We’ve heard it from so many people; parents, family, friends and married couple: the first year of marriage is the most difficult of all! You’d think that you’d be enjoying the honeymoon phase, and it should be all sweet and romantic, but the first year of marriage is a great adjustment to the life you’ve been living.
Marriage gives you exactly what you give it. It requires nurturing and dedication. And the first year can be a strong foundation and can set the pace and tone for many happy years to come.
Here are a few tips we’ve learned along the way…
1. Marriage is indeed a 50/50 partnership! If you go into yours thinking otherwise, problems will occur. We are in the year 2012, and we need to have realistic expectations of each other’s roles. Men and women can both work and earn money for the house. And believe it or not, both men and women can cook and clean, too! Try to define the roles as early on in the marriage as possible, and treat your marriage like a real rational unbiased partnership.
2. Although equal, men and women are not similar. Writers all over the world have written dozens of books on this. “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” sold millions of books for a reason. The way men deal with anger, for example, is very difficult than women. Women like to talk about their issues, while men want to just ‘forget’ them. The sooner both of you realize the difference in your characters the better. It will help you avoid many arguments.
3. Intimacy is important. Whether physical or emotional intimacy, they both play a very important role in your marriage; especially during the first year. Affection is very important to show your love and care for each other.
4. You need to discuss children. Preferably, you’ve already had the kids talk when you were engaged. If not, have a conversation with your spouse about what their expectations are regarding having a family with you. It is very important to know that you are both on the same wavelength when it comes to children.
5. It’s okay to say you’re sorry. Apologizing goes a long way in a relationship. You must face the facts and know that there will be a few arguments in your first year of marriage. Acknowledging when you have made a mistake, and genuinely apologizing for it, will end an argument (and any hard feelings that go with it) way sooner.
6. Make time for each other. Don’t think that now that you’re living in the same house, you don’t have to make any plans to be together. There’s a big difference between just being there, (around each other) in the same house, and actually hanging out together, talking and doing something you both like. So make sure you schedule time for each other.
7. Don’t let your parents get in the way. Sure when you were engaged, your parents had a say in the house, the wedding, and pretty much anything and everything. But it’s different now. You are an entity on your own, and you are each other’s priority. So make sure that you solve your own issues with each other, and that you don’t let anyone come in between you two.