Marriage advice from a newlywed

So I’ve been thinking. How long do you get to consider yourself a newlywed? Since Brian and I have been married for exactly 365 days (tomorrow is our anniversary), I’m wondering if I can still consider myself a newlywed?

Well, regardless, I thought it was important to impart some very necessary wisdom about marriage that I’ve discovered in the last 12 months of wedded bliss.

Marriage is not work. I don’t care what anyone says. Maybe I’m lucky. Maybe I found the one person in this world who doesn’t drive me quite as crazy as everyone else. Maybe I’m still in the honeymoon phase. Maybe we don’t have children or money problems, which tend to be the heaviest weights on marriages according to a bunch of studies I don’t feel like looking up. But I definitely work harder to keep my laundry clean than I do to stay happy in my relationship with Brian. Thankfully, Brian’s been especially helpful with the laundry.

black and white wedding photo Eskimo kiss

Play is not just for children. It’s so important to have fun in a marriage. Whether we’re going on one of the crazy dates from our date jar, cooking together in the kitchen, putting together furniture, testing out a new game from our massive board game collection, or playing around at the park, our relationship is playful, and laughter is a cornerstone.

bride and groom sitting on a playground dinosaur eating the bridal bouquet

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. If you were following me on social media this summer, you know that I was jetsetting all over the country. From Vegas to Orlando and Boston to Birmingham, I trekked far and wide for work and play. Brian only joined me on the road trips (our kitschy cheese tour of Wisconsin and our annual pilgrimage to stalk Wil Wheaton at Gen Con). But everytime I came home, Brian was at the airport to retrieve me, regardless of what ungodly hour my flights arrived.

Supporting and encouraging each other is one of the greatest gifts you can give. I know I’m lucky to have such a strong group of friends and an amazing family that loves and supports me in everything I do. But Brian pushes me to do the scary things. To take the big leaps. He helps me remember what’s important. And what’s not. And every day, he encourages me to follow my dreams.

bride and groom cutting the top of the cheese wheel wedding cake

Communication requires patience, listening, and the occasional knock knock joke.  Not that Brian or I have ever had a problem communicating with each other. If I told you we don’t fight, you’d laugh and call, “Bullshit.” Or, worse, you’d think there was something immeasurably wrong with our relationship. They must sweep shit under the rug. Bet there’s a ton of unresolved resentment hiding underneath their smiles. And yet, I’m living proof that talking things through when you’re both calmly listening to each other…that’s how compromise happens. And that’s how you can both be satisfied with the results. And really, a good joke is almost always appropriate.

bride laughing during wedding ceremony

Making a cheese platter can relieve stress. I’m not sure this is marriage advice per-say, but it’s sage wisdom nonetheless. Whenever I had a crappy day, Brian would send me flowers…and then I’d come home and make a cheese board. And everything would suddenly seem brighter. Not sure whether it was the flowers or the cheese. But you know. Joy.

Cheese wheel wedding cake

There’s no such thing as the perfect man. But if there was, his name would be Brian…and he would be married to me.

groom with his back to the bride during first look

Happy anniversary to the kindest, smartest, and best partner a girl could ask for. This life that we’ve built together is my favorite place to be.

bride and groom kissing behind huge bridal bouquet

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Dating Advice: How to Flirt Your Way to a Maybe Definitely

I may not be married (coughyetcoughBRIAN*), but I like to think that I was really good sometimes, sort of okay at dating. Which makes me an excellent advice giver. Honestly, though, I’m much better at giving advice than taking it.

Wise

See? Even Katie thinks I’m very wise. Sage-like even.

 

I’d been dating a few different guys for a couple of months. One would flake, and I’d start dating another. I was seeing two to three at a time, always talking to someone new so I didn’t totally obsess about any one guy at any one time (this plan, by the way, worked in theory only. I was still bat-shit crazy). Online dating was my escape from the not-what-I-planned life I was leading.

I was a server in a bar with damn near a master’s degree, not really sure which direction I wanted to go in. But boys were always there to occupy my mind so I didn’t have to think, let alone worry, about my future. It was freeing and constricting all at once. I was just having fun, until I wasn’t and then I’d move on to someone new (okay fine, they’d move on to someone new, so I would have to as well). And then sometimes, I would go on the WORST dates with awkward guys who had nothing interesting to say or that I had no chemistry with. And quite honestly, when you get an unrequested, uncalled for, unnecessary dick pic (not to be confused with a Nic pic) from someone you’re already not interested in? Gah. I don’t miss that.

During this time, a couple of guys asked me to go to Europe with them. And then I  digitally stalked one of them. And got a little bit crazy. But somehow managed to see them again at the bar.

I didn’t hear from either of them after they failed to meet me at my preferred local watering hole. I was a little more than disappointed.

But with all my experience, I  had discovered the online secrets to making boys want to date me (at least go on a first date with me…or send me photos of their prize possessions).  With these brilliant pointers, you’ll be on the road to love in no time.

How to Awkwardly Flirt Your Way to a Maybe

Dating Advice

Leave adorable messages with near strangers

So when The Grown Up showed up in my Gchat feed a few weeks later, after one of those aforementioned really awful dates…I messaged him.

9:15 AM…
Me: So, I haven’t seen you guys around the (insert abbrev for the bar I worked at before abbrevs were cool) lately…Hope things are fabulous 😀

Be patient

44 minutes later…
TGU: Everything’s been going great! Bright and Shiny started his tax season rush, so he’s pretty much under house arrest until April. How’ve you been? You’re probably settled in at the bar by now.

Demonstrate positivity, ambition, and confidence

Me: I’ve been pretty great.
Settled, yeah…but I’m ready to get a teaching gig, so now its all about the hunt 😀
TGU: well…traditionally…you want to either isolate the young or the old and infirm from the rest of the pack. You can do this through several feints designed to see who lags behind.

Laugh at his jokes

Me: lmao
Good plan
TGU: or you can set a trap.
Traps are kinda more fun because they have an arts and crafts thing going on.
You can do a snare, a pit trap with spikes, a bear trap, a tripwire with claymores, a landmine…
Endless fun!
Most teachers will never see it coming
Me: hahahahahaha
I’ll keep those in mind…

Leave him wanting more

Me: Well, I wish I could chat more, but I have to run…breakfast calls me…

Ask him out without asking him out

Me: we should hang out or something sometime :-p
TGU: Definitely. but I’ll know to look for traps now.
I’ll check my schedule and shoot you an email.

Feign indifference

(but feel free to dance around like a maniac because you’re in your bedroom chatting and not next to him)

Me: Awesome. Sounds good
Later 🙂

Let him have the last word

TGU: Have a good breakfast

Obviously, I charmed him with my amusement and very serious flirting skills. He said “DEFINITELY.” That was good, right? I was ready to make this a thing. It had been 3 months since my first interaction with this very handsome man, who appeared to be mildly interested in me. I found myself screaming in my head, WHY WASN’T ANYTHING HAPPENING YET!?

How do/did you flirt with someone new? Were you an advocate of the digital dating or did you prefer old-fashioned, classic dating?

Did I go on a date with The Grown Up or was he all talk and little action? Maybe. Definitely. Click the image below to read the next part of the story!

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!