Monday, May 14, 2012

NLN Part 1 - Forever Newlyweds

Time for Part Uno of my No Longer Newlyweds series!  Yaaay.  This is kinda weird.  I've suddenly got self imposed writing deadlines.

I have a question for you.

Why do people stop being newlyweds?  Why do married people often look back so fondly on their newlywed days and miss them because things aren't like that anymore?  (Cue Trace Adkins singing "You're Gonna Miss This")  Why does the word newlywed itself imply that it is just a temporary blissful phase of life that will soon fade away?

Oh sorry, that was actually three questions.  

Now, for anyone out there who likes to dissect words, I know that newlywed means newly wed, as in, just got married not that long ago.  But what about the rest of it, the bliss, the happiness, the I Love Yous, the time spent together, the missing each other even when you're just at work, the desire to do everything possible to please the other, the continual getting to know each other, all that stuff that is associated with the newlywed phase?  Why does that so often go away after a while?  I know a lot of couples find a new norm as they tackle life together, but how cool would it be if that drunk on love feeling from the beginning hung around...for the rest of your lives together?

I think that's possible.  It might take a bit of conscious effort, but I think it's possible.

Trent and I are kind of living that right now.  We mostly still act like newlyweds, or at least our youth seem to think so based on their cute reactions sometimes to how we treat each other.  Some of it is natural and easy, some of it takes effort to maintain.  Of course our life has changed since our wedding day, and so have we, and so has our relationship, but there are some things that have remained the same over these past four years...

We still hold hands.

May 18, 2008
Canvas that Steph made for us April 2011, showing our relationship motto:
Hand in Hand

We still smooch.

December 2008, Graduation!
July 2011, visiting Trent while he was at
church camp for two weeks

He still gives me flowers.

October 2008, what I came home to at our little apartment after a
particular week of grad school that almost killed me.
February 2012, Friday Flowers for no reason

We still make an effort to pursue pastimes that we enjoy together, like baseball.

March 2009 - Houston  College Classic, 14 hours of baseball!
April 2012 - cold, windy game in College Station  (Feed the Beaver!)

We are still silly and act like complete dorks.

November 2011, mini vacation to Galveston

I still just stare at the sparkly ring on my hand sometimes and can't believe it's really mine.

On our honeymoon, still getting used to the wedding bands on our hands.
January 2012, after I got it back from being cleaned at the jeweler. SO SHINY!

We are still best friends.

October 2008
June 2011, Galveston mission trip

I'm sure some of you reading this are thinking "That's really cute Anna, but just wait until you have kids.  Then all of this newlywed talk will go out the window!"   I know things will change whenever we have kids.  A lot.  And I know that we will have less time for just us, but look again at all the things I mentioned above that contribute to our lasting drunk on love feeling.  Does having kids have to nix any of those?  

~Holding hands, smooching and giving flowers are all super examples of healthy affection for kids to observe.  No need for those to stop.  "But, money..."  Hand holding and kisses are fa-ree, and grocery stores sell some very pretty flowers for 4 bucks.  Some roadsides even grow them for free.  :-)

~We're hugely hoping that our kids will like baseball so they can enjoy that with us and otherwise we plan to budget for babysitters regularly in order for us to spend time together as a couple doing things we enjoy.  My parents set a great example of that.  They paid babysitters and went on dates all the time.   We have a line item in our budget right now just for Starbucks...we'll just add a whole line just for babysitting!  If you budget for it, you give yourself permission to spend on it.

~The silliness and dorky-ness (sp?) in us will actually probably increase once we have kids to be silly with, so that will be big fun.

~I think I will forever be distracted by shiny things, so the ring on my hand will forever be a source of fascination to me.  I will be forever thankful for the man who gave it to me.

~I'm pretty sure during the craziness of having and raising children, having a best friend by your side the whole time is a major WIN.  

These are our things, our habits, our quirks, our priorities, that help keep up those feelings of "Holy cow, I can't believe I get to live each day with this person!" and "This is so fun!"  What are yours?  Or...what were yours?  Are you years into a marriage and still just as exploding with love as you were the day you said "I do"?   Or are you years into it and wondering what happened to that spark, wondering where your newlywed feelings and habits went?   What I'd say for either situation: talk about it together.  If you are in the first situation, celebrate it!!  Give each other a high five and celebrate the little things and the big things that are your "things" that help keep you on fire for each other and for your marriage.   If you are in the second spot and you're feeling kind of oldywed, take a bit of time together to recall what your newlywed things are.  Or if your newlywed things really are a sweet memory of the past and you have both moved on to your new norm and are cool with that, talk about what your new things are, be intentional about those and celebrate those. Then make an effort to do those things together!  Make a plan, make a list (I love lists), make sure you are both on board.   Then go for it.  

Hold hands, smooch, tickle, laugh at inside jokes, climb a mountain, train to run a 5K, sing to each other, watch black and white movies, plant a garden, go on a road trip with no map, follow your sports team, go on a picnic, cook a fancy meal together...

What are your things?


  1. So, 8 years into this marriage thing (and 3 years into having kids in the mix), I've learned that the newlywed thing does NOT have to go out the window!! It is definitely more difficult, but it's kinda fun to work at it. Keep dating. Just like the college days. Put it on the calendar if you have to (and we totally do). We try not to talk about the kids when we go out. Keep trying to impress each other. Dress up for him, even if you don't feel like it. I always appreciate it when Jon wears something other than a t shirt and shorts and he doesn't want to see me in yoga pants all the time. :) Keep it new and don't fall into the trap of seeing everything as ordinary and mundane!

    1. Glad to hear that you agree that this is still possible even with kids in the picture. We really do intend to follow through and keep this up once that is the case for us. Good for y'all for being intentional and working on your fire.