Why Is The First Year Of Marriage The Hardest?

first year of marriage

Recently, a friend who completed three years of marriage remarked how the journey of being married has gone from a roller coaster ride to a more manageably sane one. From the insane first year of marriage to really finding a way around each other – marriage has indeed been an immense learning experience for them.

I immediately understood what she meant but asked her to elaborate anyway. She told me that in the initial months of the marriage, her husband, a sweet guy in every sense, would do things that she wouldn’t be able to fathom. He would leave the room dirty and not clean up after himself, citing getting late to work. He would pay the house bills on the last day and that would make my friend really anxious. He would make travel plans with no consideration of where she would like to go.

She was dealing with a guy who was her life partner and yet, she was completely incapable of understanding what worked and what didn’t around him. She would have liked to tell her parents about the confusion she felt but decided not to. And this way, the first year of marriage for her was full of anger, madness, tears and stress from expecting more uncertainty in the future.

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Is The First Year Of Marriage The Hardest?

Listening to her, I remembered my own experience with the first year of marriage. I had moved to a different city for my new husband and entered an entirely new lifestyle. It was in such contrast to my life of two decades that anybody who heard reserved their comments on me and my decision. And the going got really tough with absolute zero knowledge about the institution of marriage, much less the new life and city I had entered into.

There were days I would want nothing better than the comfort of being with my parents, but just like my friend, I chose not to worry them before I could ascertain my own feelings about the situation. The truth is that the first year of marriage is nothing like the movies would have us believe. It isn’t all hunky-dory with the man carrying the woman in his arms like he has conquered the world with her. Neither is there really a concept of happily ever after.

So think about it. When two people get married in a movie after a long story of pursuit and love, why do the credits start rolling immediately? Probably because the happily ever after they seem to promise us isn’t actually all that happy. It really makes you think about the question – why is marriage so hard?

Related Reading: When And How To Talk About Marriage With Your Significant Other

First Year Of Marriage Problems

Couples get married because they envision a future together, but rarely are they aware of the practical side. The wedding and the celebration take up most of our mind space and we are not prepared for what happens next – the daily grind that completely engulfs you.

Two people normally have no idea about how to live under the same roof. They may have dated, gone on long drives, even stayed nights over, but they never really live together for a long period of time (unless they are in a live-in relationship, which is a different ball game altogether).

first year of marriage problems
The first year of marriage is a year of exploration

There is no way of knowing all of your spouse’s quirks, such as if they like to bathe at night or floss thrice a day, if they like to watch TV late into the night or insists on sleeping by 10 pm, if they enjoy cooking or insists you cook them a large meal. One gets to this part only after marriage. Chances are, like any two roommates, their views will differ on most things.

Related Reading: Virtual Wedding – Simplified For You In 10 Points

Being set in your own ways

Why is the first year of marriage so hard? Apart from the fact that you are spending each day and moment readjusting your lifestyle to accommodate another person, it also doesn’t help that neither is ready to give the other some leeway. My friend was once angry that her husband was paying the bills at the last minute but she never stopped to wonder if she was too much of a controlling partner.

“If it wasn’t to my liking, I would sulk. And the more things I sulked about, the more resentful I became of things. It never occurred to me that he might also be feeling the stress of a new person cohabiting with him in the same space,” she said. Clearly, the first year of marriage problems can be as small as not understanding each other’s daily habits all the way to suddenly realizing you now have to also cook for your vegan husband.

Related Reading: Marriage…part love, part compromise, but mostly a series of jokes

It takes time to settle into new patterns

Unlike parents or friends, the newly married husband or wife may not let things slide easily. It takes a whole year or more to understand your spouse’s patterns, accept the fact that both partners have quirks. It has taken a while to understand that my husband is not okay with books always lying around the house. He doesn’t have anything against literature, as I had thought initially; it’s just that he has a different sense of what clutter is.

marriage stories

I have also figured he can’t watch a movie in two breaks, as I enjoy doing. Or that he likes his food warm irrespective of who is toiling in the kitchen. These aren’t things we can blame the other for; they are just tendencies we have come to understand over time. And we dance around it beautifully now.

While it isn’t rocket science, the first year of marriage is difficult and eye-opening at the same time. Just like a new term in school takes patience, understanding and a certain degree of letting things slide, so does the first year of marriage. And by the end of it, chances are you will ace it. So stop fretting over questions likes ‘why is marriage so hard?’ or ‘what is the best first year of marriage advice?’. With patience and persistence, make the time and effort to work on yours.


1. What are the hardest years of marriage?

The 1st year of marriage can indeed be the hardest. It is still a raw time when you are adjusting to married life and living and sharing a life with a new person. It brings with it lots of challenges, adjustments and questions about love and marriage itself.

2. Why do marriages fail in the first year?

The first year of marriage problems are many. While there is excitement and love in the air, one is still looking at a lot of big changes in their life. These changes can sometimes feel overwhelming and make one feel like they were never meant to be married or that they chose the wrong partner.

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