There’s nothing quite like the excitement that begins at your engagement and lasts all through the big day. But when all is said and done (and you’re married!) the excitement may seem to fade a bit. While this is perfectly normal, there are many ways to keep your newlywed status exciting and special. In fact, there's a whole slew of must-do activities that you can plan to tackle together as a couple to solidify you as a pair and also challenge you in some new way.
We know you just spent months planning a wedding, but don't throw in the towel on to-do lists just yet! Here are some things we think every couple should do during their first year of marriage.
Celebrate the Little Things
Maybe your name change just became official, it’s your two-month anniversary, or you finally said “husband” or “wife” instead of “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” without correcting yourself. Whatever it is—celebrate it! By opening a bottle of wine, making a special meal, or finding another way to celebrate, you’ll find the magic of your love and relationship in even the tiniest of things, keeping the special spark going for quite some time. (Forever, actually.)
Book a Trip
The dust may have just settled on your honeymoon, but having a trip to look forward to is a fantastic way to build (and keep) anticipation for new and exciting experiences. It doesn’t have to be big or luxurious (though it totally can be!) but maybe you want to plan ahead for your one-year anniversary, or to go somewhere you’ve always dreamed of prior to starting a family (if that's in your plan). Even a staycation or quick overnight trip to a special spot outside of town can help to build excitement and make such a special time feel a bit more special.
Plus, deciding as a couple where you'll go, what sights you'll see, and how much you'll spend can actually strengthen your relationship. "Taking the trip requires even more compromise in deciding when to stick to the original plan and when to put the plan on hold and just go with the flow," explains Aviva Samuels, founder of Kiss the Planner. You'll also return home with memories for the rest of your marriage.
Try Something New
As your marriage sparked the beginning of a new chapter, why not extend that sentiment into a new hobby, healthy habit, or class? The couple that sweats together, stays together, right? Maybe taking evening walks, runs, or fitness classes together can be a fun and healthy way to start a new habit you can take part in as a pair. Maybe you’ve wanted to learn a new language or craft and can take that up as a partnership too. By trying new things as a married couple, it will help to keep things lively and prevent any looming post-wedding blues.
Sign up for a Cooking Class
Still need an idea for a new hobby for you and your hubby? "Cooking is a skill that new couples can find useful throughout their lives together," says Samuels. Taking a culinary class together should be fun but also a good excuse to learn how to make dishes that you can prepare for one another years into the future.
Host Your First Dinner Party
To put your new cooking skills to the test, why not host your first dinner party as husband and wife? "Welcoming your friends and family into your joint home adds a new dimension to your relationship and is a lovely symbol of your union," Samuels says.
Now that you've tried a new thing or two, time to find a joint passion project. Devoting some of your free time to a nonprofit in need not only feels good but it can have a lasting impact on your community. Figure out what causes you care about as a couple—be it animals or ending homelessness—and work as a team to help a local organization realize its goals or raise funds.
Give Thanks as a Couple
"The first year of marriage can often be challenging enough without adding more challenges to it!" says Stacey Agin Murray, a professional organizer and author of The Organized Bride's Thank-You Note Handbook. But one hurdle you should try leaping over together is penning those countless thank-you cards. "Create a feeling of collaborative gratitude that allows a 50/50 split of post-wedding thank-you note writing responsibilities," Murray says.
For some, this might meant the bride writes notes to her friends and family while the groom tackles his as they work side-by-side. Or, one person may have beautiful handwriting while the other has a way with words.
Find Fun Routines
With the big event now in the past, you can find new ways to have mini-celebrations throughout the month. Perhaps your Friday nights become date nights, serving as something to keep you going throughout the workweek. The simple anticipation of knowing you can get dolled up (or put on your best sweats) and head to your favorite restaurant (or order takeout) may sound small, but it keeps you close, and provides built-in together time that might otherwise be hard to find.