First Year

Did you know that carnation is the traditional first wedding anniversary flower? (Image Source)
Did you know that carnation is the traditional first wedding anniversary flower? (Image Source)

Now that I’ve walked you through some off-the-record photos from our wedding, I think it’s time that I share with you my thoughts on our first wedding anniversary. I know for a fact that not every married couple has the chance to get past this achievement nor even reach this far in their relationship. That alone is enough reason for me to be grateful that Roan and I are still together to this day.

Living together was a major adjustment. Roan got to live with my family for a while before he returned to the US after our wedding. We never lived together prior to getting married nor spent out-of-town trips alone, so being with him around the house took a lot of getting used to.

Roan learned to share certain household chores in order to feel a sense of belongingness in the family. On the other hand, I had to get the hang of having Roan as my roommate. These are only a few adjustments Roan and I have experienced living together for a few weeks.

Being in a long distance relationship when you’re married is a lot harder than you’d imagine. Roan and I have been in a long distance relationship 90% of the time, post-wedding included. Communication, in this case, is more essential because we need to fill each other with things that’s going on while we’re living separately. I tend to become more emotional at times when it hits me that we’re married, but we’re thousands of miles apart. Seriously, how could married couples live with that kind of setup?

Talking about and getting involved in financial matters. Roan and I didn’t talk about money a lot when we were still dating. For me, it’s a very sensitive issue that I don’t feel entitled to really get involved in as his girlfriend even if we’ve been dating for almost five years before we got married.

When my new role as Roan’s wife was established, I became open to talking about financial matters with him. Eventually, I will handle and manage our budget in paying bills, grocery shopping, and the likes. If I don’t learn to feel comfortable towards money talk now, then I will struggle when I’m already in the situation.

Making consensus decisions. Roan embraced his independence at an early age. He is used to making decisions on his own, especially when he enlisted himself in the US Army. He could easily make up his mind without the help of other people—not even his parents. My decisions, on the other hand, were often influenced by my family. Learning to agree with each other takes a lot of effort, especially with our different personalities. 

In relation to making consensus decisions is learning to compromise. Let me give you an example from a recent personal experience. Roan wanted to come home this month to spend our wedding anniversary and Christmas together, but we reached a decision to save it for later. December is a peak season, so it follows that tickets are a lot more expensive during this time. If Roan comes home now and I’m granted my immigrant visa next month, then he has to return again to get me. The scenario just screams anything but practical. 

Be kind, considerate, and understanding. Conflicts in any love affair, whether married or not, are inevitable. It’s the manner of dealing with these things that makes the ties stronger. A healthy relationship is one that has an abundance of kindness and humility. Whenever pride gets in the way, I remind myself of this question from Dad’s speech at our wedding: Would you rather be right, or be loved? Being at each other’s throats can be both emotionally and physically exhausting. Nothing good comes out from carrying on with arguments. Working towards resolving an issue is a win-win situation.

Contrary to popular belief, marriage is not all rainbows and butterflies. As husband and wife, we need to invest more on our marriage because it’s a lifetime commitment. We need to work on it day in and day out. It takes time, effort, and energy. Marriage demands wisdom; you have to know what to do to make it work because it’s worth it.

“Fight for your marriage like it’s under attack from the powers of hell because it is.”

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