We celebrated our one year anniversary over our vacation on June 2, 2013.
We celebrated by going to a sweet little French restaurant, Fleurie, on Charlottesville’s downtown mall. Neither of us had ever been before, so it was a fun new treat for us! We ordered the “tasting menu”, which featured 6 total courses of delicious, delicate French food. It was our first time trying foie gras, and much to my surprise, my favorite dish was the roasted pork!
Many people we visited with in Charlottesville and Alexandria asked what we thought of our first year? Does it feel like you've been married a year? Longer? Shorter? Do you feel like you adjusted easily? How did the first year go?
So here are my thoughts:
- In general, we feel like we've been married for longer than a year. Maybe it’s because we've spent most of our married life in a new place where everyone who knows us just knows us as being married. For me in particular, I've only ever been known as Jenn Killmer, or Mrs. Killmer. Coworkers, friends, and patients have never known me as Jenn Guthrie. This isn't distressing or uncomfortable for me-- it just is. But I think not having to frequently correct people or see my old name on several documents or emails or name badges made the change feel more absolute.
- Our first year was a smooth year-- marriage-wise :) We handled many challenges our first year, including a hurricane, a blizzard, car trouble, buying a new car, living in an old home, and the general challenges that come with getting oriented to a new job and new city. But with all of those adjustments, the adjustment to being married kind of went unnoticed because it was so smooth! We had to learn (and continue to learn) how to communicate and organize chores and bill-paying responsibilities. We had to learn how to spend and save money together. We've had to learn how to do devotions together and get on a schedule. We've certainly learned a lot through our adjustments, but none of them were really that difficult. We've had fights and conversations about goals and priorities and our future, but we recovered from those fights, and I think I can honestly say the fights were always constructive-- building towards something-- rather than just “blowing off steam.”- Even after a year, I am still so thankful to not be separated from Will. Our year apart was definitely part of God’s plan for us and benefited us in so many ways. But we are glad that that season is done. I’m sure at some point I will no longer notice this, but I am still so grateful to come home to that guy every day and to wake up with him each morning. And despite the inevitability for more changes in our lives in the future, I am so much more at peace with facing those knowing that Will will be constant throughout all of those changes. I guess that’s the benefit of doing life together in a partnership. There are challenges that come with partnering with someone for life, such as prioritizing careers and financial goals; but overall the benefits of doing life together far outweigh, for us, the challenges.
- I can't remember a lot of specifics from our pre-marital counseling when I just sit down to brainstorm, but I have had lots of "a-ha" moments this past year of topics from counseling that just now begin to resonate with me. Most of this is about communication styles, and a lot of it comes back to me when I'm reviewing our fights in my mind (these moments are mostly me recognizing how I did not go about fighting the right way...).
- One of the biggest surprises for me (based on my expectations from friends & pre-marital counseling) was that I've drastically miscalculated my own expectations! I thought I'd be easy going about things that I'm actually a stickler for. I ruminate about things that I didn't think I'd give a second thought to. I day dream about setting up a home with decorations and organization (thankyouverymuch, Pinterest), when I had never really given that a lot of thought before being married. I care a lot more about being hospitable and having an inviting space for people. I am now less particular about budgeting than I was when I was single. And I thought I'd be bothered by doing most of the chores, when in reality we've had relatively seldom talks about needing to divide them & re-evaluate those divisions.
- My conclusion: counseling & discussion with other couples was very important to starting & guiding a lot of conversations for Will and me, but nothing really prepares you for being married to your unique spouse except to actually be married to them! We learned a lot of general principles and guidelines that are useful, but the application of every tip and technique can barely be imagined before you're actually in it. But the beauty of all of this is the security of marriage-- we can confidently discuss our issues and try new strategies because we have a lifetime to find the right fit for us. We don't have to mimic other couples or follow a specific book's strategy because Will and I are unique. It's been really fun to discover this truth in general and what it looks like for us.
A few more fun memories from our day...
We are so grateful for the gift of marriage and the gift of each other. Here's to many more years together! <3