When the confetti has been thrown and your honeymoon bags unpacked, the normality of life sets in and you truly begin your married life. Here are some tips to help you survive your first year of marriage.
Fights will happen
When you were growing up, you probably had disagreements with your siblings, parents and even best friends.
When we spend a lot of time with someone, sometimes the smallest things can become an issue.
The goal should always be to go to bed happy and although that is not always possible, at least arrange a cease-fire so you do not rest your head filled with festering thoughts – nobody wins in a situation like that.
Be on the same page
We all have our own ideas and ways that we want to manifest our goals in life, but now that you are in this life partnership, it is important to be able to communicate openly about important issues such as finances, children and if or when you want to have them, sex, creating a budget, whether to rent or buy your own home etc.
You will need to compromise on your difference and negotiate until you reach an outcome you are both satisfied with.
If an argument arises, take a step back until you have both collected your thoughts and can try having the conversation again.
You are a WE not an I
Your first year of marriage is a transition period and you will need to learn how to make decisions as a couple and not as an individual.
For those who are independent and capable individuals, this will mean learning to seek your partner’s feedback on things and checking things like whether they want to attend particular functions, before committing you both.
Avoid the blame game
Mistakes do happen – often. And while one party might make more mistakes than another, it’s important not to keep score or to judge your partner too quickly.
Most mistakes can be fixed or learned from, so as a team, you can avoid them moving forward.
Also, learn to forgive one another so you can move forward with a clean slate.
This is something you should do all. the. time.
Talk about what you did during the day, what you would like to do the following day, how something your partner or someone else did or said made you feel.
Open lines of communication mean that everything is laid out on the table and you know exactly where the other person stands.
But remember, it’s one thing to talk at each other, and another to also make sure you are present in each conversation and listen.
Show your love and appreciation
It could be a hug, a kiss or something more…
It could be a compliment each day or a little note on the kitchen bench to tell your partner you love them if you leave for work before they wake up.
It doesn’t cost a thing, but if every little thing you say or do reinforces your feelings for your partner, you will make them feel loved and wanted, and this will ultimately strengthen your relationship.
Understand that you take on a new family.
You married your partner but he or she is part of an extended family and they are now yours too.
It can be trying at times, but you need to learn to respect your in-laws, even if you don’t agree with or like them.
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Remember that they are a vital part of your partner’s life and driving a wedge between them or making your partner choose between you or their family will only cause heartache for everyone involved.
A secret can be likened to cheating on your partner, so lay all of your cards on the table (if you haven’t already).
Hidden secrets such as huge student loan and credit card debts, the loss of jobs, sudden illness, a child with another partner (okay, so the last one is a bit Hollywood…) can all put strain on individuals, and this multiplies when you bring them to a marriage without your spouse knowing.
Revealing secrets can be emotionally draining and cause a lot of anxiety, but it’s true when they say a problem shared is a problem halved.
On the flipside, if your new husband or wife comes to you with something like this, it can be easy to get angry about it, but try to contain it and offer to work through it together.
Once you conquer it, your marriage will be stronger than before.
Marriage is 100/100
It’s nowhere near 50/50, both of you will need to give 100% to show your commitment, otherwise it is a part-time relationship.
Define roles in your first year of marriage
It can be frustrating at first, but make sure there is an even split between the chores and other every day stuff, like cooking, washing the dishes, and walking the dog.
This might be easy if one of you already loves cooking while the other likes cleaning the bathroom (what? It could happen…) but if there isn’t a clear divide, make sure you implement those powers of negotiation so that one of you isn’t left feeling like they got the raw end of the deal.
This can get tricky in marriages where one partner is away for extended periods of time for work, so maybe trying to pick up some of the household chores while you are back will be enough to give your spouse a bit of a break from the mundane and free them up to relax a bit and appreciate you while you are home.
Make time for each other
Even if you went into your marriage with children, remember to make time to spend with just the two of you.
You could schedule a regular date night, lunch or adventure so you can focus entirely on one another and simply enjoy the pleasure of each others company.
Remember why you married your partner
When the going gets tough, remember why you fell in love with your spouse in the first place.
Go through your wedding album and block out everything trivial that might be playing on your mind.
The road can get bumpy, but decide as a couple that divorce is not an option, unless there are special circumstances like abuse, addiction, or infidelity.
Some celebrants suggest keeping a bottle of wine (or other favourite drink) in a box with your wedding vows to access in case of an emergency.
You can sit down together and have a drink while reading your vows and remember how in love you were – it should be enough to give you the strength to work through your troubles.
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