Our first year
What is the first year of marriage really like? Ignore the inspo quotes and hear it straight from the mouths of these newlyweds
“Your list of priorities changes. It’s no longer how things affect me, it’s how they affect much more complex”
GEORGES & PHOEBE Married May, 2015 What made you decide to get married?
I was 38 when I proposed, and this is my first marriage. People say when you know you know and I honestly believe that’s true. There was no other option for me; after a particular time, Phoebe was it. Phoebe:
Being with Georges, I made some big changes. I moved to Australia from England; I took the relationship seriously from the beginning. Marrying Georges was the path I was on from the very beginning.
What kind of advice were you given about marriage?
G: My dad said you don’t have to feel like you’re madly in love with your wife every day but you can never feel like you’ve lost respect for her. It’s true, not just in marriage, but in relationships.
Is marriage what you expected?
P: I expected nothing to change. G: Me too, but everything has changed. P: Day-to-day routine doesn’t change. What does change is the relationship itself. There is so much more worth fighting for; you’re in this together and you’ve made this commitment. There are going to be struggles, but you have this strength that you can get through it and support each other. If I make a mistake or mess up, that’s, to an extent, on both of us. We both deal with each other’s stuff.
G: Because a marriage is, in principle, a lifelong commitment. If people say things don’t change, then I think their perception of marriage is different. I think it is the best change in my adult life. It’s not like you’re trying to feel different; your list of priorities changes. It’s no longer how things affect me, it’s how they affect us. It’s much more complex. I think that’s also where compromise comes into it. But you’re still separate people because that’s who you fell in love with.
What surprised you most about the change?
G: I wasn’t going to wear my wedding ring, mainly due to my line of work as a photographer and occupational safety. Plus, I don’t even wear a watch; I don’t like anything attached to me. But this ring, I can’t take it off.
P: It’s a beautiful symbol but it’s what you do throughout the marriage that makes it. I didn’t mind that he didn’t want to wear it – it didn’t mean he wasn’t going to love me any less, but when I saw he was wearing it I was over the moon.
How have you changed as people?
G: I’ve put on so much weight and got a lot more grey hair [laughs]. I feel more focused. I feel like I have a shorter amount of time to do things before it gets hectic and we have children. Time has become considerably more finite.
I just feel really grown up. I think I’m also processing the reality of things starting to change, so I think I’m also on the same wavelength of getting my ducks in a row and figuring out how to prepare us for the next step.
JAMES & BEN Married October, 2015 First things first, how did you two meet?
James: We were introduced by two mutual friends of ours. We went on a date and I fell in love straight away. Ben:
I was a bit bombarded and a bit scared by the commitment side.
J: Ben put the brakes on and a year later we organically came back into each other’s lives. Two weeks later and we were living together.
When you came back together, how long did it take until you spoke about marriage?
J: I didn’t take too long! Around the three-year mark I would ask him all the time, and at my 31st birthday he said, “We’ll be married by your next birthday, so stop asking all the time.”
B: I’d always considered marriage, it just wasn’t at the top of my mind. I think it was important for the person I love to be happy, and James wanted to get married; I fell in love with the concept of getting married, too.
Were you expecting much to change post-wedding?
B: I don’t think much has changed and I don’t think we’re surprised by that. Saying that, our relationship is just as good and as strong as it was before.
J: We made a commitment to one another a long time ago, before our wedding. For me there was a massive change at the time of the engagement – it felt more secure and official and extremely exciting for the both of us.
B: We’re also really proud and happy of the fact we’re married. Our behaviours haven’t changed but deep down inside we know our life is more complete.
What kind of advice were you given before getting married?
J: Ben and I both have extremely good role models in our parents – they’re all still together in happy marriages. That’s a big reason I wanted to get married, because of the strength of my parents. It’s the ultimate expression of love.
What is the main ingredient to a happy marriage?
J: Communication, for sure. And Ben and I are very independent. We’re co-dependent but we can break away and do our own thing too.
B: We have fun together, which is really important. We make a conscious effort to do things together and that’s a reflection of why we’re still happy.
“Our behaviours haven’t changed but deep down inside we know our life is more complete now”
LEITH & BROOKE Married June, 2014 How did you two meet?
Leith: At a friend’s Christmas party at the Ivy Pool Club [in Sydney]. I think Brooke was being introduced to someone else but I stole her.
How long did it take for you two to talk about marriage?
Brooke: We never really talked about it that much. What tested the relationship was when we moved to LA together. That was make or break.
L: When we came back it was logical to get married. Brooke never said she wanted to get married. I want to have kids, too, but I wanted to be traditional about it and get married first.
What were you expecting marriage to be like?
B: We didn’t want it to be any different. We’re both traditional in wanting to get married before having children. People say it’s just a piece of paper, but it does feel good; we’re a team.
L: I don’t feel like it’s challenging. We’re pretty laid-back and chilled. But we said if we’re going to get married then we’d be serious about making it work; it’s not a flash in the pan.
B: Marriage is not what it used to be, which is sad. Sometimes people get engaged after two minutes. I think they do it because it’s the next step and they have to. I was still young, I got engaged at 24, there was no rush for me. He just wanted to tie me down [laughs].
What is the most important thing you’ve realised a marriage needs?
L: Communication and listening.
How has your relationship changed?
L: It’s been more about growing up. Different things are important to us now. But I think Brooke’s definitely more confident.
B: I think that comes with age, too. When we met I was still young and partying. For me, I think that Leith has helped with maturing and given me a lot of guidance in regards to my career and future. There are 12 years between us. I found that has been good for me in maturing.
L: She keeps me young…
“We said if we’re going to get married then we’d be serious about making it work; it’s not a flash in the pan”
“The big thing that changes is you feel like two souls coming together to make a family”
DAVID & CHRISTIE Married May, 2014 What were your expectations of marriage?
Christie: We were realistic because by the time we got married we’d been together for five years. We knew all about the ups and downs of relationships.
David: Living together was a great thing; you realise what people are like and the give and take you’re going to need when you get married. It takes a few of the surprises out of the game.
How has your relationship changed?
D: From a guy’s point of view, when you ask someone to marry you, you’re bringing them into your family and it changes your whole perception on family. It’s a back flip on just dating someone.
What kind of advice would you two give other couples thinking about marriage?
D: Take your time. There isn’t a huge rush. Get to know each other first, so it’s not surprise after surprise. Respect is a big thing and giving the other person their space.
C: The engagement ring plays a big part – as women we are really fixated on the ring. But I actually lost mine five minutes before I was meant to walk down the aisle. Then my dad told me, “It’s just a ring, it’s about the man at the end of the aisle.” That was a lesson to not hold on to materialistic things in the marriage.
How has what you love about each other changed since marrying?
C: Dave’s very supportive and always trying to look after me and my needs.
Has it changed? I think the support becomes more family-oriented post-marriage, so you feel that commitment. D:
The big thing that changes is you feel like two souls coming together to make a family. That is something that was surprising to me.
BIANCA & SIMON Married November, 2015 Did you know marriage was on the cards when you first met?
Bianca: I don’t like to place emphasis on “this is the person”. We were enjoying each other’s company and not planning for the future, but we realised we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.
Simon: It’s a process; you’ve created a life together. It becomes our life and when that happens, then marriage is just the natural progression.
Has anything changed in the relationship now you’re married?
B: I feel like we’re better friends. I love Simon and I’m in love with him, but in terms of the friendship, getting married brought us closer. He’s my soul mate and my best friend now.
You’re both busy people. How do you get used to balancing marriage with a career?
B: It was a challenge; it still is. Learning to put down our phones and not be on the computer as soon as we wake up. It can be stressful, but it’s all about communication and acknowledging you should be placing your partner first and not the phone.
What are the main ingredients in a happy marriage?
B: Chemistry and communication. S: Being able to talk to each other. B: …and the other person not getting all defensive and angry. It’s about an amicable resolution. Relationships are never smooth. It’s the journey, and how you tackle the problems.
How has your relationship evolved?
B: When you’re on your own, it’s all about you. But then when you’re in a relationship it’s about the two of you together and how you work and bounce ideas off each other. What he lacks, I have and what I lack, he has, and that’s how we fit together so well. We play to our strengths.
What was the best advice you were given for marriage?
S: Everything I’ve been told by the boys is simply not appropriate for Cosmo Bride… [laughs]
B: Make time for us and be in our moment together. Even if it’s just dinner or going for a walk and really listening to each other. When you’re in such a long-term relationship you can take each other for granted and that’s when the wheels fall off.
“What he lacks, I have and what I lack, he has, and that’s how we fit together. We play to our strengths”