They say, the first year of marriage is the hardest….

I know we’re only four full months into marriage, but I was prepared for the “difficult” to have hit by now… I don’t want this to be like a bad omen or something, but I can confidently say that the first four months of marriage have been better than the last four years of being together, combined.

I’m pretty open about our relationship on social media. Dylan floods my Instagram stories, nightly. I’ve posted many blogs about us, our wedding, our rocky engagement, etc. I’m not really scared to be “someone you can relate to”, because our relationship has never been perfect. We dated living almost an hour apart, he was always jealous and insecure. We were engaged and moved in together, I became jealous and insecure. We clashed far more than we meshed, and there was constantly trouble in paradise. Life got really hard for us, but right before marriage we saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

I braced myself for marriage.

It was because I always believed what I read, and agreed with what I heard. The first year of marriage is the most difficult. Great. So those nights of fighting, the threats of breaking up and the constant struggle to feel loved was only the beginning? For some reason, I stayed optimistic to the fact that this couldn’t last forever. If we could continue to clash through “the most difficult year of marriage”, then maybe we’d make it out alive?

Except when we got married, things got easier. Yes. Now listen, this is normal for us. I’m the definition of “by the book” when it comes to following rules, being trusting, or being respectful. I’m the complete opposite when it comes to things that I should be by the book by. For example, I’m the only person who eats a balanced diet and gains weight, yet loses 100 pounds on Mcdoubles and Diet Coke. So naturally, it makes sense that everything but the first year of marriage would be hard.

Everything clicked…

It’s almost like we took those vows to heart far more than anyone else has, ever. After years of casually dating and falling in puppy love, then years of engaged hell and crying basically daily, the puzzle pieces finally fit together. Now, we just live.

Four months ago, we couldn’t have gotten married and sold my car. Neither of us wanted to have to fully rely on the other one. The thought of being a one car family came up multiple times, and each time we ended with a giant HELL NO. Six months ago, we wouldn’t spend a Saturday driving an hour away to a town that was modeled after Holland just for something to do as a family (and yes, with Ellie). Spending time together on the weekend was inevitable, but we’d just fight through it until it wasn’t enjoyable.

Eight months ago we wouldn’t have gone for walks every single night of the week, debating what we can do to continue to save money. The thought of doing physical activity wasn’t working well with either of our self esteems, because we just didn’t care about ourselves. Ten months ago, we wouldn’t have been able to look forward to our Disney vacation. Every time we would talk about vacationing, part of me prayed that it would be the reset we needed to make each other happy. Now, it’s just a getaway we get to have together.  Twelve months ago, a date night was literally us sitting on the couch and eating Taco Bell. I would convince myself that getting take out was enough of a date night, where we’d sit in silence on our phones… Until last week when Dylan suggested we go to a new place, just because he felt like taking me out on a date. 

It can get better.

I don’t need to be transparent with my relationship on the internet. In fact, I know a lot of people read things about my life on the computer and scoff at it because I’m “oversharing”. I’m really not. I just talk about the things that everyone else is afraid to say out loud. I can guarantee you that there’s someone who’s gone through something like this recently, and they are sitting in bed like I did scared. They validate, over validate, then validate again their relationship on social media because the world needs to know they’re in love. When really, it’s shouting matches, long awkward ignored afternoons, low self esteem, and broken trust. Maybe I shouldn’t say “my relationship used to suck”, because maybe that makes me vulnerable. But it did.

I know now, that when I spill 44oz of Diet Coke in the bed that Dylan can get mad, but he can’t make me feel guilty for an accident. Just like I can’t guilt trip him for three days over bleaching a load of laundry.

I know now, that he doesn’t say “I love you” or “you look nice” to go through the motions. He says “You look gorgeous” as I stuff my face full of chips and queso because he loves me.

I know now, that there’s a maximum of 75 terrible fights in a relationship, and we hit that max in our engagement. That we can push forward, we can fight, we can get mad, but we can’t forget that we love each other.

I know now, that we’re strong enough to weather the storms of life. We were strong enough to deal with a whole 16 months of bullshit, so I’m pretty sure we’re going to survive anything. We’re strong, because now we’ve got each other, it’s no longer being alone.

If you’re scared in your relationship, but you’re in real, true, deep to your core love you don’t have to give up. Sometimes, you’re not supposed to.

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