A year on from vowing to love Andrew no matter what for the rest of my days, and I feel an overwhelming sense of calm. I don’t know if it’s an acceptance that the “honeymoon period” and “post-wedding blues” are behind us, or whether we’ve gone through the cycle of newly-wed firsts: “first married Valentines day”, “first married holiday after the honeymoon…”, but on the morning of our anniversary, I awoke feeling notably at ease. I look back at the unprecedented calm that washed over me on that same morning a year before. The calm of knowing completely and absolutely that my life was about to change for the better.
Since that time, I’ve tousled with my own identity. I’ve pondered my new position in the world, my new family, my new beginning. I’ve felt guilt at the thought that our wedding day didn’t feel like the illusive “best day of my life”; I’ve mourned for the elation that I know I’ll never feel again – at least not in the same capacity. I’ve taken a good long look at myself, at who I want to be, what path I want to forge for myself, and for us.
When reflecting just a few months ago about life 9 months into marriage, I was concerned that we seemed to be living on pause. That this phase in our lives was merely momentary; that the plans we were making, and those we were hoping for, could soon be upon us and our world would be turned upside down again. But in reality that’s how it’s always going to be. Nobody knows what’s around the corner, no matter how stringently you plan, so the way we live our lives for now, our priorities, our ideas, they’re all temporary anyway. We are always evolving, both individually, and together.
I think it is an acceptance of all of these things that brought a sense of peace to me on our anniversary.
We kept the celebrations pretty low key. Just something small and intimate for the two of us. Since our anniversary is on the brink of Christmas, it was special enough to slow down and take ourselves off for a quiet day, just us two. We enjoyed lunch at a restaurant in a quaint village just out of town; shopped for a special anniversary bauble to begin a new Christmas tradition; and rounded the evening off with a cosy viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life at the local community cinema.
And it was perfect.
Marking the anniversary of our marriage encouraged me to reflect on the past year – much like how New Year’s Eve conjures a similar reflection. Inwardly, I evaluated how I have changed, become more comfortable with my new role as a wife, understood what it means to be married to Andrew. We haven’t had the easiest of introductory years to marriage, but then we have had by no means the worst either. I’ve seen how we both react to different situations. How we can celebrate together in each other’s triumphs; how we have consoled each other at sombre times.
Looking back over the past year, the thing that stands out is the togetherness that I feel, in the good times and the bad. There is a solidarity between us, a security. No matter what the situation, I know I will always get through it as long as I have Andrew by my side, and something about being married to him makes that solidarity even stronger. My number one supporter, my encourager, my consoler and my friend. And I like to think he has a similar solace in me.
We both agreed that our anniversary felt like our very own private new year celebration. Resolutions were made, even if not spoken out loud. As we venture into the unknown of another year ahead, it excites me to dream of the possibilities our second year of marriage will hold for us. How much more will we learn about each other, about ourselves? How much closer will we become? Could this year be the year we start our own family…
As much as we’ve been trying, and that monthly ‘two week wait’ seems to get longer and longer each time, I’m almost grateful that we’ve been allowed this year to navigate by ourselves. No distractions. We know that when and if the time is right, we’ll get the family we want. And if we don’t, that’s ok too, because our love for each other will always be enough to keep the world an exciting place, and to keep us moving forward, together.
So what have I learned after a year of marriage? So much more than I ever thought I would. I’ve learned new things about my husband, silly anecdotes and subtle quirks I might not have noticed before. I’ve learned new things about myself, how I see the world, how I want to live in it. I’ve learned how being married has made me stronger, more capable of taking on whatever life throws at me. I’ve learned to let life take it’s course. To be flexible with plans and not so hard and fast with rules (although I’m still working on the latter!)
Above all, I’ve learned that two people really can be everything to each other. They can be the worst antagonists but also the greatest allies. They can be the dream-givers and the voices of reason. They can be the jesters and the shoulders to cry on. I believe that as the years go on, we’ll develop more parts of ourselves, striving to be everything we can be for each other, knowing what we need to be for each other in all of life’s unpredictable situations.
What did you learn in your first year of marriage? Share your wisdom on Twitter @LoveinMindBlog