Guidance for Year Two?

Last weekend we celebrated our 1-year anniversary. Amidst the jokes of “whew, we’re still standing!” was also a fair amount of wondering about what year two might hold.  At dinner two days after, talk turned to marriage.  Some of the 5+ marrieds were talking about how everything truly does go downhill after the wedding.  Uhm, WHAT?!  Then this guy who’s smitten with his lady and looks like he’s thinking marriage asked me, quietly, “what do you think?  Things don’t really change afterwards, do they?”

After a moment of dueful contemplation, I realized that things do change.  Yes sir, they do!  “I feel more grounded now, more secure in our relationship.  We’ve become a team in a way I couldn’t have imagined.  We’re finding healing from life-long hurts, becoming more solid as individuals as well as a couple.”  I wouldn’t call that downhill…

On a whim, I e-mailed a friend and asked her what wisdom she has.  She’s  just coming up on her two-year, and I figured she might have something to say.  Well, she sure did!  Leaving the identifying factors off, here’s her reply:
“Hrm… You’re totally right that everyone’s full of first year advice, but not a lot after that!  I hear a ‘meaning of wife’ blog entry topic. 🙂  I asked dh [I inserted that for, dear husband] your question, and he said “more of the same”, which is probably true, though not very descriptive.  Our Year 2 was better (for me at least) than Year 1.  I felt more secure in my relationship w/ dh.  I feel like as we go along, I learn more and more about what will work best for us.  Things that used to bother me a ton during Year 1 seem unimportant (or, well, not worth picking a fight over 😉 now.  I’ve learned to choose my battles.  I don’t feel as rushed/clingy/etc…. I can let things slide.  I’ve figured out more how to be myself around dh, and more about how to let him be his own person, too. … I think I’ve gotten more assertive in general … I now place more value on being honest and feel more able to ask for my needs to be met.

Well, I don’t know how helpful this has been for you and your relationship in particular (though it’s certainly interesting to think about!).  I guess maybe there’s a lot of stereotypical things couples go through their first year, which may be why there’s more advice about that.  After year 1, I have a feeling that couples are able to more fully delve into the personal flavor of their own relationship, and so the challenges and joys are more individualized.  I would guess that many couples feel a sense of “settling”, though, of being able to trust in the relationship more and worry about it less.” 

Man, I want THAT!  None of this sounds like things going downhill to me.  What are your experiences or thoughts on year two of marriage?

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