage is not a fairytale, my marriage is NOT a fairytale. The sooner we let go of that notion, the sooner we can go on to living a real, flawed, beautiful life with our new spouse. You will make mistakes, get on each other’s nerves, and go through real issues with that person. Sure, there will and should be blissful moments that feel akin to a fairytale life, but an expectation that marriage will be no work and all play is a sheer fallacy. In fact, what I’ve learned is that the more “work” we do on our marriage, the easier it is to feel comfortable and loved by each other.
2) Make Friends with Married Couples
This has probably been one of the best things we’ve done for our marriage. We have married friends that range from being our age to being 10 or 20 years older. Some of our friends have been married for three years, while others have been married for close to twenty years. We have married friends with kids, and married friends without. The blessing in having these friends is that they give us perspective. There’s nothing more awesome than being able to be an ear to a friend that is going through something that you’ve triumphed over, or being told by a friend that’s been married longer than you’ve been alive that yes, you will make it over this hump (and the next one). Our married friends hold us accountable, provide positive examples, and at the end of the day are just good fun to hang with.
3) Take A Class
This is pretty similar to number two. You’ll never master marriage, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot continually get better at it. Try taking a marriage class with your spouse. Again, it provides perspective, especially since they’re typically taken with other married couples. It never fails, there will always be that one couple that has figured out something that you and your spouse are currently struggling with, and it will help you to learn new ways to navigate some of the more difficult aspects of marriage.
If you aren’t able to take a class, try reading a book with your spouse. One book that truly illuminated things for me was The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Essentially, Dr. Chapman wrote about the idea that no two lovers are alike. We love, and expect to be loved, in our own “language”. Unsurprisingly, most husbands and wives don’t speak the same love language, and that’s when things get tricky. I HIGHLY recommend this book for all couples.
Do you and your spouse have a blueprint for your marriage? Expectations? A three or five year plan? It’s hard to be successful at anything, let alone a lifelong endeavor like marriage, without planning for it. Take time to plan with your spouse. How soon do you want children, or do you want children at all? Would you two like to stay in the same city for a while, if not, how soon would you like to move? Are either of you interested in furthering your education, if so, how will you plan for that financially? Looking to purchase a home? How will you plan to make that dream happen? All of these things require intentional conversations, and most importantly, planning. Make time to plan with your spouse.
5) Find A Hobby
Here’s the fun part. You married that person for a reason, and I imagine that you love spending time with them. So find something fun to do together! Finding mutual hobbies is a HUGE intimacy boost. Not all intimacy happens after dark. Spending time with your spouse doing something that brings you closer and is good fun definitely will help you two gain serious points in that area. Some of our couple friends run races together. We had friends that loved doing karaoke with each other. My husband and I used to go to a boxing gym together. The idea is to find something that is exclusively yours. It’s only for the both of you to do together, your little thing. Commit to doing it, and watch your relationship grow.
I hope you enjoyed part one of your Honey-Do list! Now get to work, and stay tuned for part two in January 2015!
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