Earlier this year, my husband and I celebrated our 3-year wedding anniversary. Where has the time gone? Feels like just yesterday we got married!
The last 3 years have been quite a ride. We got married, moved into our own place, went through some turbulence career-wise, and we just bought our first home. Throughout this time, we’ve gone through ups and downs, and I’d like to think that we’ve come out wiser because of it!
With only 3 years of marriage under our belt, I’m certainly no expert, but there a few valuable lessons I’ve learned along the way about marriage that I want to share with you.
1. It’s important to talk about money
This applies for both BEFORE and AFTER marriage. So many of us hesitate to discuss money in fear of being seen as money-minded. But if you don’t discuss finances (i.e. your commitments, debt, spending and saving habits), it’s easy to start fighting over money after marriage.
Before marriage, talk about money and understand each other’s financial situation. Yes, you accept each other in sickness and in health, but also in debt and in wealth. There’s no shame in having debt (car loans, student loans, etc), but it’s important to be open with one another to avoid any arguments later on.
It’s also important to be on the same page when it comes to money to avoid butting heads all the time. One way to do this is to have occasional talks about money where you discuss savings goals, come up with budgets, review expenses, savings, and investments.
Since leaving my 9-5 job, I definitely experience my share of financial insecurities. Freelancing brings in some money, but not as much as I was making before. Discussing my concerns with my husband and coming up with a financial plan together helps to put my mind at ease.
What works for us
One strategy in particular that works well for us is tracking our expenses using a what’s app group. Each time we spend money, we post an update in the group. At the end of the week, we record our combined expenses in a spreadsheet.
We then review our expenses on a monthly basis and discuss our income, expenses, and savings for the month. We also identify areas where we can cut back.
2. Always communicate your feelings
After 3 years of marriage, we have certainly had our fair share of fights. What makes it worse is sweeping the problem under the rug. There are always certain triggers in any relationship. Something that drives you up the wall and starts an argument. It’s important to communicate with your partner and let them know how this makes you feel.
If you’re on the receiving end of this discussion, then it’s important to listen with an open heart. I must admit, I tend to be quite defensive, but I’ve learned that putting my ego aside and listening to try and understand my husband’s point of view is the best way to resolve any issues that arise.
I think the most important thing in an argument is acknowledging that your partner’s feelings are valid. There’s a big difference between saying “I’m sorry you feel that way” vs. “I’m sorry my actions made you feel that way.”
What works for us
We try not to go to bed angry. If we’re upset with one another, we make it a point to discuss the issue before bedtime. We try our best to avoid accusations and focus on how the other’s actions made us feel.
Being rather defensive, it took me some time to figure this one out, but it’s important – don’t cut each other off. Listen and give each other a chance to voice out.
Finally, when we start to see each other’s perspectives, we talk about how we can do better next time. This isn’t to say that we never argue over the same thing again, but it definitely helps to communicate our expectations and reach a compromise.
3. Make it a point to ask about each other’s day
Over the last 3 years, I’ve also come to realize that just because you stay together, that doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically know what’s going on in each other’s lives. Asking about each other’s day is so important.
It’s easy to fall into the habit of coming home after work, chilling with Netflix on, and going to bed without talking to each other much. Trust me, we’ve been there! Then you come to realize that your partner is going through something you didn’t know about and it feels pretty sucky.
What works for us
Now, asking about each other’s day is a must for us. Yes, it could be the same ol’ mundane thing – take me for instance, my days are pretty standard. Wake up, do yoga/go for a walk, have breakfast, write, have lunch, write, and turn off my laptop.
Despite that, my husband makes an effort to ask me how my day went and that makes me feel seen. I try to do the same for him. I ask about his colleagues, who he had lunch with, and of course, whether there are any updates on the office drama!
Jokes aside, if your partner had a bad day, lending an ear not only allows you to offer them support, but this sort of intimate sharing brings you closer together as well.
* * *
To be honest, I was hesitant to write this blog post as I’m no relationship expert! But these three lessons have been really helpful in our marriage and I wanted to share them with you. At the end of the day, as long as you are loyal to one another, and you’re there for each other, that’s all that really matters. The rest of it you can figure out along the way. Like we’re still doing.
Maybe I’ll follow up with a ‘25 lessons learned after 25 years of marriage’ blog post waaaaaay down the line. By then, we’ll probably have a lot more experiences and advice to share. So, what do you say? Meet you back here in 2043? 😉
Till then, stay safe and cherish your partner!
* * *
Like this post? Pin it and share it with your friends!