Thursday, June 7, 2012

Six Essentials Not to Neglect During Your First Year of Marriage

The first year of marriage can be quite a whirlwind. The change in lifestyle from singlehood to married life can be dramatic. With so much to manage between your home, married, work, and personal lives, certain elements of a healthy lifestyle might end up falling to the wayside. As you muddle through the chaos, keep these six essentials in mind. Without them, you might end up losing your balance and taking your spouse down with you.

1. Your nutrition. It can certainly be tempting for newlyweds to spend too many nights out at restaurants or to grab fast food on a regular basis. Whether it's out due to laziness, lack of time, or sheer habit, your nutrition can definitely suffer if you establish this pattern in your marriage. You might not need to "impress" members of the opposite sex anymore, but there are still so many reasons to watch what you eat. Being healthier will boost your energy and self-image, which in turn will translate into a happier relationship. In fact, eating healthy can give you more date ideas - make a date to go to the grocery store, to cook together, and to eat your delicious meals!

2. Your physical fitness. Have you ever heard that waistlines expand in proportion to the number of years a person has been married? OK, so that's not entirely true, but there is some merit behind the joke. As with nutrition, it can be easy to neglect your physical fitness when trying to balance so many areas of your life. Make sure to incorporate regular exercise into your married life. Whether you join a gym together, take regular walks, or have an ongoing Wii Tennis tournament, you can spend fun, quality time while staying in shape.

3. Your finances. When you got married, you likely found yourself in a double-income family for the first time. Knowing there is money in your checking account can sometimes make spending become a little freer - or at least that's how it was for me when I first got married. While it doesn't hurt to spend a little more when you make a little more, you have to take into account all the expenses you need to plan for in your immediate future. Sit down and make a budget together, and then hold yourselves to it. You will avoid a lot of headaches and potential disasters in the future if you do so now rather than later!

4. Your romantic side. I’ve found that my husband’s and my day-to-day conversation topics often consist of work, family, our cat, and our newly begun search for our first house. It’s sad to say because we’re supposed to be in the “honeymoon phase” of our marriage, but we rarely take the time to be romantic with one another. Don’t neglect this part of your marriage. From sweet notes to random acts of kindness to date nights when you leave the cares of your daily life behind, regularly reconnect as lovers rather than household partners.

5. Your camera. Your first year of marriage is full of important firsts. You might have been all pictured out by the time you got home from your honeymoon, but don’t forget to document these memorable moments. Your kids will probably want to see your first Christmas tree or a disastrous attempt at cooking a particular meal. At the end of the year, you could present your husband with a photo album (or, if you’re particularly crafty, a scrap book) that takes him through your first year of marriage in pictures.

6. Your sense of humor. When it comes down to it, things might not go perfectly during your first year of marriage. You will probably have fights, make mistakes, get bored, and worry about a lot of things. Try not to take things more seriously than you have to. Find time to laugh and joke around. Take words with a grain of salt and an open mind. Look at yourself from an outsider’s point of view from time to time. Above all, remind yourself that you are in this marriage together for life, so make the most of the journey and take good care of your partner – and yourself!

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