On Maintaining Marriage: 15 Questions to ask on Your 1st Anniversary

On Maintaining Marriage: 15 Questions to ask on Your 1st Anniversary

As Ted and I approach our 1 year wedding anniversary this Friday, my dear friend, Emily, recently gave me a brilliant idea. She told me that she and her husband go over their original weddings vows every so often, and that at every anniversary (and in between, if necessary), they either add or take away from the original vows.

I thought that was incredibly sweet, and also, so poignant. It is such a testament to how awesome a couple they are (and they really are). Their love is solid for many reasons, but also because they understand that happily ever after is not the stuff of fairy tales. The real world is constantly changing, and serves up its fair share of trials and tribulations, all of which you will have to navigate together as a couple, like it or not.

And as the world changes around us, serving up disruptions not only in the world at large, but also, in our inner circles (career, family, health), we as human beings are also constantly changing. Our values, goals, priorities, and even likes and dislikes may shift.

Think about it. When you were 9 years old, maybe you loved wearing jellies, riding your bike to the pool, and snacking on sour patch kids on Sunday mornings. Your biggest worry was whether you had saved up enough allowance to buy those cool overalls, and your biggest goal was to have the best summer ever (like, ever). As you got older, your priorities changed, but also, you changed. Once you got to high school, your no-longer-cool jellies were replaced with talking on the phone and going to the movies (obviously). By the time you hit, 20, 25, and then 30, your views of the world, priorities and core values had undergone multiple changes.

The point is, we change as we get older. That means your partner does too. You are not an exception. So it’s important to be aware not only of the ways in which you are changing, but also, the ways in which your partner is changing too. Over the years, the changes may be minor, but when you add them all up over the course of 20, 30, and even 40 years, well, that works out to a lot of change.

And incidentally, a lot of divorce.

Now, I’m no expert, but with the divorce rate being what it is (high), I believe it is evidence that not only do we need to get better at asking ourselves intentional questions before tying the knot, but also, that we need to get better at maintaining our marriages after we say “I do.” Once the hoopla of the big day is over, what’s left is the marriage. And left unattended to, it will surely falter.

Thankfully, Ted and I are really good at checking in with each other, communicating with understanding, and accepting each other for who we are. Sure, we have our moments. But in the grand scheme of things, our relationship is solid. And that’s because we won’t have it any other way. Marriage is a plate best served with understanding and, apparently, maintenance.

With that in mind, our 1 year anniversary is the perfect time to do a larger scale check in with each other. We’ll consider it the spring cleaning for our marriage, and the sure fire way to ensure it flourishes.

Here are some questions we will be asking:

1. Do we still want the same things? If not – what has changed? How can we support each other in those changes?

2. Are we still committed to our vows? Does anything need to change? Are we both willing to accept those changes? Are we both courageous enough to voice them in the first place?

3. Is there anything you wish I would be willing to change about my habits? (Be careful with this question – you never want to try to change your spouse. But there could be various habits that are driving you nuts. Like leaving tea bags on the counter. Or not doing the dishes. They have to be things that your spouse can actually change without changing who they are. Because you don’t want to change who they are, right?)

4. What do you think is my greatest strength(s)?

5. What do you like best about being married?

6. Has anything surprised you about being married?

7. What are your goals? Where do you see us in 5 years? (think geography, career, family – go all out and paint a picture for yourselves!)

8. Is there something you’ve been wanting to do but have been scared to do? If so, what is it and how can I support you?

9. What, if anything, do you think is holding me back from achieving my goals?

10. What do you love best about me? (this list can be endless, so don’t limit yourself!)

11. Where do you see us on our next wedding anniversary – kids? house? new career? Set 1 year goals with each other, share them, and then ask for support on them throughout the year.

12. How can I be a better spouse to you?

13. Do you want to re-design the household duties? Is it working for us the way it is now? (you may laugh at this one, but household duties can be the source of many unnecessary fights)

14. Are you satisfied sexually? What could change?

15. Are you happy with your career? If not – what needs to change and how can I support?


Chances are you’ve already discussed some of these questions, but it’s worth a bigger conversation nonetheless.

Regardless of whether you are married, on your way to the altar, in a relationship, or still looking for that special someone, do yourself and your partner – present or future – a favor. Commit to having the best marriage you can have. Because, contrary to the old saying, the grass isn’t greener on the other side. The grass is greener where it’s watered.

So pick up your watering can and get to it!

Love, love, love,
Lauren….& Ted!