• Courtney McLane Mize

Five Things I Learned In My First Six Months of Marriage

Hello sweet friends! How is January almost over already? I literally don’t know how that is possible. The past few weeks I have been thinking about where I want to take the blog this year. While social media can be both a blessing and a curse, I believe with my whole heart that Doing Twenty Something is more than just a place for me to share my thoughts. I see this blog as an opportunity to encourage others through authenticity, spread love, and serve my readers well. As I have been reflecting on how to do this successfully, I decided to turn to Instagram to get some input. I asked my Instagram followers what they wanted to see more of this year, and I surprisingly got a handful of questions about my relationship! Many of you, if not all of you, know that Tyler and I got married last July and I have done an A+ job of sharing an obnoxious amount of photos full of cheesy smiles and big smooches. But what happens once the camera is gone and we are trapped in the mundane, daily-grind of life? What is it like living with a man for the first time? How do we handle fights? Everyone says your first year of marriage is the hardest and today marks six months of marriage for us. So, in honor of hitting our half-year marriage mark, I decided to address some of these questions from Instagram and share more about “the hardest year of marriage”.

The past six months have gone by so quickly. We are already halfway through our first year of marriage and there is so much I have already learned. In the past six months we have moved into a new apartment, in a new state, Tyler started a new job, and we became a family of four with Harley, our newest puppy. We have completely started a new life together in just six months’ time and while there is so much I could say, I am going to try and keep it brief. Here’s six things I’ve learned in our first six months of marriage…

1. You don’t have to be a perfect wife. Our honeymoon was hands down the most relaxing trip of my entire life and we were not ready to leave! Coming back and diving head first into real-life was a struggle people. Tyler started a new job, I was in my final fall semester of graduate school full-time and working full-time. It was only a few short weeks until I started to break down. On top of all of our responsibilities, I was a wife now! And if all the chores weren’t done, the apartment wasn’t clean, and I didn’t have dinner ready on time, I felt like a bad wife. I felt like I was failing as a wife, but I literally did not have enough hours in the day to get everything done. As a matter of fact, I still don’t most days. I had to learn to let go of this pressure to do everything all the time. I do believe as a wife there are certain responsibilities that we take on, I just didn’t know how to take on the role of full-time wife, full-time mom to a puppy, full-time project manager, and full-time grad student all at once. I allowed the stress of all these roles get to me that wasn’t fair to Tyler, or to myself. So, I had to accept that I wasn’t going to be the perfect wife all the time. The laundry wasn’t always going to be caught up, the dishwasher wasn’t always going to be emptied right away, and I might not always have dinner ready on time. But as long as I was doing my best one day at a time, that’s all that mattered.

2. Disagreements will happen. You heard that right, no amount of newlywed love can prevent disagreements from happening. Thankfully Tyler and I really don’t fight, honestly. But we have disagreed about things from time to time. There is simply no avoiding that from happening. It doesn’t matter if you disagree or get frustrated with each other, what matters is how you handle it. There’s a few things we do in the midst of a disagreement…

  • Tyler and I both do a pretty good job of intentionally listening to each other. Even if I am frustrated, I genuinely want to try and understand his perspective.

  • I want to make sure he feels heard. I try to make sure and say things like, “I hear what you’re saying” or “I understand that”. Even if I don’t agree with what he is saying, nine times out of ten I can at least understand where he is coming from.

  • I am not always good about this, but I try to remember to ask myself, will this disagreement matter tomorrow? If not, it’s probably something worth letting go.

  • We always say I love you. He shares his opinions, I share my opinions, and even if we don’t see eye-to-eye, we always give each other a hug and say I love you.

3. You have to be intentional. It’s so easy to get caught up in the everyday, mundane, stressful responsibilities of adulting. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and to let our circumstances steal our joy. Because you are living with your spouse, it feels like you are together all the time, because well, you kind of are. But that doesn’t mean you are spending good, quality time together. You have to be intentional about going on a date night and not just running to grab a quick dinner because you don’t want to cook, or talking about your goals, dreams, and future instead of just complaining about your day at work. This is something we are still working on! But I have learned intentionality is key to a good marriage.

4. Unspoken expectations are not fair expectations. As women, we usually don’t need someone to tell us that the dirty dishes in the sink need to be put in the dishwasher, or that the towels on the bathroom floor need to be washed, or that we are out of paper towels and need to buy more. For whatever reason, men need to be reminded of these things. To us it might seem stupid and frustrating, but we cannot have unspoken expectations. Men need clear directions, and as much as we wish they would magically just do any of the things that we do every day without being told, that’s not really how they work. Especially in the beginning. So if you want something, say it. If you don’t want something, say it. If you’re upset, say it. We can’t expect our husbands to mind readers, at least not in the beginning ;)

5. Remember what brought you to the altar. It’s still so early on in our marriage, this might seem like a weird thing to think about. But the more that our schedules fill up week after week, the more I find myself thinking about this phrase. I don’t just want life to happen to us, I want us to do life well, together, hand-in-hand. As much as I get distracted with school, work, chores, and the dogs, the more I know that I don’t ever want to forget how I felt on our wedding day. I don’t want the words that we spoke to each other under God to be forgotten or thrown to the wayside because life gets crazy. I want to remember standing at the altar with Tyler, I want to re-read those vows we shared and speak them over our marriage time and time again, I want to remember the incomparable joy we had on that day, especially on the days when I am extra overwhelmed. I want to remember what brought us to the altar in the first place, and never let that slip from the forefront of my mind.

There you have it! Five of the things I learned in my first six months of marriage. Those of you who are married know that marriage is a crazy, hectic, beautiful, ride and the greatest adventure you will ever have. If you aren’t married yet, trust me, do not ever settle because you don’t want to share this experience with anyone other than THE ONE. I hope that this encourages you, enlightens you, and gives you a little more insight about what it’s like to be newlywed these days. Comment below and let me know what else you want me to talk about this year on the blog!

As always, thank you for reading my thoughts, sharing these posts, and always being the best. You are so loved.