10 Important Things I've Learned as a Newlywed

My husband and I were married on April 18, 2015. In the eight-plus months that we’ve been husband and wife, I’ve learned a lot of things—some that people (friends, family, co-workers, priests, strangers on the street) warned us about, often times unsolicited, and others on my own.

Most of these revolve around what I believe to be the most challenging and rewarding side of marriage — being lifelong roommates. While creating your first family home can be fun and allows you to blend your two personalities and tastes under one roof, it also requires a great deal of patience, work, and give-and-take. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned in my first few months of marriage:

1. Choose your battles. Concession is not a form of weakness.

A terrible trait that my husband and I share is our stubbornness. One thing I’ve learned while working to be less hard-headed is that conceding to what he wants or needs is not a sign of weakness in me. I’m learning that being open to his alternatives is actually a sign of strength as well as an act of love and trust. I’m not saying that you should never stand your ground, but make an effort to look at things from your partner’s perspective before ruling their way out.

2. Live poor and save money for the future.
Now is the time when you and your spouse should be saving for the HGTV future you both dream of. Turn the lights off when you leave a room and do without cable or a big screen TV. Living below your means is a privilege a lot of people can’t afford, so if you and your spouse can, do it. Eventually, your frugality will pay off.

3. Kiss each other every day, multiple times a day.
There’s no better way to start or end your day than a kiss from the person you love most. No matter the argument or conflict, kiss each other before bed and before you go your separate ways in the morning.

4. Make your needs known in a direct and concise way.
When you’re first living together, you’re primarily learning each other’s habits — good and bad. It’s important to make sure your partner understands the things that are important to you while also being open to their methods.

5. Be spontaneous.
It’s so easy to fall into a routine once you are married. Come home from work. Prepare or pick up dinner. Eat. Watch some TV. Get ready for bed. While having a routine is important, make an effort to be spontaneous. Just because you're married doesn’t mean that you automatically become "The Old Married Couple." Greet him at the door in some new lingerie, or have the bath running for him when he gets home. Spontaneity is key to adding some unexpected excitement to your routine.

6. Never stop dating each other.
This ties in with the above, and it’s something you’ll hear a lot after being married. You should never stop pursuing your spouse just because you’re married. The second that happens is when you do become "The Old Married Couple."

7. Have your own hobbies and safe havens.
Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you become one in everything you do. It’s crucial to have your own activities that separate you from your spouse and that are your own, whether it’s going to a class at the gym or going out with your girlfriends one night a week.

8. But also have things that are exclusively “ours.”
While it’s important to do some things on your own, it’s just as important to reserve certain things exclusively for your spouse. This can be watching a TV series together or doing an exercise class together. Whatever “it” is, it needs to be something you save for just the two of you.

9. Make love as often as you can.
One of the best things about being married is expressing your love for each other in an intimate, sensual way. There will come a time when you won’t be able to pounce on one another as often as you’d like, so take advantage of the time you have now to do so. Be adventurous and explore the possibilities. Sex is a beautiful expression of love, and taking your partner’s desires into account is a wonderful way to show them how much you care.

10. Lastly, have fun.
Being newlyweds is an exciting time, and it’s something you only get to experience together once; so have fun with it! You may not have everything you want right now, like a house or your dream jobs or a dining room table, but you have each other—and that’s what’s most important.