9 Tools to Navigate Your 1st Year of Marriage

Hey friends!

Well I don't know how it happened so fast but Collin and I celebrated our FIRST wedding anniversary together this weekend. This entire week has brought back such fun and happy memories.  I truly remember that elated feeling of love and happiness on our wedding day.  Everyone loves to talk about the wedding day, all the festivities leading up to it and all of the excitement, but what happens after the wedding?! Marriage

Little did we know the journey that God has laid out for our first year.  Even before the wedding he threw us some curve balls with the job transfer and move to Texas.  The weeks leading up to our wedding I worked my last day at Bates Events, we closed on our very first home in Rowlett, TX and we moved all of our belongings down to a storage unit in Texas until after the sale was final.  Did I mention we closed on the house FOUR days before the wedding?! I think we were both pretty overwhelmed and stressed... but alas we made it through and the wedding day was pure bliss! 

After the wedding we drove to Texas and spent the evening at my parents home (as our house was not yet ready to move in yet!) and then hopped on an early flight to Cancun. We spent a week at our much needed honeymoon and then came home to move all of our belongings in our first home.  The very next day Collin headed back to work and I started the slow and daunting process of putting our home together.  I will still searching for a job which made our first few months of marriage a challenge!  It was really fun to have our own place and spend some time just Collin and I after all of the craziness before the wedding.  We enjoyed putting the house together after Collin got home from work, and I enjoyed some time off from work while searching for jobs.  

In August I finally got a call back about a Job I had applied for and interviewed about in JUNE two weeks before the wedding.  It was God working in my life.  I think he knew I needed a little break, and that the right job would come along.  I started working as a Meeting Planner at Inventiv Medical Communications and loved the job!  Even better is that I had some amazing co-workers and they have become some great friends of mine!  We spent the next few months enjoying each other's company, working hard, and taking adventures on the weekends exploring our new found home.  

We spent our first holiday's together and enjoyed Christmas at my families house this past year.  Opportunities arose for both Collin and I in late December and early January back in Fayetteville, AR.  It was a crazy, scary, and unknown time but with God's guidance Collin and I both accepted opportunities back in Fayetteville and put our first home on the market!  I still remember crying tears of thankfulness and joy when our realtor called us after a day on the market telling us we had multiple offers.  I couldn't believe it.  We closed in record time, under 30 days.  We were fully moved out in two weeks and enjoyed our second trip as a married couple to see some of our best friends in Arizona. You can read about our weekend in Arizona here!

Upon our return back to Texas we packed Collin up and sent him to Arkansas to start his new job as a Project Engineer for Milestone Construction Company.   I stayed behind to see the closing on the house go through and spent two weeks at my parents house.  March 1st I started back at my calling as a Special Events Planner at Bates Events.  We lived with Collin's mom for 6 weeks while we searched for our next home, found our dream home within our first two weeks of moving back and we closed and moved in on April 7th! The last two months of our first year of marriage Collin and I have spent settling into our new home and enjoying life back in Fayetteville. 

We had such a big year that we just wanted a fun, normal, simple weekend in Fayetteville to celebrate. We decided to go without our cell phones for 48 hours as part of our weekend staycation. I'll be writing a blog on how we went two days without our phones later too! :) We went floating on the Kings River in Eureka Springs with some good friends and had a blast!  On our actual anniversary we started the day at church and then grabbed brunch at East Side Grill, we took the BEST NAP EVER and when we woke up we took the 1954 Red Chevy that we drove away in on our wedding day for a spin.  We visited Collin's grandad in the hospital, and then we went and visited my grandad, picked up some dog food for Remi, and took a little stop at the Chi Omega Greek Theatre.  

We took a selfie right after we left the wedding ceremony last year and decided that we want to remake the same picture every year and document our photos over the years!  Here is our first picture and the re-make. :)

We then had an early dinner at our favorite restaurant, Tim's pizza and then took a trip to Drake Field Airfield where we had a tailgate picnic and ate our 1-year-old cake from Shelby Lynn's Cake Shoppe! Y'all the cake was SO good even a year later! No lie we had multiple pieces lol! It was the perfect day watching planes take off and land and just enjoying a fun time together.

 Of course we couldn't forget Remi :) she has been a BIG part of our lives!

In the midst of this crazy journey of our first year here are the top nine important tools we used to navigate our first year!

1.  Prayer.  

Man oh man the power of prayer is huge and I have never felt God working in our lives more than I have this past year.  Any decision big or small we thought on them, slept on them, discussed them and most importantly prayed on them.  

2.  Communication.

This will always be something to work on.  I don't think there is anyone out there that has perfect communication in their marriage (and if you do holla at me!) and I think God may have intended that for a reason.  It's a tool that continually needs to be sharpened and requires lots of care.  Collin and I work on how we communicate with each other daily! Being open with your spouse in all aspects is SO important. It keeps you from holding in harsh feelings or negative thoughts, and it helps you learn how your spouse needs to be communicated to too.

3.  Forgiveness.

How many of you read this and thought, yep! SO important! Forgiveness is never easy, especially when you are so hard-headed and headstrong about how you are feeling about something.  But guess what?  You gotta do it.  Not only do you have to forgive but you've got to forget too.  Being able to completely and genuinely forgive and forget has been such a great tool this past year.  When we are mad or argue or just flat out annoyed with each other or had a bad day, being the one to know when you were in the wrong and know when to say I'm sorry and also being the one to be quick to forgive.  My mom gave us the advice to try to never go to bed mad, and I won't say that we've never gone to bed mad because there have been times...but we always both feel so much better not going to bed angry, and not bringing it into the next day. 

4. Patience.

The is another one of those virtues that you have to work on daily and that we will always be working on.  We have had to learn how to be patient with each other everyday and in multiple different situations. It's not always easy but it makes life so much easier and more enjoyable! :)

5.  Humor.

Learning how to laugh with your spouse is so important. Humor and laughter has softened our hearts many times, made us happy in the hard times, laugh in the good times, and learn how to take ourselves a little less seriously. We've had so many great times where we've laughed so hard we cried and those are some of our favorite memories. :)

6. Quality Time. 

Quality time with not only your spouse is important but also yourself, and with friends.  It's important for you and your spouse to spend quality time together and check-in with each other on a daily and weekly basis but it's also very important to have sometime to yourself.  Collin and I are doing this right now as I write this blog and he works on his shop bench for the garage :). It's just good to be alone with your thoughts sometimes and also good for your spouse. Friendships and quality time with friends are important as well!  Socializing and girl/boy time is good for the soul! :)

7.  Support.

Be a support system for your spouse.  I know it feels like it's built in there with the whole marriage thing, but listen to their dreams and desires, find ways to help them achieve that and share your dreams and desires with your spouse.  In every big trial and triumph Collin and I have always been each other's biggest supporters.  

8. Compromise.

Oh, compromise! It's a win-win right? Meet in the middle, learn to give a little and get a little. 

9. Trust.

I saved trust for last because it's one of those things that sneaks up on you. Well of course you trust your spouse! Or else why would you have married them? :)  I put trust on here to be mindful of the "little" trusts in life.  Trusting your husband knows the best way to get downtown, or trusting that your husband really did close the garage door if he said he did.  Because if you don't trust in the little things it leads to doubting all the little things and a lot of little things together can turn into one big nasty thing. Of course it's easy to trust in the big decisions, but we've found that over the past year learning to trust even in the smallest of ways can make a big impact. :) 

We absolutely LOVED our first year of marriage and can't wait to see what all year TWO has in store! 

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you're married and reading this post, do you have any advice for year two? What are some tools you have used in your marriage? 

If you aren't married, what are you most looking forward to in your future marriage? Or what do you look for in a spouse? :) 

Share with me in the comments below! 


Stephanie Grace Benton

#marriage #advice #oneyearanniversary #anniversary #wedding

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