I honestly cannot believe that Chris and I have been married for a year already! On April 22, 2017, I walked down the aisle towards my forever. Marriage is such an amazing gift filled with love's ups & downs, the thick & thin, and the good, bad, and yes, the ugly. They say that the first year of marriage is one of the hardest, and boy were they right. It's a year full of life-altering adjustments and some really tough lessons. But, the good thing is, you get to experience all of these crazy, crazy adventures with the one you love the most.

Chris and I never had the opportunity to go on a honeymoon, and maybe we will someday, but I so wish that we would have been able to go on one. Honestly, we went right from our wedding day to cleaning it up the next day, and we never got to have a "honeymoon" stage. We went straight from the stress of planning a wedding, to wedding day jitters, to moving all of his stuff in and learning how in the heck to live with each other and not kill one another in the process.

I can't sit here and tell you that we've learned all the ins and outs of marriage, because that would be a straight up lie, but if you're in your early stages of marriage or you're about to get married, we're hoping that these little tidbits of advice can help you get through the toughest moments that marriage will bring.

We thought that it would be fun to give you combined advice, but each from our own perspective. So, here is the first post that Christopher, my husband, has ever written on. Drum roll please!

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One // Each day is a gift. Never go to bed angry.

Kristen //

This has been something that I've always been told--when we were engaged (for a whole 8 weeks) and it was all throughout our wedding guest book that was filled with advice. I can't tell you how many times friends & family stressed how important it was and is to resolve problems before going to bed.

Not only does it help you resolve an issue faster without it festering, it allows you to start the next day with a fresh start. Each day is not guaranteed and is truly a gift. Make sure you're living each day to the fullest.

Christopher //

Don't wait to share how you feel about something, especially if it's bothering you, even if you don't come up with a permanent solution before morning. It's nice to feel like there's a plan to fix something instead of just having a problem keep getting worse.

Two // When you're angry, stop and think to remember why you married them in the first place

Kristen //

I'm not going to lie, sometimes marriage can get to the point where you're like what in the heck did I do?! It's honestly one of the scariest things, because you're committing yourself to that one person for the rest of your life. You can't just up and leave when a little issue arises. You're well, married.

When these crazy thoughts and feelings creep up on me, I take a step back and remember why we got married. I rattle off qualities Chris possesses in my head that remind me how great I truly have it. He's kind. He's supports my dreams. He loves me with all his heart. He's caring. He'd do anything for me. He's hella hot. He works hard. He's understanding--through anxiety attacks and all. I mean, honestly I could not have found a better man to live life with. 

If you're ever in a place that brings you to question why you're married, remember why you made that decision in the first place. It usually takes me down memory lane and I relive our wedding day. Our vows are my favorite love letter, so sometimes I'll even grab our vow books and read them. We wrote our vows ourselves, so they put life into perspective and I can't help but smile when I read them.

Christopher //

It's easy to think about bad qualities of your spouse when you're angry. They may not even be what you're angry at, but they take the heat. Sometimes, outside stress makes you mad and they're the only one around. Remembering why you love them helps take the bad focus off of them and put it on the issue that needs to be resolved. Piggybacking off of point one, get that stuff out there early and figure out why you're mad and not just who you want to blame it on.

Three // Make time for each other

Kristen //

Spending time and I mean like real quality time is a foundation for every marriage. This time spent with each other isn't when you sit and watch tv and you're both on your phones "time together". It's when you can invest in one another, listen to each other, and really focus on them. For us, I always find our quality time is spent in the car whenever we drive somewhere or when we go on a date. On long drives are when we have some of the best conversations and really learn about what's going on in each other's lives.

Planning a date night whether it's once a week or once a month is so key. Usually we try and go out on Friday nights to Qdoba for a quick meal. Love always grows when there is queso around. haha! When we're out to dinner, we try not to look at our phones either. We want to make the most of each moment we have together. So, go on an adventure, spend some time together, and keep the spark alive.

Christopher //

While Kristen might hate it, I'm the king of surprises. And the best surprises are going somewhere or doing something out of nowhere. Usually we're busy on weekends and bored on weeknights, so surprise activities to share together help you focus on each other and escape the boredom and busy-ness of everyday life.

Four // Communication is key

Kristen //

If you think you have really good communication, communicate some more. Chances are, you haven't communicated enough. We've been there, done that and let me tell you, it was a battle at first. I have a tendency to over communicate...or communicate in my head and Chris just forgets to tell me things or waits until the last minute to tell me. After a few "why didn't you tell me?!" arguments, we've finally figured out a system.

Either way, if you think you're communicating, communicate again. Personally, I like writing lists because it keeps me organized, but it's something that Chris can see himself as well so we're always on the same page.

Christopher //

While I like surprises, there are some things that need to not be surprises, like if I need to go somewhere after work before I get home. Jumping back to point 1 and 2, it's just as important to communicate how you feel as it is to communicate plans and errands. You can't bottle things up when you're married, because there's one more person that has to deal with the consequences with you.

Five // Have your own interests & activities

Kristen //

It is so important to have your own interests and do things a part. When you're with someone 24/7 aside from work, you're going to need a little space. During these moments, take advantage of the free time and invest in yourself. Read a book, take up a new hobby, hang out with your friend, something! Make sure you go out with your own friends every once in a while. Have designated girl's & guy's nights where you can be with just your best friends. It helps you unwind and keep true to yourself. When couples always have to be with each other, it's just weird. We get it, you love each other, but you're your own person, people.

Christopher //

One of the things that's always been my thing is the movies. We've gone on dates and double dates to the movies, but if it's horror or superhero it's guy time (aside from Spider-Man:Homecoming and Black Panther). We get along with each other's friends and hang out in groups all the time, but you should invest time in those friends too, especially the ones you knew before you met your spouse. Most of the time they helped you guys get together. Don't be a person who disappears once you find someone you love, even when you're dating.

Christopher's sense of humor is what gets us through pretty much everything, so we thought it would only be fitting if he gave you guys some bonus lessons that might give ya a little chuckle.

Christopher's Bonus Lessons //

• Get noise canceling headphones for when she's calling her mom/sister.*
• Use OpenTable for reservations instead of waiting hangry for an hour.
• If your in-laws offer you cold fried chicken, take it, it's a test.
• Dread it. Run from it. Your Legos are going in the trash.
• Make her laugh - if she smiles, you win.
• Have a florist on speed-dial.

*If you marry a Sicilian

For all of our married friends, what is your best piece of advice that you could give?!

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