John and I kicked 2020 off with a bang – our wedding. We did not know that our every day life was going to change so much, starting with COVID-19. We sat down and talked about our first year of marriage and how we made it through all the craziness. Six main things stuck out to us that we want to share with newly weds or those thinking of marriage.
1. Clear Communication
Clear is the key. If it is not clear what is needed when people communicate, then there is still not much fulfillment. We’ve gone back and forth on figuring out what is clear for us and this usually resulted with the other reiterating the other person’s needs. Basically, I tell John what I need and he repeats it back to make sure he understands. I do the same for him.
2. Listen as Much as You Talk
Learn to listen. Your partner needs and/or wants to express how they feel too. John and I both have things we repeat over and over because we are so passionate about them. Do you think he wants to hear another thought on Functun?! No, but he still chooses to listen and support what I love although it may not be his first love. Likewise, I may not want to hear about the next big stock or the price of bitcoin, however, I listen because it means a lot to him. We do this to show each other that we care about what each other enjoys.
3. No Games
Say what you mean! In marriage, we want clear communication (wink, wink). Don’t avoid saying what you are feeling in the moment or you may miss that opportunity to get your needs met. Mind games may be cute when dating, but marriage is the real deal. You want to make sure that you are 100%+ committed to that person and the world you are creating together. We don’t keep score on who is right and there is no competition to see who makes the most money, cleans more, etc.
4. Set Financial Goals
This is very important to both of us. We see ourselves creating lots of financial opportunity in the future and in order to achieve that, we both need to be on the same page with how we allocate our money. We do not make the same amount and we continue to both keep some to ourselves, however, we recommend having the conversation about what is shared. Take the shared and have a plan. Will 33% go to every day needs, 33% vacation and wants, and 34% savings? This will look different for every couple, but it is imperative to determine where the money needs to be allocated.
One thing to keep in mind when setting financial goals is to create a maintenance fund. Maintenance is often overlooked and can cause serious marital issues if not planned accordingly. Unexpected things DO happen! This past year we had trees fall on a shared fence, found a leak in our roof, and also started having air conditioning problems during the hot summer months. We had to take care of the fallen trees ($900) and have set up funds for both the roof and air conditioner
We continue to work on this every day. Emotions tend to take a lead, but we don’t like blowing up on each other when we lose patience. Learn your habits and the triggers that cause this. Is it when you are hungry, late, uninformed? What can you do to avoid these blow ups and continue to be patient for your partner? It is really hard to take back what is done, so make sure your actions are what you really want them to be instead of ruled by impulse emotions.
6. Learn Each Other’s Love Language
You’re in love with your partner so might as well learn what makes them feel LOVED. If you haven’t heard of a “love language” give it a quick internet search. I am fulfilled by words (love, kindness, and encouragement) and actions (cleaning, supporting me, etc.), while John is fulfilled by actions (completing tasks) and communication (talking with me in morning and understanding my goals for the day). Sometimes the main need changes depending on what we are doing each day, and it’s okay to be fluid and change preferences.
They say the first year of marriage is the hardest, but it doesn’t have to be when you keep these six things in mind. We made it though and hope that others following our footsteps can use these main points to help them through the first year of marriage.