We've all heard long-term married couples mention the importance of making time for one another, for prioritizing 'date night' and your time apart from the world to maintain the bond you share between just the two of you. Yet standing where I am today, a meer year and a half into my marriage, I can already vouch for those words of wisdom wholeheartedly. Don't underestimate the power of regularly dressing up fancy for nights out together, turning off the phones and hiding from the outside world or even sneaking the odd, cheeky duvet day away from work together. There's a reason why you chose to commit forever to each other, so protect and prioritize it! How about interjecting game night, between your regular movie nights? Or reading a book together for ten minutes every night (yes, we seriously do this)... anything that sparks conversation and character rather than just a non-communicative cuddle on the sofa (although those have their place too, obviously!)
2. New Things
The deed is done, your marriage is official and the excitement of honeymooning and staring at that strange piece of jewellery on your left hand is gradually wearing off. That doesn't mean you have to resign yourself to the stereotype of 'old married couple' though! Commit to one another that this is only where the adventure begins, that you'll try what the other wants to (despite your own preferences or reservations) and that together you'll explore what weird and wacky things life has to offer! With fab websites like www.livingsocial.com, www.groupon.com and www.halfoffdepot.com it's never been easier to spend less and have a go at more! Whether it's wine tasting, rock climbing, horse riding, history tours or martial arts that peak your interest, even those of us on the tightest of post-wedding budgets would struggle to find an excuse not to try something new together once in a while!
3. (Brand Spanking New!) Family Time
The wedding is over, the honeymoon suitcases have all been unpacked and the calm of everyday has finally set it. It's roundabout now that you realize how much has changed, seemingly overnight. Oh, the shock! Each one of you has acquired a whole new set of relatives and it's time to strengthen those familial bonds, now that you're lawfully obligated too (just kidding!). If you're marrying AND immigrating from a different region as I did, this is a big big deal. There's a lot to learn; sibling and parental dynamics to comprehend and try to compliment, traditions to appreciate and to forge anew and, quite frankly, somewhat clashing senses of humor and occasionally bewildering ground rules to get to grips with. My advice? Prioritize bonding with the in-laws - it can be hard to wrap your head around the fact that they're officially your family now but there's so much to be gained from working hard to slot in and become a loved (and liked!) member of the clan. Take the leap, hang out with them outside of the regular holiday necessities and if you're brave, without your new spouse (scary but it'll speed things along believe me!).
4. Enjoy the New and the Now
As newlyweds it can be so tempting to dream on into the new future that you and your beau are now pursuing hand in hand... and why not? Everything's so new, so very possible and it's fun to look forward to what life may have to offer. Don't forget to enjoy the now though (something admittedly I have to be conscious of), revel in it just being the two of you for the time being and vow never to stop learning about and appreciating one another, today AND tomorrow. When we first got hitched we found so much joy in experiencing all the new bits and bobs of marriage; from checking out our newly decorated ring fingers whilst, say, making a boring old sandwich, to arguing over which side of the bed to claim for life, there was and is so much to smile about on this new path as a partnership! Stop and smell those newlywed flowers! As the country song goes, 'you're gonna miss this!'