When you celebrate your wedding anniversary each year it is an annual renewal of your commitment to one another. Traditionally the first wedding anniversary gift is symbolised with paper, so you’ve an excuse to look at the photographs of your wedding again. This is a time to reminisce about the day, the year you’ve had settling into married life and your plans for the future.
Dean and Amanda have been married for just over one year. Here they share their thoughts about their first year and what makes marriage so special to them.
Amanda: “My husband and I” I am still amazed at the strength of that sentence. I am so proud to be Dean’s wife. We lived together for three years before we got married and this year has brought us closer together, more than either of us could have imagined. We’re really a team. Marriage is amazing and has taught us both so much.
Dean: I can’t tell you how many messages of impending doom I got when I announced our wedding. Not all of which were said in jest.
Amanda: We are learning more and more about one another and about married life every day. Marriage is an amazing, life changing, and fun adventure.
Dean: Ignore those who are speak negatively about marriage. There’s lots of reasons to love married life. Like Amanda, I have a positive attitude towards our life now and our ideas, plans and dreams for the future.
Amanda: You come home and your husband, who has just come home from work, has dinner in the oven and a cup of tea waiting for you.
Dean: On my birthday, Amanda worked really hard to make a day to remember. She arranged for tickets to watch my favourite team and then we went for something to eat at the coffee shop where we had our first date. She had been planning this for a long time. It was an awesome day. And night!
Amanda: it’s not all about expensive gifts, though we do make an extra effort for birthdays and other significant dates. I love fine jewellery.
Dean: We hide love notes around the house too. Or I put one in her purse. I find love notes in my golf bag and car dashboard. It’s fun.
Amanda: it’s the simple things that we do to celebrate our love. We kiss each time we meet and each time we part. It’s the long, lingering kisses that I adore when Dean comes home.
Dean: Amanda has a beautiful smile. I want her to be happy, as that makes me happy too. So if that means putting the cap on the toothpaste, I do try.
Amanda: He does try! I love surprise gifts. Dean comes home from work sometimes with a beautiful red rose hidden behind his back for no reason other than he cherishes me and knows I adore surprises.
Dean: I’m less selfish than I was before we got married. I think about what makes Amanda happy. I’d rather buy her a gift and see her smile than buy something for myself.
Amanda: It’s true. Dean always leaves the largest cookie for me. And he buys me wonderful gifts that I wouldn’t justify buying for myself.
Dean: We realised on our first wedding anniversary that we’re our own little family of two. Hopefully family member three will be with us in the next year.
Amanda: Dean is a good uncle to his brother’s kids, they love him. When I saw Dean hold his baby nephew for the first time, he melted and it showed me what a great dad he will be one day.
Dean: And Amanda is amazing at calming friend’s babies. I’ll be so proud to see her holding our own infant.
Amanda: For all the settling into marriage life stuff we’ve dealt with, I think I can speak for the both of us when I say that there is a lot of joy to to look forward to. And we’re working towards that together.
Dean: That’s right dear.
Amanda: The best three words to say to your spouse, even before ‘I love you’!
You want your girlfriend to both trust and admire you. She’s chosen to be with you, so be confident with who you are, don’t try and be someone you are not. You will both need to adapt as your relationship blossoms which will give you a great foundation for a long-lasting relationship. Here are a few tips to help you be the best boyfriend you can be.
You may be someone who keeps their feelings to themselves, but your girlfriend will get to know how you are feeling even if you don’t tell her. She will know your true feelings by your facial expression and your body language. Be honest with her about your feelings, about what you’re finding a challenge, what makes you happy and what makes you sad. Try not to shout even when angry about something. It’s good for her to hear you talk, not because she can solve all your problems, but so that she can get to know you better.
Honesty with kindness
Be comfortable with being honest. Be kind when you’re being honest. If she asks you if she looks good in an outfit and you don’t think so, instead of being honest with a direct “No” say that they are nice clothes, but your favourite outfit is another because it shows off her curves better/brings out the colour of her eyes or some other complimentary reason. Allow her to be honest with you too without taking offence.
Trust and be trustworthy
Trust is the base on which your relationship is built. Try not to give your girlfriend any reason not to trust you. If you have any thought that you may regret an action you’re about to take, don’t do it. Trust your girlfriend by telling her how you’re feeling. Trust her with information about yourself that you rarely tell others. If she tells you something that she wants to keep private between you, don’t tell your friends. If you trust her, she will trust you.
If you and your girlfriend disagree on anything, don’t get in a big fight or act in a way where she will immediately give in to you. Don’t ignore her side of the story, try and understand it. Stay calm and compromise. Sometimes it’s worth giving in to show her that you care, such as when she wants a movie night and you want to watch the football. There will be times when she’s busy with work, on a deadline with an application or not feeling well when you’ll have to compromise on a night out with the boys to make things a bit easier for her. She will reciprocate the support when you need it.
Support and Sympathy
Whether you think your girlfriend is over-reacting to an event, put yourself in her shoes and sound sincere with your comfort. In simple terms, a good boyfriend knows when to talk and when to listen; when to offer advice and when to offer sympathy; when to be attentive and when to give her some space.
Not all girls like holding hands in public, but small touches and a hug are some ways of connecting through affection. Remember her birthday and other significant dates and mark these with a gift that suits her style and personality. Give her a gift at any time you want to show her how much you appreciate her being in your life. Try and remember things she has told you that she likes and tie that into your gift ideas. She’ll be happy that you’ve listened and remembered.
Your girlfriend cares about you, but she’s not your mother. So take care of yourself and don’t expect her to always do your laundry, cook you meals or plan your life. You’re not joined at the hip! You each need some space to do you own thing. In fact she will probably like you more if you each have your separate hobbies and interests. Of course, if you have a shared interest then do this together, but have your boys nights out and let her have her girls night out.
Whether you’re just starting out on your relationship with your man, or you’ve been together a few years, you want to be sure you’re being the best girlfriend you can possibly be so the relationship continues to grow.
You can be loving and supportive without giving up your independence.
Getting to know each other requires you to be honest so that you each get to know one another and see if you’re compatible. Be who you really are. Don’t pretend to be a great chef by passing off a meal as home-made when you bought it from the store. Also be honest with yourself. If you behave inappropriately or make a mistake then apologise as soon as you can. If he does something or says something that makes you uncomfortable, let him know the impact that has on you, but without any accusation or demand that he change. The only changes you can make are to yourself.
You don’t exist solely to meet the needs of your boyfriend. Share your opinions, needs and wishes with him even if they are different to his. He’ll appreciate your independence. If he has different views to your own, accept this and consider his feelings in your response. Be tactful with your criticism and make sure that your criticism is valid and not just because you’re having a bad day!
Don’t pretend to share his interests if you don’t. Don’t act like someone you “think” he would like if this is not who you really are. You cannot maintain a false personality trait for long and when your deceit is revealed it will hurt him. If he insists you would be a better girlfriend if more sporty, prettier or anything else you are not (or do not wish to be) walk away.
Of course you want to be loving, affectionate, at times seductive. Show your affection through touch, hold his hand when out, praise and support him in front of friends, give him a hug. Send him texts when you’re not together to let him know you’re thinking of him. Don’t be afraid to be seductive. Value yourself and accept yourself as you are. Trust that you are worthy of his attention. Most men like a sexy, confident woman.
Show your love with gifts when you want to let him know how much he means to you or to thank him for his support. Surprise him flowers, record a play-list of songs he likes. He will love your spontaneity. For birthdays, anniversaries and other significant celebrations, buy him a gift that suits his style and personality, something tangible that he wants or perhaps an experience gift like a day at the races.
Be a team player
Whilst you should be yourself, you also need to work as a team. Try not to be too selfish: don’t expect to be all take and no give. Show him that you cherish him being in your life both at home and when with family and friends. A healthy relationship is to know that you each have the other’s back. So when inevitable conflict arises (however big or small) you’ll be able to manage it without humiliation or hurt. When life is difficult, take joint responsibility for fixing things rather than taking it all on yourself or expecting him to do so alone, which may lead to resentments. Try not to focus just on what you need, but what your boyfriend needs too.
He may be a great Star Trek fan and you are not, but try to understand why he’s a fan and show an interest in what matters to him. Give him the space and independence to follow interests with other friends. He’ll appreciate you for it and allow you the same. Let him know that you’re always there for him, but don’t obsess about what he might be up to when out without you, but instead have a nice time of your own. Make an effort to get on well with his friends and family and don’t be jealous of his friendships with other women. He’s chosen to be with you.