Things I learned during the 1st Year of My Marriage

As Jake and I approach our 1 Year Wedding Anniversary, I am just a mess of mixed emotions. Part of me feels like just yesterday we were dancing and drinking with our family and best friends, but then another part of me feels like we’ve lived an entire lifetime since that extremely warm Saturday last June. I am truly blessed to say that without a doubt I married my very best friend, my partner in crime, my dancing in the kitchen/singing as loud as you can in the car riding buddy, the love of my life. With a year of priceless memories under our belts, there’s also a handful of gut wrenching, midnight breakdowns on the bathroom floor. I wouldn’t trade a single one of those hard moments for anything else though, with anyone else by my side.

MARRIAGE IS HARD. I’ve read about it in books, I’ve watched all about it in movies, and many people have told me. But I don’t think anything will truly prepare you for marriage until you’re knee deep it in. Within a single year, we’ve lived and we’ve learned… a lot. Here are a few things I’m personally taking with me as we head into year two:

  • Marriage isn’t 50/50. This is actually something I learned long before Jake and I got married. I think it’s something that will stand true until forever though. Marriage isn’t always an equal 50%. There are days that I’m only able to give maybe 20% if that. Jake steps in though without a single hesitation and gives 80%. Vice Versa. When Jake is “off”, I can’t just be 50%, I have to make up for whatever he needs for our marriage to balance back out to 100%. The hard days are going to happen, it’s inevitable. But I’ve learned that it’s up to the other person to step in and take responsibility.
  • Find a church. Jake is Lutheran and I am Catholic. For a while (and still every once in a while) I worry about our future, how we are going to raise our children, etc. Back in the winter after a family tragedy, Jake’s Grandma Claire gave us a piece of advice that I’ll never forget; She told us to find a way to have faith together, no matter the differences we were raised on. Soon after that Jake and I found a church that spoke to us both. I know we both needed God in ways more than we wanted to admit. Although we don’t make it to service every single Sunday, we are faithful together. We believe in the same God, and we pray and talk together. It’s a simple idea that can easily be forgotten in a today’s busy world. God brought Jake and I together, and I feel in my bones that He will be with us until our last breath.
  • Keep traveling together. Fun fact about us, I am the penny-pincher and Jake is the impulse spender. When we first moved in together this was a HUGE issue that often led me to a total meltdown. I was so worried about paying our debt, I was forgetting to LIVE. Within the year I’ve realized that having a getaway with Jake brings me back to the beginning with him. It’s like dating long distance all over again (except the best part is, we get to go home together). Road trips, exploring new cities, and date nights out remind me why I’m so madly in love. I’ve learned that life isn’t about working to just pay bills. Working is for the moments with the ones you love most. Every trip taken with Jake is a memory I promise to never forget.
  • Along the same lines as traveling, date your spouse. We make sure to have a date night at least twice a month. Sure we go to dinner a couple nights a week, but nothing gives me butterflies like a text from my husband asking if I would go on a Saturday night date. Last year, days before our wedding, we promised each other to never stop dating. <3
  • Life is not like your Instagram page. I think we can all admit that we have all gone down the social media black hole comparing ourselves to others. Here’s a friendly reminder to you (and myself), that Instagram isn’t actually real life; it’s simply just a highlight reel. And dare I also say… you don’t have to document every one of those happy moments either. Sometimes it’s even better to just LIVE IT.
  • Always, always, always dance in kitchen. If you know me, you know that I’ve been dancing around the house from the time I could walk. Thankfully I married a man (that may not be as good as me), but he is ALWAYS down for a dance party, no matter what. Whether I’m stressed, celebrating, or feeling sad… Jake knows what will cheer me up. Those little things matter.
  • My last lesson I learned this year was actually something I just heard last weekend at a friend’s wedding. The priest said, “You can’t plan your future, but you can have faith in your future.” Naturally I am a planner. I spent 18 months planning our wedding, I plan out our weeknight dinners and weekend plans with friends, etc. But Jake and I have learned that some things you just can’t plan. It’s not always up to us, on our time. It’s God’s timing. And in order for us to be on the same page as a couple, we both have to have faith in that future that’s on GOD’S TIME. The most valuable lesson of them all.

And just for fun because these really need no explanation, a few other things I’ve learned in the last year…

  • Saturdays may be for the Buckeyes, but Sundays are for the Packers. And when Aaron Rodgers doesn’t play well, let Jake have his space.
  • A way to a man’s heart? Undercooked turtle sundae brownies. Always.
  • When you’re shopping, don’t ask, just buy your man whatever, because chances are, he doesn’t care and will wear anything.
  • And if you’re shopping for yourself… still don’t ask. Just buy it.
  • Teach him how to take proper pictures. It will make your Instagram game so much prettier.
  • Always wake up ready for a new day. No matter what annoyed you or frustrated you the day before, choose to wake up and love all over again.

There’s no such thing as being lucky. Instead, we are simply blessed.

-Thomas Rhett

Feeling extremely blessed as we celebrate one whole year of marriage. Now I’m off to dance, sing, and party the nights away in Music City, Nashville! See y’all next week!


meet kelly


I’m Kelly! Born and raised in Ohio, wife to Jake, and boy Mom to Connor. Blogging about life, motherhood, and helping brides make their dreams come true. 

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