Lessons Learned: First Year

Our first year anniversary is fast approaching and we had a busy busy 2010 A few days ago Hubby actually commented that 2011 should be the beginning of our marriage because we were being dragged every whichway in 2010. We didn’t have anytime for boredom and relaxation…and only when you are busy do you realize how precious these moments are. Of course now that I am at home most of the time this wisdom is hard to take in.

Lesson Number One

We learned in our marriage is “Be ruthless about “Our” time.” We would agree to every invitation that came our way- sure they were a lot of fun but it wasn’t just us time. Hubby’s friends would invite us over for weekends when we lived in Jersey and we would spend our weekends with them. Slowly we realized that we were extending ourselves too much and at the end of last year we decided we had enough. The invitations keep coming but we have declined so many. As a young couple and newly married we said “this is our chance to not have any commitments and live at a moment’s notice.” If we are spending our time with those who have kids and those who generally have a settled life then when are we ever going to have time to figure out what our “settled life” should be?

Lesson Number Two

The best thing we did was move into NYC. Thanks to me! I was the most outspoken about our move because I realized we needed a new start. We barely had any time on weekdays just to relax with each other. I like to joke that we moved to the busiest city in the world to find relaxation! We can get together for lunch at moments notice, meet each other around town to give an opinion on a picture for the wall, stay up late to watch movies together. Again “us” time with simple activities.

Lesson Number Three

Hubby and I usually get along very well and see eye to eye on many things. However when stress is involved we are like two animals unwilling to back down. We often comment looking back at our fights that we are agreeing on the big pictute but fighting over details. I think stress does that. So we try to avoid stress but that is difficult in our society so we try not to fight under stress.

Lesson Number Four

Meal cooked by us is the best meal! Hubby makes a great chicken curry. On weekends I would make a couple of vegetarian curries and with his chicken curry-it is the best meal hands down. As we are eating we would say “we’ll never step into a restaurant again…” Of course, sometimes going to a restaurant becomes a neccessaity than actually loving the food.

Lesson Number Five

Engage in simple activities together. We don’t have to do anything fancy. A simple meal, building furnitures together, reading, going downstairs to do our laundry… For example a couple of weeks ago I rented the movie “Easy A”. When I got it home I was a little tired so I decided to watch it. I watched the movie by myself and sure it was good but then when Hubby came we watched it again. Second time it was so much better. We laughed and laughed over all the little jokes (esp. the ones with the family) and for days we would constantly bring up scenes from the movie into our daily conversations.

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Marriage Tip: The Importance of Chit-Chat

Last week I finally got a library card in my new home town.  As I drove into the parking lot I was surprised that it has taken me two months to visit my new library (I have always loved libraries…a place to let your imagination wonder). I was waiting for a perfect time to check my new library out- I wanted it to be a holistic experience and not be rushed but I figured that time might not come for a long time.

Once I got my library card I wanted to see what books are available on marriages.  I had of course heard some advice from my mom (learn to cook, keep your house clean, be nice to your in-laws, understand each other, don’t get angry,  listen, etc.)- while these are definitely good they are in the board spectrum of marriage advice to follow every day.    What are the small things that can be done that lead to a true understanding?

Both Amazing Guy and I come from families without any divorces.  Divorces are an exception not a norm in our families and our cultures. No divorces!  Our culture that barely has any divorces however is surprisingly doesn’t seem to have a lot of advice either- there is just a deep understanding that marriages are  for life and as the saying goes- no ifs, ands, or buts about it.  I grew up believing that when I got married it was for life- it was engraved in me- feels like since I was a day old.  However, I don’t want to be just married but I want a wonderful, loving life together with true understanding and happiness.

In the movie “Just Married” the main character’s father gives him an advice when his marriage starts off rocky “Some days your mother and me loved each other.  Other days we had to work at it.  You never see the hard days in a photo album…but these are the ones that get you from one happy snapshot to the next.  I’m sorry your honeymoon stunk but that’s what you got dealt.  Now you gotta work through it..” When I first heard it I loved this quote and all Amazing guy and I could do was just nod at this statement.

I really wanted to know what some advices others had about marriage. I still had my last weekend in mind and wanted to learn and grow from that experience.  Relationships are so hard to build why would anyone think that breaking it off is much better than working at it?  How does it get to that place-break years of life together instead of working toward a better future?

How do couples grow apart?  Why?  What are the secrets of those who stay together?  What are some simple things we can do starting day 1 to grow in(to) love and not out of it?

At the library I got a bunch of books- I am sure the librarian thought I was close to a divorce with my desperation of marriage self-help book checkout but I wanted to not wait until I was desperate.

In my numerous books borrowed from the library one of them is “The 30 Secrets of Happily Married Couples.” As I opened the book,  I was surprised to see that the first advice being “Power of Small Talk.”  I thought small talk?  Small talk is well…so small.  How does this make a difference?

As I read further this quote stood out “Pleasant chitchat can act as a buffer against future relationship problems.”  So the rule of this advice is that chit chat should be pleasant/uncontroversial in nature because this builds cooperation and brings the couple closer. The book says by focusing on small pleasant talks you can be more attentive to your partner’s feelings and emotions therefore preventing any bottled up negative emotion to fester and lead to a bigger argument.

I am sure a lot of people like Amazing Guy and myself lead busy lives and chit chat might be the last thing you want to do when you come home from work.  We love to watch The Cosby Show or Everybody Loves Raymond and laugh our butts off- but even though chit chat can seem like a small thing that’s just so hard to do- everyday moments of growth really count. We turn our love for these two shows into small conversations throughout the week like “remember when Robert said this about Raymond…” or “the Cosby’s are full of culture” and so on.  Since we both enjoy these two shows it is a pleasant conversation to have when we identity our lives with a script of the show.

We don’t all lead exciting lives every single day and we can’t wait until an exciting moment to connect with our partners.  It has to be done everyday starting with the small things.