The first year of marriage can be termed as the wet cement year of your marital life. To survive the first year of marriage, you need to learn and accept that there will be conflict, but there can also be solutions. The foundation you set during this time will influence the course of your marriage.
The first year of marriage makes apparent a myriad of aspects that are then set in stone. Conflict resolution in the household, getting things in order with your newlywed partner, going to bed angry – every married couple faces these. If you have never lived with your partner before marriage, this first year you will learn all about their house kinks.
So, is the first year of marriage the best? Or is it the worst? Though there may be many problems, it all depends on how you want to make it. Instead of having to get through the first year of marriage, you can make yours a wonderful journey. Let’s talk about the common issues most couples face, and how they can navigate them.
22 Tips To Survive The First Year Of Marriage
When you tie the knot, there’s the expectation of a whole life of adventure ahead of you. There are trips to be planned, food to be eaten and fun to be had. Between these, there are times when things get tough. Be it in the form of overbearing in-laws, your work-life balance being awry, or the pressure to have a child immediately.
The first year can also be the toughest to go through. That’s why “surviving” the first year of marriage is so tough. Statistics show that 20% of marriages end in divorce in the first year of marriage because couples realize they cannot live under one roof, and perhaps aren’t the best fit for each other.
To think of it, surviving the first year of marriage can be daunting but with help, you can navigate through it smoothly. Jay Anderson and Loisa (name changed) dated for six months before they decided to tie the knot. They didn’t think of cohabitation because they wanted to have their dream wedding and wanted to have children. On the honeymoon, the differences started showing.
“He is a stickler for perfection bordering on OCD while I usually leave the bed unmade when I leave for work in the morning. I tried to change myself to fit his needs and he tried to become a bit relaxed. But it became really tiring. He couldn’t tolerate a single soiled dish in the sink. While I could dump it and put it all together in the dishwasher. As human beings both of us are nice but we were incompatible,” said Loisa.
Is marriage hard for everyone? It could prove to be so if you cannot achieve a certain level of understanding. To make sure your marital journey doesn’t begin on the wrong note, here are tips to survive the first year of your married life:
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1. Think of marriage as a partnership at a firm
Marriage is a 50-50 partnership, but you have to give your 100%. Marriage brings two people together and everything you do has implications on your marriage in its entirety. Everything you own is half-owned by your spouse. Household chores are not one person’s responsibility; it’s both of yours.
Your finances are your spouse’s and vice versa. The partnership stays on and should be the first thing to be agreed upon. That does not mean two people will control each other’s expenses, or you question your spouse if they go shopping. But there has to be a certain level of responsibility.
2. The in-laws are family too now
We have heard tales about how some in-laws can be disrespectful and mean Your spouse’s parents, relatives are your family now. Among them, if you have a few in-laws you do not particularly like, suck it up and try to be as nice and caring because they are part of your family as well.
If you used to treat them badly, you cannot anymore. Because you can’t just treat family with anything but kindness, right? Our first year of marriage advice will be to ensure that you are nice to your spouse’s family. Of course, if they are terrible to you, you have to work out a strategy to deal with them but take your spouse in confidence before setting in motion any such plans.
3. The “when should we have kids?” talk is important in the first year
Instead of just assuming you two will figure it out as things go on, make sure you two talk about this. Like, really talk about it. The sooner you come to a consensus, the better it’s going to be for both of you. One of the biggest first-year marriage problems is not having clear goals when it comes to major life decisions such as kids.
When should you conceive, if you want to conceive at all? If not, is adoption an option? Do you get pets? Do you want a cat, pet parrot, or a furry dog as part of your family? Talk it out in a peaceful way.
Chances are you have had this conversation pre-wedding if you weren’t too swept up in romance to care about asking the right questions before marriage. But it’s possible that your spouse’s attitude and feelings toward having a child might change. So, it’s vital to check in and make sure you’re both on the same page.
4. Harbor spontaneous sex
You might like things planned but sex after marriage starts to become stale after a point in time. Do not let the lust fizzle out. If you and your hubby are in the mood for some breakfast sex on the table, do not hold back. Spontaneity keeps the spark alive. Do not let go of it yet.
In the first year of marriage, sex can be most enjoyable. So indulge in both spontaneous and scheduled sex. And if you had been cohabiting before, no way should you let things fizzle out now.
5. It’s okay to let go of a few things
Living under the same roof as a married couple is not the same as living together before marriage. You have to choose your battles – you should not let trivial things matter to you and neither should you try to make your spouse perfect in your sense of being. You are now jointly accountable for everything.
Holding grudges against your spouse for being a little late from the office, or canceling lunch because of an emergency meeting is not worth it. Let go of the things that do not make your marriage happy.
6. Spouse’s friends are your friends
Even the ones you may not have ever liked. Your spouse likes their friends, and you not liking them or making critical judgments of them all the time might upset your spouse. You do not have to be best friends with them, but you can try and be friendly with them for your spouse’s sake.
You might not think this is important but how you treat each other’s friends can decide on what kind of understanding you will have in the future. If yours is a case of going through the first year of marriage during COVID, you don’t really have to worry about this too much. Even so, make sure you’re not completely shunning your partner’s friends out.
7. Plan couple dinner with other couple friends
One night out with your couple friends can help you swap stories about marriage and get helpful tips from them about what’s working for them in their marriage. It always helps to get other peoples’ perspectives on things that are common. Going on double dates after your wedding can be really fun. Post-marriage interaction with like-minded couples can be invigorating.
8. Go on trips, go on an adventure
A monotonous work-home life can mess up your head and that cannot lead to a blissful marriage. Going on trips lets you get out of the humdrum of daily life and bond with your spouse even more. So, the next time you get a long weekend off, pack yourselves a suitcase and hit the road.
There is no denying the fact that the honeymoon is the most important holiday after your marriage. But in this one year ensure you go on a number of small trips and make the whole marriage experience memorable.
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9. Try new things together
Take out time to learn new things together. Like dancing, or trying a simple dish together (sushi, anyone?). The more you bond together, the better you will know each other. You will get a further taste of your spouse’s likes and dislikes, the triggers, and the peacemakers. You could try cooking – it is an intimate affair. Do it together once a week to revel in romance. You can also try things like painting the walls, gardening, putting together furniture, or changing a tire.
10. Click loads of pictures
Clicking pictures together and then having them saved on your phone is a wonderful way to revisit the good times you had together. Photographs are a tangible link to those blissful times. Going through them when you are upset will instantly fill you with positive energy.
Try out the best couple poses and share a few nice moments on your social media. Ensure you have plenty of prints too and an album where you put the photos with captions chronicling your first year of the journey. When things get rough, pictures might make you believe that you like a lot of things about each other.
11. Communicate effectively
Communication is of prime importance not just in a marriage but in every relationship. Effective communication reduces stress, makes you and your spouse feel safe, encourages an exchange of emotions, desires, and beliefs, and helps in building a solid foundation.
Divorce in the first year of marriage is entirely avoidable as long as you communicate with each other about the issues you are facing and make each other feel validated. The quicker you establish clear lines of judgment-free communication, the better it’s going to be for you.
A lot of marital problems can be resolved only if couples choose to communicate effectively with each other. Do not start sulking, or stonewalling your spouse. People have different coping mechanisms to deal with unpleasant occurrences like fights, arguments and differences but it is important to communicate no matter what.
12. Get the bills in order
The huge expense of your wedding might be paid off by your parents but there are bills to be paid after that. Sharing expenses in a relationship is most important. Monthly bills need to be paid on time because overdue payments can lead to a financial mess and trigger arguments.
Sit down together at the beginning of the month and sort them out as early as you can. Wondering how to get through the first year of marriage? Sound financial planning plays a bigger role than you can imagine.
Related Reading: 15 Tips For Financial Planning For Newly Married Couples
13. Get legal stuff done
Changing last names (if you are going for that), updating bank accounts, informing the company you work for that you are now married – get the legal stuff done immediately so that your marital bliss is not disturbed later. If you want to have a joint account, get on it right after you return from your honeymoon. If you want to invest together or buy a property, work out a plan. Sort out all the legal stuff in the first year of marriage so that in the long-term everything is in place.
14. Start saving up now, it only reaps benefit
How to get through the first year of marriage? Set up an account where you occasionally drop saved money for your future kid’s expenses. It’s easy to get carried away with planning trips and buying things for your house, but if you are planning to have kids, it is a must that you save some money for the future. Even if you are not planning to have kids any time soon, it is important to start saving and investing too because this would give a solid financial foundation to your marriage.
15. The little things matter
The little things, like saying “I love you” or “sorry” or “you look gorgeous” help your spouse feel appreciated. Small gestures are all that matter to keep a marriage going. Make it a habit to express gratitude right from the very beginning of the marriage so that your relationship becomes smooth in the long run.
Apologize after an argument and give a spontaneous hug and see how this has a positive effect on your marriage. Divorce in the first year of marriage can happen when couples let their ego get the better of them. Swallow your pride and ask for forgiveness, your marriage will thank you for it.
16. Plan the birthdays and events more enthusiastically
You might feel like birthdays don’t mean much. What does a 30-year-old woman or man do for their birthday? But this is the time to feel alive, eat cake while you still have teeth left. So, plan birthdays, anniversaries more enthusiastically. When you have little juniors running around in the house in a few years, there will be times when you will both forget each other’s birthdays. Instead of giving in to the humdrum of life, try to have fun together every once in a while.
17. Focus on improving yourself
As the year progresses, you will have gathered a lot of positive information on marriage and some experience too. All this information can help you become a better person and a better partner. Do not call names, do not keep scores. If you get angry quickly, work on it. Learn to respond, not react. Similarly, learn to forgive and not hold grudges.
As you improve yourself bit by bit, things will start to get better. Stop using hurtful words in arguments or shouting at the top of your voice. Try to make yourself better, and you’ll be making your marriage better too. You won’t end up saying things like, “Why is the first year of marriage the hardest?” to your friends.
18. The most important newlywed tip: Set goals
Like running a half marathon at least once a year. Or getting the house cleaned at least thrice a week. This also gives you activities that you and your spouse can do together. You can set goals for buying that house, going on a world tour or a long road trip. You can set goals for your savings too or decide on the year you would want to have children and work on it.
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19. Social media control
You do not live a single life anymore. In the first year of marriage, social media control is good since you have time to work on your marriage instead of putting up a façade on social media. Your spouse making an Italian dinner is a good Insta story. You putting up statuses about your partner’s flaws is not.
Do not be the cause for your spouse’s grievances by putting up critically sarcastic metaphors about them on social media. This will only cause marital disharmony. Especially in the cases of the first year of marriage during COVID, a lot of couples have been turning to social media and the virtual world to keep their lives interesting. While you do so, make sure you’re not dissing your partner.
20. Don’t get too caught up in your marriage
Surviving the first year of marriage is all about making each other the top priority and not getting caught up in all the arguments around household chores, money matters and visiting in-laws. Make time for passionate lovemaking sessions and give in to your desires and fantasies.
Spend time with each other as much as possible. Try to have a bunch of “Netflix and chill” sessions after work, but ensure it’s just the two of you. Too much partying with friends or visiting relatives can prove detrimental to the marriage.
21. Pamper yourself and your spouse
Plan little retreats. Or draw a warm bath for your spouse after they had a long hard day. Surprise them with little gifts, give them a massage or simply book a couple’s spa on the weekends. Cook for your spouse, shop for them or give them small surprise gifts.
The list goes on and on. These little things eventually add up and make you both realize how much you cherish each other. This would really make a difference to your marriage in the first year.
22. Be kinder and more understanding
Marriage is a game where you cannot play rough. You’ve got to be kind, more understanding than you were before you were married. They say marriage can change you. Let it change you for the better, let it make you kinder and more understanding.
Marriage can make you feel more settled and loved and it’s a wonderful feeling to know you have a partner for life to whom you can come home every day. So, instead of obsessing over things like, “Why is the first year of marriage the hardest?” try to think of the things you can be kinder about toward your partner.
Is The First Year Of Marriage The Hardest?
As traditional as it might sound, the first year of marriage can be the hardest. The this-is-my-life-now attitude can be challenging as it’s the beginning of a new life. Conflicts may arise after a blissful wedding. Divorce in the first year of marriage isn’t all that unheard of either. For example, Jim Carrey and Lauren Holly divorced after being together for a mere 309 days. Worse yet, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Esposito ended things after 122 days of marriage.
It’s no surprise that many couples are left grappling with how to get through the first year of marriage because they entered into matrimony expecting things to be all rainbows and butterflies. Even if you have lived together before getting married, cohabitation before and after marriage is totally different.
You’re now legally responsible for each other; in every way. The stress of having and running your own household can be nerve-wracking at times. Fights might arise and fights will be solved. For this generation, the first year of marriage comes with the added pressure of being the “perfect couple” on social media and a need to show off exotic vacations on Instagram stories.
There’s the added expense of paying the mortgage, learning the art of politely saying no to relatives asking for grandkids, paying off debt little by little – all things need to be done with your newlywed spouse. Plus, the first year of marriage during COVID is no walk in the park either. When couples may have earlier found respite by going out or spending some time away from each other, lockdowns and quarantines made sure that didn’t happen either. As a result, it’s no surprise things got a bit tricky for many newlywed couples.
Things may seem tricky, and a lot of new realizations might just make you two doubt the foundations of your relationship. However, with the help of the newlywed tips we listed out, hopefully, you can make your “first year of marriage” problems go away. When things get rough, remember to lean towards each other, not away.
The stress of having and running your own household can be nerve-wracking at times. Fights might arise and fights will be solved. In this generation, first years have added pressure of being perfect on social media with the need to show exotic vacations with the spouse on Instagram stories.
The first year of marriage statistics show that 20% of marriages end in divorce in the first year of marriage because couples cannot adjust and compromise and live under the same roof.
Just follow our tips. Practice kindness, develop understanding, work on savings and investments, and have couple goals that will help you get through the first year of marriage.
Most marriages fail because the differences start showing and people cannot reconcile the differences and cannot find compatibility.
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