When I wrote my 2018 year in review post last week, I was struck with how much y’all loved my wedding posts. I was thinking about ways I can keep sharing wedding related content so I brainstormed a couple ideas… One of which is today’s post: Newlywed Checklist: Tips For Newlyweds. Someone asked me last week if Edwin and I were still newlyweds and I replied that I think we technically aren’t anymore because we’ve been married for over a year. It’s a funny idea to think about because in many ways I do feel like we are newlyweds but in many other ways I feel like we’ve been married for years!
Either way, my greatest blessing is to have Edwin in my life forever. He is the best husband and we’ve already grown together and learned so much about each other since walking down the aisle on our wedding day in October 2017. In that spirit and in the spirit of 2019 weddings kicking off, I thought I’d share a few thoughts and fun tips on the first year of married life, the newlywed year. Here goes!
Tips For Newlyweds
Make Time for Date Night
One of my most fun pieces of great marriage advice for the newlywed year and beyond is to make time for date nights. It seems easy enough right? You’d be surprised at how busy work, social, and travel schedules can get. Edwin travels a lot for work so we add that into the mix too. We make a point to try to go on one date night a week when we are both home in Charleston.
Date nights can look very different for us though as they don’t always involve eating out. We love to cook at home and sometimes trying a new recipe at home is the best date night out there. If we can’t fit in a whole night together, we’ll do a lunch date or a bike ride or walking date to get outside and enjoy each other’s company. Whatever the case, prioritize undivided time with your spouse without anyone else (or phones)! Undivided time together sets the tone for a successful marriage.
Nest/Fix up your Home Together
Make your house a home. I argue that it’s super important to create a space that represents both of you and is a place you actually want to spend time. If your house or apartment is just a place the two of you pass through, then don’t expect to feel as though y’all are putting down roots or creating a happy, inspired, cozy, and fresh space to escape to together. Add personal touches from dates together or trips etc. Example: we have a huge bowl full of matches from different places we’ve been together.
For us, nesting and fixing up a home together has definitely been the biggest surprise in our marriage so far! We originally got married and then moved into a fully furnished house for just shy of a year while we decided if we could make Charleston work with Edwin’s career. I will admit, the feeling of it being fully furnished and decorated with stuff that wasn’t ours definitely wore on me, even more than I realized at the time.
When we started looking for a home, it wasn’t our dream to buy a “project” that needed restoration/remodeling. However, the house we fell in love with and bought required those things. Surprise! It’s been a major growing experience to go through the house purchasing process and the remodeling process together but we’ve learned a lot about our communication lines through it all. So, our experience with nesting/creating a home together is ongoing! I have found it to be an experience with growing pains but also to be an experience that strengthens your marriage.
Plan & Save for your One Year Anniversary Celebration
Edwin’s parents have a wonderful anniversary tradition in their marriage that we plan to adopt as well. They go somewhere every year to celebrate another year of marriage. We love this idea because we cherish opportunities to travel together! We’ve decided that this can look really different from year to year with larger trips happening on special years and small one night staycations on other years. We have years of marriage ahead so we think this will work and be so fun! In terms of this piece of good advice for newlyweds, I would encourage newly married couples to plan a one year anniversary celebration in advance and begin to save for it right away so you can mark your first milestone together with great memories.
Edwin and I decided about 10 months out that we wanted to spend our first anniversary in Vermont so we began saving accordingly. If a trip isn’t up your alley for your one year celebration, then maybe you have your heart set on a great restaurant you normally wouldn’t go to or your eye on a special gift that is generally out of your budget. These are great things to plan for and save for in advance so you will only have joy (and no stress) when your anniversary arrives!
Get Festive for the Holidays and Create your own Holiday Traditions
Newlywed life can be so much fun and, in my opinion, the holidays make the newlywed year even more memorable. We chose to spend time together a lot during the holidays by planning fun date nights decorating our tree, going out to our favorite decorated spots in town, and seeing live Christmas music. Right off the bat, during our newlywed year, we started to create our own holiday traditions! For starters, we’ve decided to prioritize both of our families at Christmastime.
Edwin’s family does a huge Christmas Eve celebration in Los Angeles and my family does a big Christmas Day celebration in Jackson Hole. Our tradition (this 2018 holiday season was our second year) is to fly to Los Angeles for the days leading up to Christmas and Christmas Eve with the Eversole’s and then fly to Jackson Hole Christmas morning to spend Christmas and the days after Christmas with the Attaways. So far, we love it and it has proven to be a fantastic way to see lots of friends and family!
Never Go to Bed Angry
This is an age old piece of advice for building a strong marriage but people are still preaching it because it holds true. Arguments and disagreements (notice how I didn’t say fights) arise even in happy marriages so it is crucial to address them head-on instead of holding them inside. If you settle your disagreements before bed, then you will sleep much better and will wake up on the right side of the bed!
Spend Time Apart and Maintain Outside Relationships
It can be super tempting to spend all your time with your spouse when you are newlyweds because the high of the wedding hasn’t faded yet and because your spouse is presumably your favorite person. I definitely understand this! I’ve been known to joke with Edwin that I wish we were literally attached at the hip so I never had to not be with him, ha! However, it’s super healthy for you and your marriage to get some time apart and to keep your individual female and male friends. You will appreciate your time together as a couple so much more and will feel enriched by your other prospering relationships.
Say Thank You
No person is perfect so it can be easy to find and focus on the negative things someone brings to the table. However, it’s so much healthier to remember all the wonderful things that someone does, says, and provides. Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. So take the time to appreciate your spouse for all that he/she does in the day to day and in the long term by saying thank you. Practice gratitude, use verbal words of thanks. Also, pay attention to all the good things your spouse does instead of the negative. Be truly grateful instead of expectant and you will be surprised at how far that goes with your partner.
Be Quick to Apologize
Is winning or being right ever more important than apologizing, being on good terms with your spouse, or truly listening during an argument? I sure don’t think so! Perhaps my most important piece of newlywed advice is to not be afraid to apologize. It doesn’t make you weak, in fact it’s the opposite!
Talk About Finances
One of the trickiest topics of conversation for newlyweds can be finances. Presumably, before you got married, you never spoke about your finances with anyone other than your parents or a financial advisor. My tips would be to consider a financial advisor if you don’t already have one, sit down and set a monthly budget. Set long term goals for what you want to save for (a house, kids, etc.). Don’t ignore debt, and consider accounts (joint and separate). It’s a lot to think about but don’t forget, two heads are better than one, which is a perk of marriage!
Congratulations to all my newlyweds out there who are reading Rhyme & Reason! I’m so grateful to have you as readers! Above all else, enjoy your time as newlyweds because it is once in a lifetime and truly magical! xx
P.S. Thanks to my brother, Clarke, for snapping these photos of us! Love you!