Newlywed couple on their rustic colorado wedding day.

My husband Wes and I are coming up on our one year anniversary and while some days it feels like we were standing in front of our family and friends saying our vows just yesterday, other days it feels like an eternity ago. People weren’t kidding when they said that the first year of marriage would be a roller coaster. Wes and I have learned the good, the bad, and the ugly about each other, but somewhere in the midst of trying to figure life out together as two very different people, we have discovered a beautiful, messy and perfectly imperfect love for one another. Here are 10 things that I learned in my first year of marriage -- and while is it not always easy to be married, it is totally worth it!

"You may kiss the bride" moment at a rustic colorado wedding.

  1. You must choose to work hard for your marriage. It can’t just be one of you fighting to make things work; you need to be in it together. Don’t let fights discourage you, these happen in most marriages. Focus on how you two come up with a resolution.
  2. Sometimes we are driven by emotions. Call first reactions for what they are and readdress the conflict after you have had some time to think about things with a clear head.
  3. Sweat the little things. Conflict is real and it will come up. We must work through the little things so that we have practice for dealing with the big. Don’t let anger and frustrations build up in your relationship – nip them in the bud.
  4. Sometimes the focus needs to be taken off of my spouse and put on me – I want to be the best wife that I can be.
  5. This is year # 1. It is supposed to be difficult. Give a little grace and lighten up a bit.
  6. You will have to remind each other to do the things that each other love to do. As life gets busy and you two take on new responsibilities together you often have to change routines and schedules. Don’t forget to take time to do the things that refresh and rejuvenate you, together and apart.
  7. Be intentional about staying in touch with family and friends. Time flies by when you get busy. Make time for each other first and then for loved ones and put it on the calendar so that it doesn’t get missed.
  8. Marriage is sweet. Don’t forget how you felt the day that you said “I do”. I like to read over our vows that we made to each other almost a year ago and remember the covenant I made “for better and for worse.”
  9. I cannot change my husband. As the saying goes, “boys will be boys.” Try focusing on the things that you love about your spouse and don’t try to change him or her -- after all, you fell in love with who they are, not who you wanted them to be.
  10. I love my husband more than I did the day that we got married and by the time you read this I will probably love him even more.

Now it’s your turn. What have you learned in your first year of marriage? What’s the best piece of advice that someone gave you about your first year of marriage?