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Couples Q&A: Nadine and Erik After the First Year

Learn what life is like for Nadine Jolie and Erik Courtney now that their twosome has become a threesome! 

By Erik Courtney & Nadine Jolie Courtney How was your life changed since your first year? 

Nadine Jolie CourtneyLife is incredibly different, because now we have a baby! We're so in love with our daughter, and she makes all the sacrifices worth it. Erik and I are both night people, so we used to stay up 'til all hours -- and because I'm a writer and work from home, I was able to sleep in if I wanted to. Now, that's obviously not an option. Thankfully, Aurelia is a great sleeper: she inherited the gene from her mommy! It was important to us to teach her healthy sleep skills, so we sleep trained her at two months using a program called Moms on Call (which is basically the Ferber method plus a schedule), so she goes down at 8 p.m. and sleeps without a peep until 7 a.m. 7 a.m. still feels early to me -- but I know it's rare to have such a great sleeper so young, so we have nothing to complain about! Now, I live my life in her naps: that's when I race to work on my blog, to finish writing my book, to answer emails, and to get personal things done like showering or (ha!) putting on makeup. Laundry? Well, that's another to me in a year, and maybe I'll have figured out how to fit in housework, too.

Erik CourtneyWe drink a lot less, travel a lot less, and spend a lot more. I had so many fantasies about things I wanted to buy and do in our first year of marriage, and of course, the realization has come that our daughter comes first. I thought I would resent that, but as it turns out, I love it. There's nothing more fun than coming home after a bad day and giving Nadine and Aurelia a kiss and a hug. It brightens my soul more than any trip or night on the town ever could. I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life and I can't express how much I've loved growing and learning with my amazing wife. I can't wait to see how much Aurelia will teach me in the years to come.

INSERT LINK What did you learn from your first year? 

NJC: In the first year, I learned that showing your partner respect and kindness is everything. A sharp word or a quick comeback might feel good in the moment, but the sting lingers. If you're in it for the long haul, communication is key: but *healthy* communication doesn't mean saying every single thing on your mind the second it pops up. And I learned a lot about teamwork and making the partnership stronger by working together! When you're on a team, your wins are their wins: their defeats are your defeats. You share in the struggles, and it takes a little extra work when your partner is feeling down, but the joys and the highs are so much sweeter and magnified as a result.

EC: Don't put too much pressure on yourself to make your first year the best ever. There are many things that will happen you won't anticipate, and the fact is nobody can predict the future. Do you have any advice to new newlyweds?

NJC: Pick your battles! Not everything is worth fighting over, and the sooner you accept who you're married to -- rather than trying to change them and bend them to your will -- the happier you both will be! You can be right or you can be happy -- and go with the flow and respecting your partner always feels much better.

EC: Don't put too much pressure on yourself to make your first year the best ever. There are many things that will happen you won't anticipate, and the fact is nobody can predict the future. 

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