• Courtney McLane Mize

30 Things I Learned In My First 30 Days Of Marriage

Well, we did it. We survived our first month of marriage! Not only that, we survived our first month of marriage while officially moving into our one-bedroom Texas apartment, with our puppy, and Tyler kicking off the school year in a new district, with a new grade of students, teaching a new subject. I wish we, or me, I wish I could say that everything is just as perfect as our wedding day and we are basically dancing on clouds all day errday. But to be totally honest, that is just not the case. Don’t get me wrong, marriage is awesome! Hands down the best choice I have ever made, for real. But I have experienced a lot more emotion in the past 30 days than I was prepared for. Maybe that’s just me and I am a super weird newlywed, but if I had to guess, there are other wives out there that can totally relate.

So, I am doing something I have never done before, a series! For the next four weeks, the blog will be featuring a Wedding Wednesday post (so original, I know) with some of my personal insights on being a new wife, as well as my biggest bridal tips, tricks, and reminders to help you have the best engagement, planning, and wedding season of all. P.S. if you are single, you should totally keep up with this series because trust me, you’re going to want as much advice as you can get about all this! It’s a whirlwind!

Since today marks our first full month as husband and wife, I decided to kick off this series by sharing 30 Things I Learned In My First 30 Days Of Marriage. Some of these things you might have heard before, some things might be new to you, some of you who are married might be able to relate 100%, and some of you who are not married might take these points with a grain of salt. I can promise you that this is one of the best seasons of all, but it definitely brings out a lot in us as women that we might not have expected. So, take it or leave it, this is what I have learned as a wife in the past 30 days!

Photography Credit: LBT Photography

1. You are a full-time WIFE! It definitely still feels surreal to write my new last name and think of myself in this role, but it’s true. After the craziness of the wedding day, and the honeymoon relaxation comes to an end, you are a legit #wifeyforlife.

2. It’s not just about you anymore. I know this is pretty obvious, but marriage definitely creates a change in your priorities, which is something I have really had to come to terms with. I have been fairly independent since I was 18. I went away to school, have lived in multiple states, navigated a steady career path that I have quite frankly never felt qualified for, but all of that means I have been able to do whatever I want, whenever I want. Now, if I want to go spend $100 at Nordstrom, or go blow my gas tooling around our new city and not get home until 6:30, I should probably consider my husband first. Is he going to want us to fix dinner when he gets home from work? Is he okay with me going shopping? It’s not just you anymore, you are part of a team, and your teammates opinion matters.

3. You don’t have to do it all. Every family dynamic is different, but if you are a working wife, especially if you have kids, do not feel like it is your job to take care of the kids (or dog in our case, if you don’t have kids, just get a dog to prep yo self), take care of the house, all the chores, and manage your career, by yourself. Regardless of what we think we see on Instagram, I’m telling you, you will drown if you try to take on the role of full time wife, full time working woman, full time graduate student, full time mom, you fill in the blank.

4. With that being said, you need to learn to share responsibilities. I can’t tell you how many times I have busted my butt cleaning, doing laundry, and working my real job to have our place look spotless when Tyler comes home, and I wind up feeling stressed out and honestly, a little resentful because “I’m doing everything”. You have to learn to share jobs with your partner, acknowledge that their timeline in completing those jobs might be slightly different than your, but trust that they will get it done.

5. Your husband is not a mind reader. As much as you might think he knows you, he doesn’t know what you’re thinking if you don’t tell him. If you are annoyed with him, he will pick up on it but most likely wouldn’t be able to tell you why. Talk to your man.

6. Snowballing off of point number five, don’t have unspoken expectations. Men are very direct, instruction-following creatures. If you don’t clearly lay out what you want from him, chances are, your expectations won’t be met, you will feel frustrated, he will feel confused, and now you both have to sit down for a big talk. Eliminate that from needing to happen by being straight up about what you need (like for him to put his dirty clothes in the hamper instead of leaving a t-shirt in every room of the house for you to find, not like I know from experience or anything).

7. Let the little things go. If you go to bed with your wine glasses in the sink, don’t worry, they will be there in the morning. Did he make an off-handed joke that rubbed you the wrong way? If it won’t matter in an hour, don’t let it matter for an hour. Don’t internalize your annoyed feelings and put yourself in a bad mood. Let it go.

8. Now I just said to let things go, which you should, but don’t let it go if it hurts your heart. Yeah, you might be annoyed that he had enough energy to play Madden or Fortnite but didn’t have enough energy to go to the grocery store with you (until you acted annoyed about it), but if something is really bothering your heart, tell him. The majority of the time, men make comments or jokes off-the-cuff and they don’t even think about it! But if he jokes about something that actually bothers you, you have to let him know.

9. As manly as your man might be, boys will be boys (to a certain degree) and there’s a good chance your hubby will do stupid things that he thinks are funny, that are really not funny to you. Turn back to points seven and eight, if it’s stupid, let it roll and tell him “that’s so annoying but I still love you” and if it’s really getting to you, tell him “I know you think it’s funny to do blank, but it really makes me feel blank”.

10. Praise him. Men need, literally need, that acknowledgment that they are doing a good job and are just an overall killer dude that’s crushing it at life. Remind him that he is good at his job, tell him how much you appreciate him straightening up the living room, make sure he knows that you recognize his efforts.

11. Know that everyone does things different. There is no one way to do marriage, but there are lots of ways to do marriage well. You can take other people’s advice, and implement some other couple’s strategies, but you both will settle into a groove that feels right for you. It will take time, but you guys will get there.

12. Relax. Genuinely spend some just chilling out together. I know it can feel like the to-do list is a mile long and there is always something productive you can be doing, but I promise you he is more concerned with just cuddling you for five minutes than swapping that load of towels in the washer. Don’t feel guilty about taking time to relax.

13. Don’t overlook the little moments. I can honestly say that some of my absolute favorite parts of the day are when Tyler kisses me goodbye as he leaves for work in the morning, and when we are snuggled on the couch with Bentley (our dog, follow her on insta) watching Bachelor In Paradise at night. Don’t take those little things for granted.

14. Don’t forget to date each other! It is so easy to fall into a routine and just grind through the day, go grab a quick dinner, and tap out. That should not be your “normal”. Be intentional about making a dinner date and not being on your phones, or going to do something fun together. Just because you get married doesn’t mean you stop dating.

15. You can only have so much Mr. & Mrs. Décor. Seriously, it’s like you get married and all the adorable newlywed things start coming out of the woodworks. It’s cute now, but you won’t be a newlywed forever, so don’t go overboard.

16. Make your bed. I know this is an old piece of advice that we all heard from our mama’s growing up, but it’s tried and true. We have been in Texas for a month now and we still have boxes lingering in honestly, every room except the bathroom. Making your bed every day is such a quick fix to making your space instantly feel more open and organized, even if it really, kind of isn’t.

17. Spend time with Jesus. I know this goes without saying, but when you are in a season of blessings and celebration, it’s easy to lose sight of our daily walk with The Lord. Don’t forget to have some quiet time, read a devotional, reflect on a bible verse, and pray.

18. Alone time is precious. I love Tyler with my whole heart and have had basically no friends other than him since I moved to Arkansas, have traveled every month of the year, and we moved to Texas, but I didn’t realize how much I valued my alone time until we were living together 24/7. Alone time doesn’t mean you are shutting your husband out! But sometimes a girl just needs to go get a juice and some fresh flowers from Whole Foods. By herself. Sorry fellas.

19. Where you are might not be permanent, but treat it as if it were. There is a good chance that one or both of you will end up with new jobs, you will move to another place, or that something of importance will change in the next five years. Wherever you are right now might not be permanent, but treat it as if it were. We might not be in Texas forever, or we might be. I might be in project management forever, or I might not be. I don’t know. The best thing I can do for the both of us is lean into this season, and commit to being fully invested wherever we are right now.

20. Find your tribe. Join a small group, go to community events, if you don’t already have a solid community of friends around you, both individually and as a couple, be intentional about putting yourselves out there and finding that. There’s a chance that as a wife, you might have to spearhead that effort. Don’t be afraid to find your people.

21. This is maybe TMI but you know that I try to keep it as real and raw as I can on here, so I am just going to throw this out there. Sex. If you grew up in the church, you are probably like me and have spent the past decade or more telling yourself things like, “Sex is wrong, I have to wait until I’m married, I can’t do that” or better yet, telling an ex boyfriend, or even maybe your husband back when he was just your boyfriend “We shouldn’t be doing this”. Then you get married all of a sudden your brain and body is supposed to flip a switch and be 100% engaged and cultivating intimacy during sex? Even if you aren’t from a church background, maybe you just made a personal decision to wait, and now you’re married, but for some reason you still feel somewhat disconnected? All I can say is trust me, I know multiple women who either feel like this currently or have navigated these waters. All I can say at this point is don’t be afraid to be open with your spouse about how your feeling, believe that you are the feminine essence of God, the highest point of beautiful creation in His eyes, and He is the one who intentionally created sex for the context of marriage. Re-training our brains can take serious work sometimes, but trust me, you are not alone in figuring this thing out.

22. You will cry at the most ridiculous movies. No one tells you that you get married, and for some reason, every movie you see for the next 30 days that has a wedding scene, will probably make you cry. No lie, I cried watching Mama Mia. You know the scene where Meryl Streep is singing to her daughter while she is helping her get ready on her wedding day? I bawled. We also just went and saw Crazy Rich Asians which was actually so good, but did they play Can’t Falling In Love With You during the wedding scene? Yes. Did I cry in the movie theater watching it? Yes. And I’m not even a big crier! You’ve just gotta own this one ladies.

23. Stop comparing. That’s right, this comparison game that we play with everyone on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook is detrimental to our mental and emotional health. 90% of social media is a highlight reel. Stop comparing your body, your house, your apartment, your husband, you name it, to what you see online. God has put you right where you are on purpose, for a purpose. Live confidently in that truth.

24. Love yourself. That is so cliché, but honestly, so hard to do. How many times do we feel pressured to do it all, have a full-time career, be an amazing full-time wife, look pulled together like we are on vacation going to brunch with our besties, and just do all of the things all the time? You are a WIFE. You are a WOMAN. You are BEAUTIFUL. You are a total boss and our husbands couldn’t do half the things we do, as well as we do them. Sorry guys, it’s the truth. Learn to love who you are, right where you are. In case you forgot, you just got married. Your husband chose you just the way you are, not for the woman he hopes you will be three years from now. He loves all of you, so you should love all of you too.

25. Learn about yourself. As women we have these expectations, and to be honest, straight up lies, ingrained in our brains so deeply we don’t even realize those beliefs are there. Read a book (Girl, Wash Your Face is a legit miracle of a book), listen to a podcast, spend time journaling, don’t ever stop learning about who you are, and who you were truly made to be.

26. Messy buns are cute. Sweatpants can be hot. Glasses can be sexy. Driving home points 23 and 24, you don’t have to be “on” all the time. You are a hot wife when you are glammed out, and you’re a hot wife when you take out your extensions, throw your hair up in a bun, and put on your coziest pajamas.

27. Prioritize your health. It is my life dream to be one of those adorable looking insta-wives that runs in her cute running outfits every morning and snacks on kale and bird seed, and doesn’t even really like desserts, but I have yet to become her. (Look at what I just did? I compared myself to someone I’m not. Gah, this is the hardest habit to break!) We traveled a significant amount before the wedding, got married, had an insane honeymoon, and came back to our brand-new home with a to-do list ten thousand miles long. It was easy to go grab Chick-Fil-A, we deserved a treat after unpacking all day long, The Bachelorette premier is on? We obviously need to order pizza and open some wine. Health isn’t about going on a hardcore diet for the next six weeks to drop some weight. Health is about creating a lifestyle. Health is realizing that you don’t have to work out, you get to work out. You get to take care of your body and treat it well. Show your husband that you love yourself enough to take care of yourself. If you want to have children, raise a family, and basically kill the wifey/mama game, don’t you think it will be a lot easier if you can make it up a flight of stairs without trying to mask your heaving breaths?

28. Find a signature wife trademark that makes you feel happy. I wish I had a better way of phrasing that, but I don’t. I can, however, give you a prime example of what I’m talking about. I would say at least 90% of the time, I have a candle burning in the kitchen. My counter is covered in wedding thank-you cards, and there are clearly three water bottles I need to put away, but you best believe my wood-wick Magnolia candle is burning. It’s kind of like making the bed, I just feel better about having my kitchen candle going even if my day is a crazy mess. The other day I went to run an errand, and when I came home, Tyler had done some chores, and lit the candle in the kitchen. He knows that’s my thing. Find your thing that makes you feel just a little bit better, even if it’s as small as a candle.

29. Enjoy this time. As many exciting things as the future holds, there will be days when you wish you could get this newlywed time back. Genuinely enjoy the love that this season is bringing you.

30. Lastly, don’t forget about all the things your husband is going through. As much as this is a transition for you, it’s a transition for him too. You are both learning about what it means to be a husband and a wife, and how to operate in those roles well. He is trying to decipher your passive-aggressive cleaning tactics and trying to understand why you have so many hair products just as much as you are trying to understand why he has yet to wash any towels and is cool with using travel size shampoo. Know that all the confusion, excitement, fears, and feelings you are getting overloaded with, he is probably experiencing too. Give him grace, tell him he is doing a great job, and never stop learning how to love him well. This time is straight up awesome, and it’s only the beginning sister.