The first year of marriage is probably the hardest. You are still learning to adjust and understand each other, and find a rhythm to your shared life as a married couple. Problems in the first year of marriage are very common. The key to not let the first year of marriage problems take a toll on your bond is to nurture it with love, affection, understanding and commitment.
Instead of being newly married and miserable, you must know how to deal with the issues that arise during the first year of marriage and make efforts to make your marriage successful. Marriage is, after all, a project for a lifetime.
To help you understand how to get past the first year of marriage and always fighting phase in your marital journey, we spoke to counseling psychologist Gopa Khan for actionable tips and advice.
9 Problems Every Couple Face In First Year Of Marriage
When you are in a relationship, you tend to always put on your best behavior in front of your partner. But once married, new responsibilities and added daily struggle can make it harder to always be your best version. Besides, marriage does not thrive just on love, but also on arguments and fights. What’s really needed to get through the first year of marriage and build a strong foundation is an understanding of how to have difficult conversations respectfully.
Commenting on why relationship problems in the first year of marriage are so common, Gopa says, “Getting married and staying together is like migrating to a completely different country & adjusting to its culture, language & way of living. Unfortunately, when folks get married, they don’t realize that life will change dramatically for them.
Most young couples expect life to be the same as their dating days, which involved going out for long drives, candlelight dinners and dressing up, and that’s where most problems take root.”
This transition does not come easy. That’s why it’s vital to talk about why the first year of marriage is the hardest. Discussing some of the problems which almost every couple faces while adjusting to married life might give you a chance to nip them in the bud:
1. There will be a difference between expectation and reality
Always keep in mind that the person before marriage and after it will be somewhat different. Partners usually put in a lot of effort to impress each other before marriage. But as soon as they get married, their attention tends to get divided because of other responsibilities, be they personal or professional.
You might witness changes in your partner that you had not noticed earlier. These changes might not be to your liking. Thus, it is advised that you try to keep your expectations realistic to avoid getting disappointed during the first year of marriage.
Gopa says, “This stark difference between expectation and reality can be a wake-up call for young couples while trying to find a balance in the first year of marriage. Often in sessions, one meets bright young independent women, who expect undivided attention from their spouses or expect to become the center of their spouse’s world which is unrealistic.
“In one instance, a couple had a miserable honeymoon, as the wife did not appreciate the spouse having a beer. Suddenly there were “Dos & Don’ts” in the first week of their marriage itself. Thus, it is important to remember that marriage does not mean “policing” your life partner.”
Related reading: The First Fight In A Relationship – What To Expect
2. You experience lack of understanding during the first year of marriage
Remember your relationship is new for both of you so understanding between the two of you might not be very strong. “How well or poorly you’re adjusting to married life boils down to the maturity of the individuals in the marriage. If there is respect, empathy, compassion & trust, then any relationship will succeed remarkably.
“The problem arises when one partner determines their version is the “correct path”. A client of mine lost his job as he could no longer focus at work as he would regularly receive phone calls from his wife & mother complaining to him about each other. This kind of tension and stress on a daily basis takes a heavy toll on any relationship,” says Gopa.
To steer clear of the risk of a marriage falling apart after 6 months or less, try to be understanding. You have to understand the dynamics of your marital relationship and adjust wherever possible for a lasting and happy marriage.
3. The first year of marriage you do not know where to draw the line
As two different personalities come together to share their lives, respect should be the foundation of the relationship. But most of the time, the partners tend to take each other for granted, fail to respect each other’s personal boundaries in the first year of marriage and are always fighting. At times, you are confused about your feelings, say hurtful things and are not sure where to draw a line.
Strongly advising against the first year of marriage and always fighting pattern, Gopa says, “Often what happens in the first year of marriage sets a precedent to the rest of the marriage life. Hence, it is important to set boundaries as early on as possible. An accomplished lady complained during a couple’s therapy sessions that her husband does not involve her in any financial or life-changing decisions like moving to a different city etc.
“In the first year of marriage, the client quit her job and took a sabbatical from a promising career to be with her spouse. Neither had discussed it in any detail and it was simply assumed that my client, being a woman, will have to quit her job & move whenever needed. These initial steps in their marriage set a precedent that her career was not as important.”
4. Lack of commitment
“To get through the first year of marriage and many years after that remember that you’re getting a partner for life. Often I hear complaints from wives that the husband does not spend time with them or even with the children or doesn’t take them out on vacations. The genesis of these problems can be tracked down to the first year of marriage itself. All these issues grow big over time to the point where it becomes an “ego” issue for the couple,” says Gopa.
Initial years of marriage are the building blocks for a happy married life. It requires a lot of love and commitment from both sides. If you lack it, it will create issues in your marriage. Your partner or you might not give the necessary attention to the relationship and get busy tackling other duties of married life. This lack of commitment might then end up destroying the relationship.
Related reading: 22 Tips to Survive the First Year of Marriage
5. Adjustment and communication issues
Even if you’ve known your partner a long time, you may discover things about them that you may not necessarily like. Try to tell them about it in a manner that they do not get hurt. Always remember words once spoken cannot be taken back. So, do not use harsh words and communicate your feelings appropriately with one another. If you have to fight, fight respectfully with your spouse. If there are minor things you dislike, you can make efforts to adjust.
The newly married and miserable conundrum often arises from poor communication between couples. Gopa says, “When couples fail to communicate their needs and wants to each other, resentment seeps into the relationship. This leads to seeming ‘out of the blue’ outbursts when they can no longer handle whatever issues are bothering them.
“Timely, open, honest and frank discussions between a couple is the best investment they can make in their marriage. This will lead to a wonderful lifelong partnership and great friendship in the marriage.”
6. Frequent fights during first year of marriage
During the first year of marriage, you both will have just one another to depend on. So, it is highly possible that you take out your frustrations relating to marital adjustments on each other. All this might lead to the first year of marriage and always fighting relationship dynamics, which is definitely not healthy. In order to ensure things go on smoothly, it is better to avoid misunderstandings and work things out together.
“This is the key reason behind marriage falling apart after 6 months or within a year. The first year of marriage is to build the foundation of the marriage. But when couples bring up differences and keep harping on the same issues despite innumerable discussions, it does not bode well for the marriage.
“In many cases, I see couples emotionally drained, fighting through the night ironically about not spending time together or waking each other in the middle of the night to ” discuss” issues that they are disturbed about. In such cases, trying techniques like setting a ‘ceasefire time limit’ to not fight through the night or having a written agreement on honoring their commitment to a mutually agreed-upon solution,” advises Gopa.
7. Issues with the In-laws
Gopa says, “This is really a big ‘time bomb’ and often the root cause of the first year of marriage problems. I had a couple, where the wife showed complete inability to keep her father from interfering in her marriage which resulted in divorce within 3 years of marriage. This ” blind allegiance” to one’s family of origin can devastate any relationship.
“It is, therefore, imperative that spouses understand that they have a duty to safeguard their marriages from outside influences. The best approach is to respect one another’s families and keep them out of any arguments. At the same time, maintain boundaries within one’s marriage that no one is allowed to breach, not even your parents.”
It may not always be a reason that disturbs your married life but then there are times when your in-laws might cause trouble for you. You cannot speak ill about them to your spouse as they are his/her parents. However, you have to talk to your spouse and try to figure things out. A piece of first-year marriage advice that you must follow is to share freely with your partner regarding the issues you are facing with your in-laws.
8. The concept of personal time and space gets shattered
Before marriage all your time was yours and you had leisure time to yourself. But as soon as you get married it is not the same anymore. You have to take out time for your spouse and the in-laws. This is one of the causes of problems in the early days of marriage because there is a sudden change in your routine.
“While navigating the first year of marriage problems remember tying the knot doesn’t mean submerging your individuality. As a counselor, I encourage couples to continue their personal interests and hobbies, and maintain contact with their friends, family and even take individual vacations.
“This concept seems alien to many of my clients but it can actually strengthen a marriage if the couple feels they have a safe and secure place to express their individuality. I encourage couples to respect the importance of space in relationships for a healthy and sustainable partnership,” says Gopa
9. Issues related to finances
Financial planning for newly married couples is not just important to avoid a horrible first year of marriage experience but also for the sake of long-term monetary security. Generally, it is seen that matters of finances in a newly married couple’s household is a sensitive subject that might bring issues of ego and self-esteem to light. Therefore, one has to learn how to share the financial burden after marriage to avoid conflict.
“Major arguments are seen among couples over money. Often spouses may not be included or informed about financial matters and this can lead to immense distrust. Often, I urge couples to meet with financial planners together so they feel they can work as a team together. A couple that helps each other in financial matters and jointly saves for the future has a happier relationship as both spouses feel more secure & confident in the marriage,” Gopa recommends.
No matter whether you have known your spouse for years or have fallen in love within days, there are bound to be disagreements and arguments after marriage. You don’t have to start to question your marriage and its survival right away. Instead, you need to sit down and talk things out with your spouse. Do not accuse, blame or hurt each other, but be communicative effectively.
How To Get Through The First Year Of Marriage
Is marriage hard for everyone? By now, you must have a pretty fair idea that going through the first year of marriage is the hardest and most delicate part in the entire married life. If you get through this phase of marriage, your happy married life will be guaranteed. Here is how you can sail through the tough times easily:
- Try to be understanding and affectionate toward your partner
- Higher expectations at times lead to disappointment, so it is better to expect practical things from your better half instead of living in an illusion
- Avoid fights and conflicts as most marriages suffer a setback due to arguments, conflicts and use of harsh words
- Trust your partner and try to communicate your thoughts confidently
- Take your time to adjust. There might be ups and downs so try to stand by each other during such phases of life
Thus, we can say that the first year of marriage is filled with different obstacles and hurdles which you have to overcome together. But once you get through this phase it will only strengthen and enhance your relationship. So, learn and help each other so that you both can grow old together and live a blissful married life.