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12 Great Lessons for the First 12 Months of Marriage

12 Great Lessons for the First 12 Months of Marriage

Earlier this year, I was at a conference in Chicago and overheard someone sharing the purpose of their blog, “It’s all about doing exactly what you want to do in life; what you’re passionate about.  

“It’s about crossing everything off your bucket list long before you kick the bucket.  Living your best life now.  That’s why it’s called Why Not Girl.”

One week later, I received an email from a wonderful friend of mine who said, “There’s someone I want you to meet.  You’ll love her.”

Wouldn’t you know it, the woman was the “Why Not Girl,” Lauren.  

We were introduced over the phone, talked about love, life and marriage and I instantly knew I wanted her to write a guest article.  

If you are a newlywed, this post is just for you!  And if you’re not a newlywed, please consider sharing this with all those you know who are in their early years of marriage.  Enjoy!

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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I thought to myself, “What a great concept!  Encouraging women to conquer their fears and pursue their greatest hopes and dreams.”

My husband Chris and I just celebrated our first wedding anniversary last weekend.  While we were spending time together on the balcony of our hotel overlooking Monterey Bay I began thinking of the last 12 months of our lives together and everything that we’ve been through.

Not only had we been married, but we also decided to both take on new jobs (I was starting my own company as well as packing our bags to move from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay Area).  Talk about taking on a lot of change!

But with all of this, I realize that with each month that has passed by, we have both learned a lot about ourselves, the other and how we want to have a happy marriage.

12 Lessons for the First 12 Months of Marriage

Lesson from Month #1 (November): Sharing family time during the holidays is essential.  We’re lucky that we both get to see our families at Christmastime, but we made the decision to alternate families for Thanksgiving.  It’s definitely rough on the family that doesn’t get us this first time around, but it’s a fair way to see them when one set is on the East Coast and the other is in Southern California.

Lesson from Month #2 (December): Before you throw something out, ask first.  When you’re packing up to move 2,500 miles away, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of boxes that suddenly take over your apartment.

But even when you are so desperate to get the job done, it is a good idea to ask your husband if something holds a special meaning before tossing it to make room for all of the new dishes you just got off your wedding registry.  You may not know the hidden beauty of that “ugly” candy dish.

Lesson from Month #3 (January): You don’t always need to talk, especially in the car.  Just because you are not in constant conversation doesn’t mean that your husband doesn’t like talking to you.

Chris and I drove along Route 66 and there were definite stretches of time where we just listened to audiobooks.  I sometimes wondered if it was because he didn’t have anything to say to me, but I quickly learned that a great story narrated by Edward Hermann from Gilmore Girls is just too good not to listen.  (FYI, definitely listen to Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.)

Lesson from Month #4 (February): Gifts don’t need to cost much.  Since I’m working on building my own website and have given up a steady paycheck, it was hard to justify spending a lot on a Valentine’s Day gift for my husband.  But I also didn’t want him to think that he is going to lose out in the gift department.  So I made him a handmade gift and it turns out that he loves it more than anything I could buy him. 

Lesson from Month #5 (March): Make your own party.  Being an Irish girl from the East Coast who lived in Chicago, I must admit that I was a bit disappointed in the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations here in San Francisco.  But with the help of my husband, we learned that we’re both really creative and can easily have a good time with some beer, green food coloring and each other.

Lesson from Month #6 (April): Celebrate our independence.  Both of us have lived on our own and lead pretty busy lives.  I think it’s safe to say that we absolutely enjoy being with each other, but we also appreciate the time we have to ourselves.  It keeps us who we are and also gives us tons to talk about over dinner.

Lesson from Month #7 (May): Take-out delivery is just a phone call away.  I’m not the best of cooks (fortunately my husband is).  But for those times that I have all intentions to cooking him the best meal after he’s been gone on a work trip and it doesn’t turn out as planned, it’s nice to know that both of us are not against having the great new Indian food place supply us with dinner.  Thank you, Grub Hub!

Lesson from Month #8 (June): Patience is a virtue.  This rule applies even on the golf course. While my husband is a spectacular golfer, he knows that I’m not.  We’ve learned that perhaps nine holes may take as much time as a full round and if a group comes up behind us, there’s nothing worse than a frazzled wife with a club in her hands.

Lesson from Month #9 (July): We may never become regulars of anywhere.  While we may want to one day have a place where everyone knows our name, we realize that it may not be anytime soon.  Right now we’re having a lot of fun exploring the area and doing as much as we can.

Lesson from Month #10 (August): There’s nothing like home sweet home.  Even though both of us like our independence, it’s always nice to get back to see the family.  It puts a lot of perspective on where you are now and where you hope to be 35 years from now.  Thanks, Moms and Dads for showing us two great examples of a happy marriage.

Lesson from Month #11 (September): Good things come to those who wait.  We don’t get summer now until September and while the transition in seasons has been hard on me, I do need to remember that we’re not shuffling through snow for five months out of the year here.  I need to stop complaining on how cold it is.  Heck, it’s not like we have to wear down coats here.

Lesson from Month #12 (October): Time flies when you’re having fun.  If this is the case, then this has been the most fun year of my life.  That being said, I think we both have made a mental note to savor every second that we have together.  If life is going to fly like it has been, then it’s up to us to keep pausing to remember how we felt a year ago and what we hope we feel forever.

 Question:  What were some lessons you learned (or are learning) in the first year of marriage?

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Lauren McCabe Herpich is the founder of Why Not Girl! She recently left her digital marketing position at a Fortune 100 company to take the risk of entrepreneurship and start Why Not Girl!, a website empowering women to try new things, live life as an adventure and say Why Not! Lauren currently lives in Berkeley, CA with her husband Chris and their beta fish Grappe.

Latest posts by Lauren McCabe Herpich (see all)

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