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10 Things I Learned in the First Year of Marriage

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Is it dumb to put together a 1 year synopsis of our marriage? It is bad that I just had to google synopsis to figure out if I was using it correctly? And that I still don’t fully know if I am? Whatever. I’m sticking with my first sentence and backing it up with 10 things I’ve learned in the lovely first year of marriage. I don’t want to boast but THE FIRST YEAR WAS AWESOME! So many people said the first year was their hardest, but we didn’t feel that way at all. Most likely because we lived with each other prior to getting married and bought a dog and a house and all that jazz. So not much changed after we got married in Jamaica.

PaleOMG 1 Year of Marriage

So far, marriage has been wonderful. Nothing has changed except we both feel even more committed to each other. There’s no, “We got in this big fight, maybe we aren’t meant to be together” kind of crap. It’s just that amazing person you get to see every day and know that you will always push through the tough times together. I guess what is different about marriage is that you never have to feel alone because you know that person will always be there for you, no matter the challenge. And that’s pretty damn cool.

Every year, I want to do a little reflection on the blog of what we’ve learned in the last year. So if you hang out with me for another year, I’ll have another 10 things I’ve learned. Because I really am constantly learning. About myself, about my husband, and about the life we want to create for ourselves. So let’s do this!

  1. I’ve learned to respect our differences and he’s learned to respect mine. He likes to not talk much when he gets home from work after he has talked to people all day. And I love to talk since I’ve sat in front of a computer all day by myself. So he will now come home and give me just the little bit of chatter that I need to help round out my day, and I will try to let him be. It’s all about balance for us since we are incredibly opposite in most ways.
  2. I’ve learned to go with the flow more and he’s learned to create a schedule more for me. I plan out every single day of my life. I even write down when I’m going to take a shower and eat lunch, all to make sure I can fit in everything I need to get done, even on weekends. But my husband mostly goes with the flow and doesn’t need to plan every detail. So nowadays he asks me what I want to do and lets me plan a little bit more. Like this weekend, his mom is coming into town so he had me sit down and we wrote out a schedule of everything we need to do and the free time I would have to get work done. I get anxiety when it comes to not having a plan and I can tell that he really tries to nip that anxiety in the butt before it ever starts. Which is pretty cool to see. And the more we are together, the more I know that most things we do together, plan or no plan, are still going to be fun so I try to let go of that anxiety more and more. It’s still a work in progress!
  3. I’ve learned to not talk sh*t about myself. Slowly but surely. Because my husband doesn’t put up with it. And that’s really what I need. When I come up to him and say, “My legs are looking big nowadays” or some other crap like that after listening to the trolls out there, he simply says “I’m not doing this” and walks away. He doesn’t egg it on or put up with it, he simply says no and moves on. For me, that’s what I need. I need it to be out of my head so I can move forward with my day and put that energy into healthy and productive activities.
  4. I’ve learned to calm the f*ck down when PMS is raging and I’m feeling like taking it out on him. I don’t know about you, but I can become a different person. And that different person used to want to fight for no real reason. Luckily, I’ve learned to walk away and be insane by myself. Sometimes being alone with your thoughts is the only way to get through a frustration, fight or PMS rage.
  5. Communication is key, being annoyed is not. If you want something changed or worked on, say something. Letting it bubble up inside and just expecting the person to do it without you saying anything is just a recipe for disaster. And that’s definitely something I do sometimes. So if you want something done, just simply asking sometimes before you let it build up inside can be so incredibly beneficial to your relationship.
  6. I’ve learned to work harder and he has too. After bringing our two incomes together when we got married, we are constantly working to provide a better life for each other for right now and in the future. So when he works on Saturdays (like he has for the past 10 years), I work on Saturdays, too. He leaves at 5am and doesn’t come home until almost 7pm, so I get up at 5am with him and start working and work until he gets home. I’m always looking at ways to improve my business and I think it inspires him to work harder at his job, and vise versa. It’s cool to get inspired in your own job because of the person in your life when it wasn’t always like that.
  7. Since we both work so much, we now know that vacations and time alone are both really important to us. My goal is to plan an anniversary trip every year because it gives us time to unwind and reconnect, just like we did in Costa Rica this year! Time that we can be away from our phones and computers and just thinking about what adventures we have in store that day. Those adventures have created such amazing memories for us and bonded us even closer.
  8. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Who cares if someone leaves the lights on or doesn’t shut the drawers or doesn’t close a cabinet or leaves clothes on the floor. Sure, we could always work on those things that annoy each other and we should work on those things, but we also shouldn’t let them annoy the sh*t out of us. I do things that Brian gets annoyed with and he does too, but it’s way easier to turn off a light or shut a door or pick up a piece of clothing than it is to let that annoyed feeling build up.
  9. Love is respectful and supportive. When my husband wants to change something in his diet or wants to wake up at 5am to workout or has to come home late so he can make it to the gym on an off day, I completely support that. I never encourage him to miss a workout or not take care of himself because I know those things are key to us having a healthier relationship. Sure, I’d like to hang out in the mornings and have breakfast or I would like him to be home earlier, but his health is first and foremost and it’s the same for me. Supporting each other in the gym and with a healthy diet is really key to a successful relationship for us.
  10. Love is always evolving. And so is that person. If you’re not evolving, you’re not progressing. So evolving with that person is key to progressing that relationship in an even better direction. Both of us have changed tremendously since we started dating 5 years ago, especially since I was in my early 20’s and still really figuring out myself. Both of us are always changing and it’s important to be respectful and open to that change.

PaleOMG 1 Year of Marriage

Can’t wait to see what the second year of marriage brings! I’m ready to learn even more about myself and my husband!

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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.

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53 thoughts on “10 Things I Learned in the First Year of Marriage”

  1. Such a great post…with great reminders! So glad your 1st year has been awesome-it’s been fun to watch you grow since being with him! It’s funny you mention your schedule and how you plan out every day. I’m not sure if you’ve done this, but would you mind posting what a day roughly looks like for you? I’m currently reading ‘The Power of Habit’ and I know that I need to get myself on a schedule something fierce (especially with 2 kids and homeschooling!) to get my shit together.

    Thanks for all you do and share; you have been a HUGE inspiration to so many of us. Here’s to another amazing year with you and your hubby!

    1. thanks for the love, jess!! I’ve actually shared a podcast of what my day-to-day looks like but every day is totally different. sometimes cooking, sometimes food photos, grocery shopping, working on the computer for hours, etc. etc. let me know if that podcast doesn’t explain it all and i can chat more about it! but maybe i’ll do a post in the future about my day!

  2. Love these kind of posts!! I agree about not sweating the small stuff. If those simple things are turning you into a rage monster there’s probably a bigger issue. But I definitely want to take number 9 and work on it more. We looooove spending all of our time together, but we both need to start putting our health first and support one another in that.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. Juli, I LOVE this. I absolutely agree with you about the first year being pretty easy…I almost feel cheated out of the experience of “the first year is the hardest!!!” but in reality, I’m so thankful we jive so well. To your point about not talking shit on yourself, this is so incredibly important. While we were still just dating, I would spiral into these self-deprecating rants and my then-boyfriend would simply stay “stop” and I would get FURIOUS. Lo and behold, a couple of years later I find myself getting in to those spirals less and less, and he will always call me on my shit whenever I do get there. Thank you for sharing this and congrats on a great first year, and well wishes for all of the years to come!

  4. Love this fun post! I’ve loved seeing you and your blog evolve, you obviously work very hard and it shows. Keep the great content coming, and don’t listen to anyone telling you to just write paleo recipes, they’re great, but personally I come for all the other content and the rambles! All the best x

  5. Great post, I loved reading this! While I am not married (and frankly, I don’t really want to – I think growing up as an only child made me value my independence too much) I have lived with my girlfriend for nearly 3 years now so I totally agree with a lot of this. Of course it’s a whole different ballgame when it’s two women in a relationship together LOL 😉 But this gave me some stuff to think about to apply to my own relationship so thanks so much for that! Can’t wait to read what you learned next year! 🙂

  6. I really enjoyed this post. We’re not married, but have lived together for about seven months, and all this applies.

    Question…have you ever posted about your PMS rage? Asking because I suffer with some serious PMS anger issues and it’s nice to know others have the same issue!

    Congratulations on your Anniversary!
    Have a wonderful day –

    1. hahaha i haven’t! i’ve maybe talked about it in a podcast or two, but that’s it. i don’t get it super often but when it do, i become almost a different person. it’s so weird!

  7. You have awesome posts Juli, but this is the best and I’ll be bookmarking it to read again in the future. Not a dumb post at all! 1-10 are great reminders for anyone, and I’ll be sharing them with my husband later.

    P.S. Still think your dress is stunning as well as your destination wedding. Also we got an ice cream maker for our wedding 6 months ago and haven’t used it yet, we’re breaking it in this weekend with your Cherry Garcia ice cream.

  8. Great post, Juli! It seems like you two doing a great job of bringing out the best in each of you. I can completely relate on writing lists, I work for myself as well with a really weird schedule and my lists keep me on track each and every day. With everything you have going on, being organized is pretty critical for your success. Keep it up, I think you are awesome and really enjoy connecting with you (and Jackson-whose twin I need in my life!) via social every day!! Enjoy your day!

  9. I love this post! Isn’t it amazing how much you can learn about your partner and how every year you will always learn new things as life throws shit at you constantly. Also, I feel you on the PMS rage. My husband and I had been together for 12 years (married for 2) when I first went off hormonal birth control and had a the non-hormonal copper IUD put in (I had been on the BC patch since I was 18). I cannot even describe the massive difference in my mental state, attitude, etc the first few months. My poor poor husband having to put up with my crazy ass lmao. I’m not a big crier but I sure was during my first non-hormonal period and my husband was terrified and caught me crying and thought something serious happened but I had to tell him I had no idea why I was crying. I was just crying. lmao Thankfully my body finally evened out after a few months.

    Happy anniversary to you two and I wish you many many happy years together.

    1. i’m nervous for that. i am going off hormonal birth control next week and i’m a tad nervous to see how the next few months are going to go…

      1. Kira Freemann

        I went off of hormonal birth control 2 years ago after being on it for like 10 years. I was terrified! The first 6 months were a little rough as far as my skin goes, and I noticed different PMS symptoms (not worse necessarily, just different). I’d say the benefits of not being on it far outweigh the downsides of getting off it (including but not limited to increased libido). Luckily the husband has been super supportive. Thanks for this post, I loved it! So many similarities to the things i’ve learned in my first year of marriage. Also wanted to say I had planned to make chicken fried “rice” from my butcher box chicken thighs tonight and your Insta story was SO helpful! You are such a gem!

  10. Oh my ga, LOVE this and agree with it 100%! I’m nearing my two year anniversary and love the idea of reflecting on how you’ve grown together.

    P.S. Your legs are amazing! Screw the haters.

  11. Oh I love this post and relate so much! I think you and me are similar in the ways we want to plan everything out minute by minute. And my husband and yours seem similar in the go with the flow stuff! Thank you for sharing your thoughts about marriage!! I’ve been following your instagram for a couple months and love your food posts about paleo eating and your raw personality.

  12. This post was really helpful to me. I am very close with my mom and family and often feel like I’m choosing between my husband and my parents. He’s very ambitious and wants to move up in his career which requires moving sometimes and that’s really hard for me to do. How do you balance your family with you and your husband with that of your parents? You are a single child so I’d think that’d be really hard to not feel like you are abandoning your parents. I feel like that sometimes and so I really liked this post. Thanks Juli!

    1. well my parents live here in Colorado so we see them about once a month. but i wouldn’t feel like i was abandoning them if i moved. the point of having a child is to watch them grown and evolve on their own. so i don’t have a hard time with that at this point in their life. my parents raised me so i could follow my own path and that’s what i’m doing. i’m sure i’ll feel different with the older they get

  13. Thanks for sharing Juli, this was so awesome and inspiring! Isn’t marriage is just the greatest?! I can totally relate with #5 and have to remind myself my husband is in fact not psychic and actually use my words.

    Happy (belated) Anniversary!

  14. Juli…this is a great post…and good to review periodically. I swear, it’s almost as if I wrote it back on year 1. Every year you learn new things, accept different things and adjust as needed. But, as all of that evolves, so does the bond and love you have for each other….it just keeps growing and you are flabbergasted as to how strong it becomes. This is our lucky number 13th anniversary this year (17 years together) and I am so, so thankful every single day that I get to spend it with my husband. I’m so happy that you’ve found that perfect partner in life for you….the adventures will be amazing!

  15. Amber Sahyouni

    I couldn’t agree more. I am in my first year of marriage, too but like you we lived together and got dogs and all that jazz pre-wedding. It really just felt like another step in our commitment to each other. But so much of what you said rang true with me. Go with the flow (not my specialty lol) as I’m a psychopath about a plan and my hubs is not and communicate instead of bottling stuff up. Also, your Insta story about the lady who message you about unfollowing-haters gonna hate. You do you. You’re my fave food/life/keep it real blogger because you know what, YOU KEEP IT REAL 🙂

  16. Thank you for this post! My husband’s and my one year anniversary is in a week, and now I’m reflecting on what I’ve learned in the past year.

  17. I think it’s awesome you have figured all this out in the first year of marriage. Wishing you many more happy years in the future!

  18. I found you only recently, and am really enjoying your blog and your instagram. I am much older and have been divorced for quite some time. I wish I had had the insight that you seem to have on making your marriage wonderful. All 10 of your points are spot on and this alone will help you have a long and successful marriage. #5 was my big problem. I totally expected him to read my mind and when he didn’t, I would freak out. I don’t even know the person that was me back then. But, anyway, you are adorable and I wish you all of the luck in the world, both personally and professionally!

    1. isn’t it crazy how much we grow and change over time? it’s hard to see how we are acting when it’s in the moment and #5 is definitely something i struggle with at times, too. thank you so much for the love and support!!

  19. Great post! Like you, I also felt our first year of marriage was pretty easy!! We married older, and my husband can be set in his ways, but with a lot of respect for each other, we made it work very smoothly. I will say that it gets harder when you have kids. It completely changes. I soon saw what people meant when they say that marriage is work – it is especially true when kids are in the picture. 🙂 Not to discourage you from having kids if you’re considering it, BUT, just be prepared ahead of time to make sure to schedule time alone together and keep your marriage first, kids second, which we never did. Still together after 17 years, but looking back, that’s what I’d do differently, and that’s the advice I’d give a newly married person.

    1. i’m sure kids change that relationship in so many ways – that part of having children really scares me. hopefully all your years moving forward are spent with even more alone time to keep that relationship going strong! congrats on 17 years!!

  20. Marlene Braun

    Thank you for the marriage post! Been married 13 years (together 21) and have 3 boys. All the things you said are the things you have to keep working on…not always easy! You’re off to a good start! Now I need to reread and start working on some of these again ????

  21. Kristine MacGregor

    Love this post, it was so real. I look forward to the next ten things you have learned next year! Many of these sound very similar to my relationship with my husband and others I’m going to take into consideration and apply them!

  22. You two are obviously so in love and committed to your relationship. It’s so nice to read about happy couples who love each other. I’m celebrating 19 years with my better half this year. He made me the best version of myself and I’m forever grateful to him for that. XOXOXOXO!

  23. We are coming up on our first anniversary and I can relate so much to what you’ve shared here! Whenever anyone asks me how married life is, I always say “it’s so much fun!!!”, because it is! I also love learning more about my husband and love seeing how we’ve grown as a couple- the things that used to tick us off and start a fight tend to not be so bad anymore, but I think it’s because we’ve learned how to react better to those things and how to focus on the things that matter rather than nit-picking everything. And, he’s even started to make the bed (with fluff pillows and all!) because he knows how happy it makes me – it’s the little things 😉

  24. Aww Juli! This was such a sweet post. I love how you’re learning so much about each other. I think that’s such a good sign, because even though you have different personalities, at least you’re open to loving each other the way the other person needs it!

    Also, from your instagram snaps today (or yesterday… who knows when, because I’m in England and we don’t know what the time is ever, hence why we need a massive clock called Big Ben), ignore those haters and keep on going! You’re so different from what I normally gravitate to (in terms of podcast personalities and blogging styles) but that’s why I keep coming back! It’s refreshing. Also, you’re from Denver, and me too. So even more reason.

  25. Ditto on all of the above, Jules! I’m working on our 35th year of wedded (cough) bliss and I can attest that it is all worth it as long as you don’t forget what you’ve learned. STAY OPEN to all that your mate tells you no matter how small. Because it’s the small stuff that creeps into that closet that you throw your sh_t into. You know the one we all keep. The one with the narrow door and the burned out light bulb. The one you open quickly and toss the offending “thing” into and quickly slam before some of the older stuff tries to escape back into the light. I’m not saying get rid of the closet but rather save it for the really stupid stuff. The stuff that neither of you cares for and is best kept there. Just don’t make it a catch-all. Because some day you’ll go to the door and the moment you touch the door knob the contents will flood out and drown you both.

    In the immortal words of Bill & Ted, “Be excellent to each other.”

  26. Juli, I absolutely adore this!! I love your blog so much. Thank you for sharing this! As someone who isn’t married, I hope my first year of marriage someday is as wonderful as yours! I think these 10 things you learned are also applicable to other relationships too which is cool! I tend to get annoyed at small little things so I’m glad you talked about that because it reminded me of how much those things don’t matter compared to how much you love the person (in my case, my roommate, who is one of my very close childhood friends). And I just read your last email, and I just want to say that you brighten my day every single day! No matter what mood I’m in, I know I can go to your blog or instagram page and either see a beautiful picture of a recipe that I will want to stuff my face with or a hilarious anecdote from you or an adorable picture of Jackson! Thank you for adding so much laughter and delicious recipes to my life and so many other people!

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