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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How Long Are You Considered A Newlywed?

How long are you considered a newlywed? Here's my theory!
So I've been married for two years now. Yeeesh. In some ways it seems like it's been a lot longer, but in other ways it seems like just yesterday that Danielle and I were kicking back on the beaches of Kelly's Island on our honeymoon.

So are we still considered newlyweds?

I found myself pondering this question as I looked back over our second year of marriage and considered how different it was from the first. Initially, Danielle and I were two fiercely independent people waging war over our independent ways as we struggled to compromise amidst a tumultuous frenzy of stubborn independence. Thankfully, year two was a little more mellow.

But back to the question at hand. Are we still considered newlyweds?

To answer my question I did what any highly-intelligent adult would do and consulted the most wise and insightful person I know: my Mother.

"Forever!" she said.

Oh, mom. You're such an optimist.

I then consulted the second most wise and insightful being I know: Google.

Google had a variety of answers stemming mostly from the personal perspectives of its chasm of users around the world. Many Googlers seemed to think that you were a newlywed for one year, but older generations suggested three.

So which is it—one or three?

Well, that depends on many factors, but, don't worry cause I've got it all figured out. You can call off Google. You can stop asking your mother. I'm here to give you the definitive answer... though, admittedly, I am a bit biased because this is my theory and my blog. (Best to take this with a massive grain of salt.)

Essentially this status applies to people who have either been down the marriage street before or are already so familiar with their significant other that a newlywed status of longer than one year seems redundant.

If you've been married once before, divorced or widowed, and you marry again, your newlywed status doesn't stick as long as your first one. Sorry. It's just a fact. You've been around this block before, so there isn't much "new" about it.

If you've been with the same person for more than three years already, especially if you've been living together, married life isn't going to have many surprises for you that you're not already aware of. So you had a ceremony and now you've got a ring on your finger. Big deal. That changes what, exactly? After one year you're just no longer a newlywed. Get over yourself.

Maybe you were high school sweethearts. Maybe you met in the military. Whatever the circumstances, your marriage was put off for a period of time for reasons beyond your control. And chances are you haven't been able to see your partner because of scheduling conflicts or distance. As a result there's a lot of pent-up eagerness to finally be married. You can't wait to be together and hold hands and look into each other's eyes and make all the rest of us sick with your very public displays of mushy affection. This fervor for each other will be what carries your newlywed gusto into a second year, but that's all you get.

You started dating. You fell in love. You got engaged. All within a year. Your passion contained one part forward momentum, two parts abstinence and tradition, and your wedding day was a celebration for the ages. Chances are this was also the only serious relationship you have ever had—or, at least, one of the few. You've got all the fervor and gusto from the Two-Year Newlywed Status, but it's pumped into one of those cardboard Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll tubes, packed tight and ready to burst at the seams. You'll be considered newlyweds for a long time. Your third year of newlywed status will be significantly dimmer than the first two, but it will still apply.

Now, as for my mother's "Forever Newlywed Status," I think there's some truth to that too. I think there is a way that you can forever remain a student of your spouse—learning about them, pursuing them—that will always keep some sort of youthful spark in your marriage, preserving that newlyweded feeling for a long time.

Danielle and I are reading a book right now called "Sacred Marriage," by Gary Thomas. In it he presents an interesting concept called "falling forward." The term comes from the author's experience hiking Mount Rainier. While attempting to jump across a fast-moving creek a friend told him that when he jumped, "just make sure you fall forward."

"Wise advice, because even if I didn't land on my feet, my forward momentum would at least keep me from being swept downstream. That advice applies in profound ways to Christian marriage. In this key relationship we must also learn to fall forward. When anger flares and problems surface or boredom takes over, we're tempted in our immaturity to pull back, become distant, or even seek out someone more interesting and less frustrating. But we mature as we choose to move forward through the pain and past apathy. We will fall, but we can choose the direction in which we fall, either toward or away from our spouse."

A marriage should be a never-ending work in progress. If work ever stops, you're going to lose your forward momentum. So long as you're always putting work into your marriage, whenever problems arise, that forward momentum should see you through.

As Danielle and I enter our third year of being newlyweds, my aim is to continue to pursue her, almost to the point of imagining that we're not married and that I'm still trying to win her heart. If we keep this forward momentum maybe we'll find that newlywed status can indeed last forever.

Cause seriously, when is my mother ever wrong?

Keep pinchin' :-)


  1. My hubs and I will celebrate our 3rd anniversary in May 2015. I love your blog post. This is his 3rd marriage, my 2nd, but we still feel like newlyweds. I especially love the last paragraph. We are constantly evolving and learning more and more about each other. I hope to be a newlywed forever.

    1. Good for you Ana! Thanks for reading :) We hope you will find many years of youthful, newly-wedded bliss with your husband!