Let me start by saying I am not Dr. Phil. I'm also not a licensed marriage counselor. I'm a wedding photographer. Today is my 1st wedding anniversary. 365 days ago, Hank and I stood with his parents and sister and a bunch of random strangers who decided to stop and gawk at us in Central Park. We promised to love each other forever, even when the patience is too thin, the bank account is too empty, and talking it out nicely is just too hard.
Since many of my blog readers are engaged or soon to be engaged, I thoughts I'd share a few important lessons I've learned over the past year....
1. Don't expect your man to change. This should be a no-brainer, but I had somehow convinced myself that Hank would all of a sudden become clean and tidy and organized after saying I DO. It was purely a delusion. If there are things about your significant other that irritate you before you get married, you need to ask yourself if these pet peeves are enough of an issue to not be able to handle for the rest of your life. I am now fully aware that I will be wiping red whiskers off the sink until the Lord calls me home.
2. It's forever...so choose wisely. Let me just say that I am so happy that I am already married because I went out last weekend and the PICKENS ARE SLIM people. Seriously. It's amazing to me the number of guys (and gals for that matter) who can't spell and lack proper hygiene. If someone wants to be my baby daddy, they have to brush their teeth and know the difference between your and you're.
3. You're marrying his family too. So you better love your inlaws or at least like them enough to tolerate them. I really lucked out with this one. Hank's parents love me like a daughter and his sister and I have heart to hearts on a regular basis. Pay attention to the way your sweetie talks to his mother. Chances are, he will treat you the same way. If your future mother in law makes you want to claw your eyes out (or hers) then you should probably figure things out before the wedding. Sometimes they will be crazy forever and sometimes a good conversation and setting some boundaries will do the trick.
4. Being married is fun. I know that sounds kind of lame, but seriously...having someone who doesn't care if your ab workouts only happen when you are laughing together is awesome. Also, being married means you can tag team when you don't want to do certain things. i.e. when your friends want you to go to a lame restaurant or movie with them you can always say that you have plans with your spouse. Boom!
5. It's hard to get used to changing your name. And it's a huge pain. I just changed my Social Security card about a month ago. FYI, the Social Security office closes at noon on Wednesdays. I was Lydia Phillips for 24 years and I'm still not 100% used to calling myself Lydia Royce. I had to initial some documents recently and initialed LP in every blank on the page before I realized it. 24 year old habits don't go away in just a few days so don't be surprised if I send you some paperwork and sign my name wrong. It happens.
6. Don't sweat the small stuff. One thing I learned really quick was to choose my battles wisely. As embarrassing as it is to admit, there were times when we were dating where I would pick fights just to get attention. Not anymore. If he does something I don't like WHO CARES!? It's not like I'm going to break up with him over it. Now that we're married, we hardly ever fight because it just isn't worth it anymore.
7. Holidays are hard at first. Hank and I are very fortunate that our parents only live about 45 minutes apart so we are able to see both families on the same day. When we were flying into town for the holidays last year, it was hard because we had to split time between my parents, his parents, and both sets of his grandparents in a 3 day period. We only saw my parents on Christmas day, and I didn't see my family at all on Thanksgiving. It's easy for one spouse to feel like they aren't spending enough time with their family so make sure this is worked out beforehand and compromise.
Hankie, it's been 365 days since I sweatily vowed to love you, to keep you, and to resist the urge to beat you up when you are difficult to get out of bed. No black eyes yet! Let's make it a million more.
Happy Anniversary Hank. I love you.