The first year of marriage was easier than I expected. During our engagement, some people told us that the first year of marriage is the hardest. Thankfully we also heard from other couples that it was a great year. I am so glad to be able to say that while our first year obviously had its challenges, overall it was really good for us as a couple. We didn’t live together until after the wedding, so becoming man and wife and roommates all at once was (is) an adjustment that we are still figuring out. We have your typical roommate/best friend/family disagreements, but have yet to have a major fight. I think being such good friends before we became a couple really helped. We just love “doing life together.” I recognize that as we grow and change, our greatest challenges as a couple probably lie ahead. There’s always the possibility that I could be wrong, and that would be kind of awesome, but usually during the span of a lifetime commitment to each other, you can expect some bumps along the journey.
The “Newlywed Bubble” is necessary. When I first started witnessing people marry themselves off, I when I was about nineteen years old about in Bible college, I couldn’t understand why it seemed that these people had dropped off the face of the earth. I get it now. I swore I would not be that girl who all of a sudden becomes a social snooze once they become a Mrs. But I have to admit, it wasn’t until about six months into marriage that I really started to crave the normalcy of going out on dates with my girl friends and going our separate ways every once in a while. When we do go out with our friends without each other, I miss him and look forward to seeing him when I get home. Those of you who know me well know I am the very definition of a social butterfly. I doubt I will ever become a total homebody, but in this season of my life, I really love spending as much of my weeknight downtime just relaxing at home with my husband.
Marriage isn’t a non-stop sex fest. …much to my dismay 😉 I spent my teen years and first half of my twenties looking forward to finally being able to let loose and finally act on all those years of built-up sexual tension in a socially and religiously approved way. Maybe it is like that for you. If it is, more power to you. I’ve found that sex is just a part of the bigger picture. It is a wonderful thing, but it is part of the rhythm of life and marriage. It is not the be-all and end-all of my marriage. And I think that’s healthy. A well-rounded relationship should include enjoying a multitude of activities together – not just getting naked.
Two becoming one is expensive. Yes, the wedding festivities were pricey, but I don’t think Nick and I were prepared for the financial struggle of our first married year. We both honestly thought I would land a full-time job during my first few months of resuming the job hunt. I had leads and interviews, but the elusive full-time job never showed up. Living in the NYC area on just one salary is hard. Halfway through the year, we had to leave the apartment in Hoboken Nick had lived in for the past three years because we couldn’t afford to stay there on just his salary and still pay down our debt. It was heartbreaking. We created so many memories from when we were dating in that apartment, and Nick had hosted countless parties. People have encouraged me by saying, “Isn’t that what the first year of marriage is supposed to be like? Living in tight quarters in a crappy apartment, learning to love each other?” So maybe years from now, we’ll look back and smile on our time spent in the Heights.
Marriage isn’t magical. Parts of the wedding day felt somewhat like that (as I hoped they would), but while I have no doubt that marriage has changed me, I am still the same person. Does that make sense? I hope I am a slightly better version of myself because of the way Nick challenges me on a daily basis, but I still have the same hopes and fears and joys and dreams that I did before. I am still Erika, even though I’m also Mrs. Lenzi. There is certainly a social shift that occurs – I became aware of it the first time we saw our Hoboken friends after the wedding. We walked into a bar a few days after we had returned from the honeymoon, and a host of our friends greeted us with excited shouts and hugs. “You’re married!” they said, wide-eyed. “You’re a WIFE. How does it feel?” While the label felt strange, like a pair of shoes that still needed to be broken in, I still felt like we were Nick and Erika. We had just committed to being ourselves together for the rest of our lives.
What cliches or myths have you heard about the first year of marriage? If you’re married, what was the easiest or hardest thing about making that transition? What surprised you?[Click here to read Part 2]