Big lifestyle changes and the first year of marriage

We all know that the first year of marriage is tough. When you’re engaged and wedding planning that’s all your mind is really focusing on. Once the knot is tied and you settle into everyday life, that’s when you start to notice how different being married is. Here you are living with the love of your life who most likely has different habits than you and you have to navigate how those habits will coexist together. Since many people now live together before marriage, it’s more than just if one person is messy and one is clean or one person wants the temperature to be 74 and one wants it 68. It’s more about your lives being completely intertwined and making sure both people are getting what they need. You start to have to delegate vacation time to each family and decide where you are going for holidays. You start to fall into your married routine and roles around the house. All of these changes make the first year really tough. If anyone tells you they don’t fight with their SO the first year of marriage I’d have to guess they aren’t being 100% truthful. It’s totally normal and it’s nothing to feel weird about or feel like you’re failing at marriage. 

Derek and I have definitely been feeling the toughness of this new chapter of our lives. We fight, we argue, we get angry, we get sad, things get emotional, but all of these things are necessary to grow together and build a true strong foundation. We are trying to figure out how to tell the other what we really want/need without being afraid to hurt feelings. We are trying to be the most open and honest with each other that we can. We are working on giving each other space when needed and knowing when comfort is needed over alone time.  I am someone who likes to have control so I am working on not letting those tendencies spill over to controlling Derek.  There are lots of things we are struggling with and working on.  There is one thing that has made this transition into marriage even tougher, the life style changes I have decided to make during this hard time in life.

I am sure most of you know by now that I am working towards new health habits and goals.  After seeing a functional medicine doctor, I learned there were areas of my health that really needed attention.  Being a vegetarian for years left me with some severe nutrient deficiencies.  Chronic stress and over exercising fried my adrenal glands.  Derek and I both discovered we had SIBO and needed to follow a special diet in order to heal our gut issues.  I am someone that is all in or all out.  I don’t like to start new things only half way.  Since this is the case, I decided to take on this issues all at once, head on.  If I really understood how different and difficult adjusting into marriage was, I don’t think I would have made all these changes at once.  But I did and it has taught me and Derek a lot. 

First there is the LOWFODMAP diet that we are on to treat SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth).  We had a 2-month elimination period where our diet was extremely restricted.  There were many things we loved to eat that were now off limits.  Another tough part of the diet is it is socially isolated.  It is pretty impossible to eat out so we basically stopped having a social life.  This is where the difficulty came into play.  Everyone needs their space and alone time; it is human nature.  Since we haven’t been going out and socializing much, we are spending ALL our time together.  Derek and I both work from home so we are pretty much always together.  Spending all this time together is nice but it also causes us to get on each other’s cases more.  We are adjusting into married life, being together all the time, and not having an outlet of going out and seeing friends that much.  I love Derek more than anything, he is my best friend, but people need to be around other people as well.  Tackling this diet 4 months into marriage may have not been the best idea but we have certainly grown from it.  We have the time to really communicate and fix any conflicts we have.  We may argue but we have never had a fight go over into the next day.  We use our time together to talk and work through whatever the issue may be but it does get tough not being able to go out and have a nice vent session with some friends.

The other big change I have made is with my diet and exercise.  I have now been eating meat and more fats in my diet. Things that have been tough for me to change. I am working out way less and trying to let my body rest when I need. Mentally that has been extremely hard, I always think I should be doing more. My diet and exercise are both coping mechanisms for stress.  Having control of these things helps me to calm down.  It is ironic that my stress relief methods are also the cause of my health issues.  Since I have changed these areas of my life, I have been a little more irritable (maybe a little is an understatement).  On a Friday night after a long week I can’t just curl up on my couch with a bowl of halo top to unwind. (because of the lowfodmap diet) Instead I am sitting there with a bowl of carrots and little things Derek may do will irritate me more.  These feelings are completely unfair, but since I am doing less of the things that used to help me relax, I am quicker to get upset.  I have been implementing other techniques such as meditation, reading, and more slow walks but it is still a process. 

The first year of marriage is tough and adding big lifestyle changes has definitely made it harder.  Some days are more frustrating than others but overall the past 9 months have been an amazing opportunity to really get to know each other and to build a foundation of strength for the future.  We argue, bicker, fight, yell, cry, but those are all human emotions and responses.  I would honestly be more worried if everything felt perfect and we never disagreed.  We are finding our roles together; we are learning every intimate detail about each other that we can and we are continuing to love each other over everything else.  I tell Derek all the time, “there is no one else in the world I would rather fight with than you.”