How to Survive the First Year of Marriage – The Ultimate Guide
So you got married. Congratulations!!!! Even if you’ve been together for a long time before you took this step, marriage has a few tricks up it’s sleeve that could surprise you. The first year of marriage is an important one too because that’s when you lay a foundation for a successful “happily ever after.” And that’s exactly what you wanted when you said “I do,” isn’t it?
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. ~ Mignon McLaughlin (Tweet this)
In this article we will look into the 7 main challenges that come up in the first year of marriage, after the honeymoon is over, as well as how to deal with them. Interested? Keep reading.
I am sure you already know this, but here it goes again: the fact that you love each other enough to get married doesn’t mean you’ll stop fighting. In fact if you never fight that may be a symptom of a problem. But fights after marriage, believe it or not, are different.
There are much less about winning and much more about keeping the healthy balance in the relationship. Have you heard the saying that after you’re married, you can only be as happy as the least happy person in the marriage? It’s true. So now everything you do to make your partner feel bad during a fight eventually makes you feel bad. How do you handle that?
First and foremost, you never want to threaten your partner with leaving them. To be honest, it’s best if that never even crosses your mind—even if it does, keep it to yourself. Happy relationships are built on a mutual desire to be together no matter what.
Ask yourself how you can make the best out of the situation. What is the core issue behind that fight? Is it just because one of you or both of you have had a bad day? Or is it because there is something vital that one of you wishes to change?
If it’s the first one relax and don’t take it out on your partner. If it’s the latter, calmly explain your point of view. Be ready to compromise but also state your non-negotiable requirements. Leave the negative emotions out of it (this is just a talk that will help both of you feel happier).
Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice. ~ Fawn Weaver (Tweet this)
2. Division of tasks/labor
Marriage is like any partnership; both parties should be willing to do what they can to make it work. Now that you are married it’s not all dating and flowers anymore. There’s housework to be done, financial responsibilities and other miscellaneous tasks.
When it comes to who does what, if expectations do not match reality, resentment quickly builds up. You could expect him to be bringing in the money or he could be expecting you to cook dinner. But what if he’s in between jobs and you like to dine out?
You obviously need to talk about it. You are now committed to spending the rest of your lives together so it’s normal that sometimes you will have to do things you’re not particularly happy with. But as long as you know what’s most important for the other person and do that, everything will be fine.
For example, I kind of like cooking but I don’t want to do it every evening. But for my husband I should be responsible for what we have for dinner. So we agreed that my responsibility will be expressed by either cooking or making restaurant reservations. This way he doesn’t have to think about it and I don’t feel like a desperate housewife.
3. Sex in the first year of marriage
It’s normal after you’re married that the frequency of lovemaking decreases, but it’s only normal up to a point. That point is different for everyone, yet if you allow it to drastically drop in the first year of marriage, imagine what’s ahead.
Marriage, ultimately, is the practice of becoming passionate friends. ~ Harville Hendrix (Tweet this)
Some couples fail at being sexually active in a long term relationship and it doesn’t lead to anything good. The lack of physical intimacy is eating the connection you have from the inside. Plus once you have fallen in that rut, it’s really difficult to get out.
The best way to regain desire for each other is initiating more and higher-quality communication. You’re now together all the time so it’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day small talks. I’m not saying every conversation should sound like something taken out of the script of a romantic comedy. But sharing an exciting experience together, joking around a bit, discussing a movie you’ve seen . . . all of those things are important.
Flirt with your partner every day, they are not a given. Share a crazy sexual fantasy. This type of intimate communication will light up the spark again.
Money could be a hidden trap for the peace of any relationship, especially if you’re not used to the whole “family budget” thing. The first thing you need to know is once you are married, you need to accumulate savings. With marriage comes the purchasing of homes, family vacations, children and all of that requires money. So where are those savings coming from?
Another problem might be who brings home the bacon. It’s a very individual decision and obviously subject to circumstances, but overall men don’t feel good when their wife supports them financially. If this is the case, with time it could really become a problem.
But the worst possible scenario without a doubt is if both of your incomes combined are barely covering your expenses. It’s tough, but you’re now together for better or worse, so you need to handle it. Here’s how.
Men like to protect women and take care of them. So if you get in a tough financial situation, the best thing for a woman to do is to direct her energy towards supporting and inspiring her man. I’m aware how this sounds and I’m not saying a woman can’t make money. Doing that for the sake of her man’s confidence though is a no-no. If only you are the successful one this will affect your man’s confidence and efficiency in a negative way. Eventually, the responsibility of bringing home the money will become too heavy for you.
On a subconscious level you will start blaming your husband for not being able to take care of the family. He is good at something and has the potential to make tons of money if he feels supported and loved. But how will you support him if you are blaming him?
The greatest marriages are built on teamwork. A mutual respect, a healthy dose of admiration, and a never-ending portion of love and grace.~ Fawn Weaver (Tweet this)
5. Plans for the Future
If you’re married you have probably discussed your vision for the future, yet many people have left important details out of this discussion. Maybe you’ve heard the saying that love is not looking at each others eyes, but looking at the same direction.
At one point you may want kids and your partner . . . not so much; or you may want to live in different cities or even countries; one of you may want to pursue a career that involves a lot of travel and the other one could be scared of this.
It’s pretty obvious that you need to talk about it. My advice would be discussing such matters as soon as you get engaged, but what if you haven’t? What if you are now married and your goals and desires drastically differ? Don’t panic!
First of all, find where the differences are coming from.
- Maybe your partner doesn’t want you to travel too much because he’s worried it will be the end of the relationship. What can you do to negate this fear?
- Maybe your wife doesn’t want children because she’s worried she will have to do everything on her own. What can you do to negate this fear?
Once you clarify the reasons behind your different desires, you can either challenge your partner’s fears, or find a middle ground. Ideally, you can both try out certain things and possibly have a Plan B if one of you really hates that life-style.
6. Having fun
A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences. ~ Dave Meurer (Tweet this)
All the possible problems we discussed so far can affect how much fun you to have together. Unless you want to be bored by the end of year one of your marriage, you have to consciously work on keeping the fun in the relationship. Young couples often forget that after the honeymoon.
- There’s just so many other things to think about! Plus what’s the use to go out if you can be together at home, in your sweatpants.
- The desire to look good for your partner may vanish because he’s already seen you at your worst.
- The pleasure of long dinners at restaurants could disappear because what would you talk about if you spend all your time together anyway? And this is how someone finds a lover, and then families fall apart.
In order to keep the fun, you need to have your life together and your separate lives. So many people out there completely ignore their friends and hobbies once they get married. Don’t do that. Spend part of your time doing what you used to do before you met your spouse. Another good idea is organizing fun new things to do together—ideally something at least one of you has never done before.
I was the first one to take my husband to a West End musical and he loved it, even though he didn’t expect to. Then he tried teaching me how to play pool. How that ended I will not explain. The point is showing each other the world and discovering it together; that is what will help you grow as personalities and as a couple.
Because you two are now a family, your in-laws are also family. And you’re aware of the rules in a family, aren’t you? You should stick together no matter what, help each other and accept each other with all your quirks. Many of my married clients have pointed out they dislike—most often—their mother-in-law. Often their spouse feels offended and starts building up resentment inside.
- You can’t force yourself into liking someone that you don’t. And that’s fine, because I’m not going to tell you need to necessarily like everyone from your partner’s family. You probably don’t even like everyone in yours.
- But get this, you live with your partner and see his family from time-to-time only. So the least you can do is be good and go through your time with them in a respectful manner.
Never offend them, even if they drive him nuts too, and not just in front of your partner. This is especially important when it comes to the mother. Everyone loves their mothers, regardless of what they say. So every time you say something hurtful about her, your partner doesn’t feel good about it, even if they don’t admit it.
First Year of Marriage: Wrap up!
And there you have it, a rather simple formula about surviving the first year of marriage and building a solid foundation for your future family life. Stick to these rules, regardless of how difficult it may seem, and remember: the wedding could be a lot of fun but the magic is in staying happily married.
All of these are building a foundation, which in the long run will ensure proper communication and everlasting love. What was the most challenging thing for you in your first year of marriage? Leave a comment and let us know.
Check out our HAPPY MARRIAGE series below :-
1. How to Survive the First Year of Marriage – The Ultimate Guide (This Article)