Carley Gardiner: Top 5 Things I Learned in Our First Year of Marriage

We sat down with one of our favorite brides, Carley Gardiner, for a chat after her and her husband celebrated their first anniversary on March 20th. You may remember her and her husband Joey from Carley's Beyond the Dress Instagram feature in the fall, and we're so blessed to know her and count her as one of our biggest supporters! Read below for her perspective on what marriage teaches you after your wedding day.

Marriage isn’t about perfection. It’s about support. 

1. there is no room for hiding things – Before you’re married, you can choose which things you share with your significant other. You can go to your own separate spaces at the end of the day and work through the emotions and feeling separately. Once two people are married, you are forced to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly, even when it’s uncomfortable. Especially Joey and I! We live in a loft! We literally have no doors! 

2. All marriages have battles to face and its okay to talk about them- When Joey married me, he knew I struggled with anxiety and depression. Almost a year into our marriage, I had to enter treatment to help get a handle on my mental illness for about 2 months. We learned not to be silent about the struggles we have faced as a young married couple. We believe in the importance of transparency! Marriage isn’t about perfection. It’s about support. 

3. Learn to bite your tongue –This one is pretty self-explanatory. It’s the golden rule we learned in elementary school. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” There have been many times I have said hurtful words that I wish I could take back. 

4. Take turns being in the driver’s seat – I tend to be the one who wants everything to run smoothly. I’m a planner and “going with the flow” is difficult for me. Joey is the complete opposite! We have learned that sometimes, we need to take turns taking on the small, and the not so small things of our life. It allows neither of us to get too burned out. It allows us to constantly lean on each other for support. 

5. This is just the beginning - We have learned not to put too much pressure on ourselves. After all, this is only year one of forever. There will be time to travel the world, to buy a house, to have a family. Sometimes society tells us what our lives have to look like. We help remind each other we're still young and we have so much more ahead of us!


Carley Gardiner is a nonprofit coordinator in Dallas, TX, where she lives with her husband Joey and goldendoodle Ellington. 

Wedding Photo Credits: Grant Daniels Photography