Getting settled into married life may not sound as exciting as honeymoon-ing or opening up all your presents from the wedding shower, but we’re here to argue that it’s actually even better. If you’re suffering from a touch of the post-wedding blues or you’re not quite ready to go back to work yet after your incredible honeymoon, there are still plenty of things to look forward to in this new season of your life.
To help you keep the excitement alive and well throughout your first year of marriage, we’ve gathered our favorite first year of marriage bucket list items—perfect for you and your new spouse to try in this year and beyond.
Find Your Combined Décor Style
Even if you’ve lived together before, your first year of marriage is the best time to figure out what your combined decorative style is. When you first moved in together, your partner may have brought some of their more interesting (ahem, ugly) furniture, artwork or linens into the house and you both may still have the dishes you started out with in college. This is the perfect opportunity to spend some of those wedding shower gift cards and buy something that truly reflects both of your styles. Your first year of marriage is your chance to get a fresh start and finally start building that grown-up home you’ve always fantasized about.
Cook a Fancy Meal Together
The two of you may live for easy dinners on busy weeknights, but when you have a bit of extra time on the weekends, you should go all out and cook a fancy/incredibly complicated recipe together. Spend some time perusing through recipes on Pinterest, flipping through magazines or watching the Food Network to get some inspiration for your decadent meal. Then, head to the grocery store and search for all of the exotic ingredients that you need (and don’t forget the wine!).
Even if you don’t consider yourselves the best chefs, it’s still fun to try and work together to create something delicious. Besides, how else are you going to be able to use all of those kitchen gadgets that you registered for?
Have a Spontaneous Night Out
Who says married people don’t know how to have a good time? While you can think of nothing better than snuggling up on the couch and watching yet another episode of “Game of Thrones,” you should still make an effort to get all dolled up and enjoy a night out every once in a while. So, go see that movie you’ve been hearing about, go to that restaurant that just opened down the street or see if your city has any festivals or events going on downtown. Better yet, why not go out on a random Tuesday? Nothing will make you feel more energized and happy than shaking up a boring weeknight.
Take a Road Trip
Your honeymoon may be over, but that doesn’t mean that your traveling days are done. Now that you’re married, you have a built-in travel partner—and there’s nothing more fun than exploring new cities or new states together during a quick weekend trip. Dedicate a weekend or two in your first marriage to visiting a nearby city or state that you’ve always wanted to check out and prep the car with plenty of snacks + an incredible Spotify playlist for the road.
Start a New Tradition
One of the best things about getting married is getting to become part of your spouse’s family traditions—and vice versa. Another great part of getting married? Being able to start your own brand new traditions that are unique to the two of you. For example, you could make every Saturday blueberry pancake day—or maybe make every Sunday your museum day. You could also think up new traditions for holidays—such as actually going to buy a real Christmas tree instead of just using a fake one, or maybe going on a trip together instead of buying each other gifts. No matter what you choose to do, it’ll be special because the two of you thought of it together.
Talk About Money
No matter how you’re organizing your bank accounts (separate, joint, a combination), getting married means combining assets and working together to build a financial future. Money can certainly be a tricky subject—and is one of the leading causes of disagreements between couples—but it’s important to do a check-in with each other and have some financial goals to achieve. For example, do the two of you want to save up to buy a home in the next few years, or is the most important financial goal to pay off your student loan debt? Make it a priority to sit down with each other and have a discussion about your budget, financial goals, and investments at least once a month.