Happy Labor Day, readers! Today I’m celebrating the labor of love – aka, me and Kyle’s two-year anniversary.
One of the perks of getting married on a holiday weekend was that we’d always have an extra day off around our anniversary, which comes in handy for taking celebratory trips. We spent this weekend exploiting that perk with a road trip to visit friends in Ouray, Colorado.
More to come on that 🙂
While vacations and fun trips typically stand out as the best memories, relationships are made (and tested) in the grind of the everyday – the mundane and chaotic, the highs and lows, the ordinary and unexpected. How you handle the not-so-glamorous day-to-day life is what your marriage relies on. And it’s not always pretty.
Last year, on our first anniversary, I shared a post on the things I didn’t expect in our first year of marriage. This year I wanted to share some takeaways from the not-so-memorable moments, the in-between, the everyday.
What I Learned in Our Second Year of Marriage
Here are the important things I learned about love, marriage, Kyle, and myself in our second year of marriage:
1. Always come home happy.
Kyle impresses me with this. He works 10-hour days and commutes another 45 minutes home, yet most days he bursts through the door ready to party. He is chanting me and Yoshi’s names, his dress shirt is half-way off (we live in Phoenix y’all, it’s hot), and he has open arms for both of us. Our days can be trying, but we both know it’s a blessing to come home to each other at the end of the day.
2. Never stop learning about the other person.
I may think I know everything about Kyle, but he still surprises me with weird things every now and then (did you know he does a really good Winnie the Pooh voice? It’s the most adorable thing I’ve ever heard!).
With all of my writing projects, I can easily get stuck on my own self for plenty of time. But I need to remember that as much as my thoughts and ideas are growing and changing, Kyle’s over there having his own experience of life. He’s evolving right along with me, so what’s on his mind? How is he changing?
I’m learning it’s important to keep asking questions. Kyle loves to ask me where I want to live next year, 5 years from now, 10. He asks me what my ideal city, neighborhood and home involve. I love to ask him what his perfect day looks like. If he could spend 24 hours with absolutely nothing holding him back, what would he do?
These answers are always changing as we are. It’s fun to keep up and surprise each other with our answers.
3. Give them grace.
I’m often hard on myself and take things too seriously, but lately, I’m realizing that I can stand to have more grace with him.
At some point in most long-term relationships, the person you – at one point – had just started dating becomes an extended part of you. When he was the person you’d just started dating, he could do no wrong. When he’s an extended part of you, you come to expect things from him the way that you do from yourself.
I can nag at him and mentally curse him the way I do toward myself when I don’t follow through with something I said I would do, but I have to remind myself that he’s another person. He is someone I should be supporting and lifting up, not ever putting down or pushing around (not that I should be doing that to myself either, it’s just a natural tendency!).
Have grace for him as I would for a friend who made a mistake. Most of the time, he’s not trying to piss me off. Though I am skeptical about his forgetting to get bananas at the store, the one food I basically live off. Come on man – two years of marriage and you don’t know to always come out of a grocery store with bananas for me? 🙂
4. You don’t have to keep score.
Making dinner, cleaning up, taking the Yoshi for a walk, refilling the ridiculously inconvenient 5-gallon water jugs – it all falls under one household. It doesn’t always matter who did what and who did it last. Just do your best to contribute, and don’t keep score.
5. Not being honest about your needs is selfish.
I’m notorious for not speaking up for myself, but not doing so has caused some of our most stressful arguments. I want to be easygoing and up for anything, but I am also a fragile gal who requires 7 nights of good sleep and has a lot of work-related things to do on any day of the week. If I don’t speak up for what I need, I become an anxious mess while we’re out adventuring and end up making everyone uncomfortable. Which indeed serves no one.
Be honest and communicate what you need as best as you can. Along those lines, don’t be afraid to…
6. Ask for help
Since I went back to working full time, I’ve been a tad bit neurotic about meal prepping on Sundays. It takes me a solid four hours to do it on my own, and I dread it with every bone in my body.
But no one is here telling me that preparing 10 lunches, dinners and extra snacks is my responsibility. I’m just quick to assume responsibility for a lot of household things, but Kyle is perfectly capable and willing to help. Sometimes, I just have to ask.
If you have any “chores” you resent or dread, take it as a sign to ask for help.
7. Don’t forget to be your own person.
This is perhaps the most important of all. I catch myself referring to “us” and “we” more than “I” and “me” in several conversations that don’t require a joint answer. When someone directs a question to both of us, I look to Kyle to answer. And as you may have gathered already, I’m quick to go with whatever he wants to do versus pick something that sounds more up my alley.
But chasing your own passions is sexy. Being your own person with your own life makes you desirable to your spouse. I mean, that’s the person they were originally smitten with anyway – you all on your own.
Kyle and I usually take a weekend a month or so when we each do our own thing. I go to writing events, coffee shops and yoga classes and he goes to group hikes and breweries, and we both come back with interesting stories to share (you can decide who has the more exciting interests.😉).
Most importantly, if I want ice cream and he doesn’t, I’m going anyway.
Bring on Year Three!
In Year Two, we moved…again…we both started new jobs, and we made a lot of new friends. It’s been a big learning year for both of us individually and as a couple, but the biggest thing we’re learning is that we’ll never have it all figured out. The important thing, however, is that we never stop having fun while we’re pretending like we do know what we’re doing.
Happy anniversary, my love ❤️️