After tying the knot in a dream-worthy ceremony last August, Erin Sousa, our beauty contributor, has become all too familiar with the question, “So, how’s married life?” Now that she’s had time to reflect on the truths of married and newlywed life, she’s giving us the rundown of what she’s learned along the way to her happily ever after!
My husband and I knew each other for 10 years before we got married, and no matter how long we had been dating, being married just felt different. The wedding was so exciting and fun, but there was something surreal about knowing that no matter what conflicts we had, we were in it for the long haul, and neither of us could go anywhere. As romantic as being a newlywed has been made out to be, there is a learning curve, and it’s a process. The first marriage year was full of personal changes, both good and bad. A lot of that tested our personal resolve, and brought us even closer together as a married couple.
We’ve really hit the groove heading into our second year—we’re almost past that newlywed phase, and I wanted to reflect and share what has really worked for us, bringing us harmony, and sometimes, even newlywed bliss!
1. Compromise is Key
Winning an argument in marriage doesn’t matter—our collective goal is about making each other happy, and when an argument occurs, we continually practice how to fight fair. It is important for us to genuinely listen to each other’s feelings in order to reach a fair compromise (which isn’t a perfect formula, by the way!). That means that as individuals, we both have to give way to each other, and forget about “winning.” Plus, it’s easier to compromise when you know that the other person always has your best interest at heart. While we might not always understand (or agree!) what the other is saying, we’ve found that if we walk away and let things cool down, we can come back together to discuss the issue, and will eventually approach a fair resolution for both of us.
2. Role With It
Traditional roles work for some couples, but for us, it was about breaking away from the typical. Because we also work together in business (Sparkle Media, my creative digital agency), finding a good balance on all fronts was essential. We decided to create our own ways of doing things and found a flow that supports each of our needs. This means that home duties and business duties play to our strengths. Roberto is amazing at keeping us organized, so he takes on laundry and cleaning, while I do the groceries and manage our finances. We are both happier when we feel like we’re pulling our own weight. Although it’s never going to be balanced all of the time, we feel like we are approaching life as a team, which is the most important thing.
3. Money Matters
Money can be the root of many fights, but we’ve always been very transparent with each other. That said, when we were first married, we kept our accounts separate, and transferred money to each other for bills and the like. After talking it over with friends and getting their perspective, we decided to change that, developing a new system. We now have one master account that we share for expenses and shopping. Plus, we also keep our own separate accounts for larger purchases, because we like the independence of buying what we like without the other having input (basically, a shoe spending account for me!). We also have a savings account we share, and pay into that as a nest egg. Our motto is that anything we make separately is our money. We’ve learned that this works best for us, but it’s important to find out what works best for your marriage!
4. Time Apart
The most comforting thing about marriage is knowing you have someone that always has your back no matter what. We also have found that we both value having our own interests and relationships outside of the marriage. We spend a lot of time together because he is part of the business, and need to balance that out with time doing our own thing. I love spending time with my girlfriends, and watching “Real Housewives,” and he likes to geek out on action movies and stays active running or hiking with friends. Putting every relationship need on my husband isn’t fair to him, and I believe your partner doesn’t need to be everything. Other relationships can provide outlets for different parts of yourself, and that’s important for a well-rounded life and marriage.
5. Get Rid of the Routine
We love getting away, even if it’s just an overnight getaway! A road trip and an overnight in a bed and breakfast is the perfect way for us to reconnect with each other. It helps us get out of our day-to-day routines, the change of scenery is relaxing and it allows us to enjoy each other’s company without the pressure of everyday life. It’s important for us to laugh and just be silly, and getting out of the same-old allows us to do so. We almost always have a getaway planned to look forward to.
6. Nurture Your Differences
Roberto and I have some fundamental differences that will never change. He is a night owl and I am a morning person. I wake up at around 6:30 a.m. when he’s basically just entering REM, and by 8 p.m., I’m ready to wind down, and he’s at his conversational peak. It’s made for some pretty interesting growing pains (read: Arguments), but we’ve since embraced this difference and have adapted our schedules accordingly. This basically means he doesn’t talk to me after 8 p.m., and I let him sleep until he likes, and on the weekends, I enjoy my alone time, waking him up with homemade brunch, instead of being annoyed that he’s not joining me in the kitchen.