Lessons From Our First Year Of Marriage

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Our wedding day (aka, the best of my life) is still so vivid in my memory, it feels like only a couple of months since it happened. However, tomorrow, on August 31st, my husband and I get to celebrate our one year anniversary! Oh, how time flies. 

When I reflect on the now 5 years Cole and I have been together, looking to the good, the bad, and what ultimately lead us to now; I see that this year of marriage has been one of extraordinary growth for both of us. 

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For me, getting married was opening up Part 2 of my life’s story. The second half of my novel, and the next phase of becoming who I am meant to be. This first year was one of recognizing that we are both still growing, the complexities and beauty that is growth, and at the root of it all, a practice in discovering our forever adventure together. 

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Our dearest friend Haile had our vows turned into this gorgeous handmade art book by the artist: @lunaria_project

Our dearest friend Haile had our vows turned into this gorgeous handmade art book by the artist:@lunaria_project

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We spent this year in our own newlywed cocoon as caterpillars, weathering the storms and holding one another. Knowing that in this cocoon we are helping each other become butterflies. 

When I wrote my vows I loved thinking about us beginning our forever story together that reflects these elements of growth: 

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Today we begin our story. The only story that we can write. The only story that we can draw. And the only story that creates its own special rhythm for us to dance to. Today I promise to love you through it all.
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Through all of this growth and the gentle dance of discovering ourselves in this new role, there are a few big takeaways that Cole and I have both learned in this first year: 

We are individuals: 

We have always put importance on having our own personal pursuits. However, this year felt like we deepened this understanding of honoring time and space for one another to focus on our aspirations outside of marriage. 

We are in this forever—things that feel big now, won’t in the future: 

For us, getting married has been a gentle settling into fully trusting one another, an unspoken letting go of what no longer serves us, focusing now on what does. Little arguments about who put the dishes away last is so tiny in comparison to the big picture and we have enjoyed laughing at this fact.

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We will experience grieving together:

We experienced more loss this year than the five years we have been together (they said the first was the hardest). These losses gave us both the challenge and exploration in understanding how to be there for one another during this kind of unique pain and hardship that life throws at us. We got to be in this space together of sadness that allowed us to feel so grateful to have one another.

Talking about money sucks: 

It’s all fun and games until you have to talk about bank accounts, taxes and saving for the future. Luckily for us, we already had a clear and honest understanding of our finances before we got married. However, we have had to re-structure what money means for us for the long haul and how we want to continue to honor our individuality and space when it comes to currency. This re-structuring has at times felt tedious and is still a work in progress (maybe more on that later?)

Internal conflict does not go away once you get married: 

This mentality of thinking that once you get married all of your internal conflict will be fixed is a very toxic and unrealistic way of going into marriage. Of course, internal conflict should be openly discussed with one another but it is not the other persons job to fix you. This has been very much a learned understanding for me in particular that I have done a lot of work on in this year.

Do not take life too seriously— laugh and cuddle often:

Cole and I are both lucky to have two sets of parents who have overcome challenges and are still together. We often use the things we admire in our parents relationships to help create a foundation for our own; humor for instance, comes up often for us as something we deeply value and admire in our parents. We also make cuddling a non-negotiable and find on the nights that we don’t cuddle, we don’t feel as close in the morning. It’s these small values that we have turned to often in this first year to keep us grounded.

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We are spending our anniversary in Joshua Tree this weekend at our favorite house under the vast desert skies—equip with no wifi, a record player and outdoor bathtubs. We are bringing our “vows” art book (pictured above), re-watching our wedding video, and reflecting on this first year married, feeling beyond grateful for the forever we have in-store.

Photos by: Victoria Bonvicini