Marriage is a beautiful commitment, but the first year of your relationship can be both wonderful and challenging. The first year is crucial to your future happiness. As the parameters of your relationship shift, it becomes a big adjustment. Adapting to a new home comes with several challenges. From adjusting to new beliefs and traditions to setting up a new life, the first year of a marriage is a difficult and growing year for many couples.
Acknowledging and confronting these obstacles as a couple can deepen your bond and help you navigate through the bumpy roads of “happily ever after.” This article will explain the complexities of the first year of marriage with tips on how to adapt to them. Keep reading!
In This Article
Why Is The First Year Of Marriage Hard?
The first year of marriage is considered the hardest. More so because you are used to living in a particular lifestyle as singles for so many years. After marriage, everything changes. You move in and share your life with a new person, hence you have to adjust and compromise with each other’s tastes, preferences, habits, and lifestyles. Often, it can cause initial hurdles in your life.
Jessica Nicolette, a blogger, shared the lessons she’s learned after one year of her marriage. She writes that she and her husband put in consistent effort since they started dating, which continues even after marriage. In her blog, she writes, “The work we’ve done in our relationship has been consistent from day one of our dating infancy. The only thing that has changed, is how the world views us…. Embracing this new chapter of no longer legally single, as well as reprioritizing your life, can be hard. Don’t fight it. Allow yourself to flow with the changes, like waves crashing on the beach. It’s okay for these injuries to suck. It’s okay for things to be less than perfect (i).”
Understanding the various problems you may encounter in the first year of your marriage can prove beneficial in this case. Let’s take a look.
Problems You May Encounter In The First Year Of Marriage
1. Identity Crisis
Marriage brings about a change in identity, especially for women. It marks a transition in your life from being single to a team of two. Your responsibilities at work and home may change, and you may find it tough to strike a balance between family and work. However, a steady relationship built on trust and support can help you overcome this crisis.
2. Loss Of Independence
Getting married after being independent for years can be quite the test for many. Marriages require a lot of work – understanding, adjustments, and sacrifice.
The freedom you once had of doing what you wished, both financially and socially, without being answerable to anyone may change after marriage. It is because you will now be running a household with your spouse. From managing household finances to taking care of the family members, both of you are equally responsible for everything. This may mean compromising a bit on your carefree past and pledging fidelity to the relationship.
You have to understand that marriage is a partnership and requires both parties to participate in the decisions. This realization will assist in adapting to the new innings in your life much better.
During your courtship days, both of you had your respective spaces and time for yourselves. However, after marriage, you will spend the rest of your life under the same roof. While there will be a fair share of adjustments, you may even encounter differences in opinion and conflict.
Conflicts may arise even from trivial issues like putting the toilet seat down or leaving dry laundry inside the washing machine. It is more than just a difference of opinion; it is a series of poor choices damaging your relationship.
Prolonging such petty arguments will unnecessarily hurt your married life. Stubbornness, pride, and ego are a recipe for disaster in such cases. You will both need to find some middle ground and accommodate each other. Effective communication is your only way out of this crisis.
4. Fear Of The Future
…and they lived happily ever after.
That’s how most of the fairytales end after the prince weds the princess. Nothing adds to the idea of forever like marriage. The thought of forever lingers over all your decisions and signifies your commitment to the relationship. For many couples, it can be scary. Often, the happily-ever-afters open up possibilities of uncertainty.
Navigating through your first year of married life can be tricky for this reason. The fear of uncertainties in the relationship and not being able to handle them affects many people. Communication between the partners is a vital ingredient for a happy married life. Express your doubts and fears without any hesitation to rest your concerns.
Jessica shared that after her marriage, she spent a lot of time trying to figure out how things should go and in the process forgot to live the moments as they were. She writes, “While I absolutely love and encourage self-growth, self-inquiry and self-reflection, there’s so much of it that is paradoxical. Hours are spent trying to figure out love and life, only to realize you haven’t been truly present. There’s beauty in self-education and I certainly do not want to dismiss that. But the pursuit in figuring it out, as if you’ll one day find your golden answer for all of life’s woes — I’m doubtful will happen…. We learn things along the way, which help us grow and become wiser. But no one has it more “figured out” than the other. Especially with love. All we can do, is what’s right for each of us as individuals.”
5. Financial Issues
Financial dealings are one of the hardest things in a relationship. During the initial year of your marriage, you have to adjust your finances and spending habits to suit the two of you and your family, and it is often a tedious task.
You may have different ideas regarding money and savings than your partner. What you consider an item of leisure may be a necessity for your partner. Understanding your needs and planning for your financial future is vital in any relationship.
Financial planning takes into account your debt, expenditure, and income. Proper planning will save you a lot of heartaches and help you survive the first year of marriage.
Nora Nur, a blogger, shared how she dealt with financial insecurity in the first year of her marriage. She used to work part-time while her husband worked full-time and she often struggled with the question of how she could contribute financially to the household. Later, when they moved to another country soon after marriage and faced financial difficulties, she realized, “Luckily, I had saved all of my four weekly paychecks and they were exactly what we needed to get financially on top of things. From this experience, I learned that my financial contribution should be to focus on savings and debt. Now my husband leads in financing our operating budget, and I lead in financing our debt and savings plans (ii).”
6. Romantic Compatibility
Everyone does not perceive romance and express it in the same way. Some may prefer PDAs and be overly expressive, while others may be shy about their feelings and express them subtly. Some may be vocal about their love, while others may prefer actions over words to build better intimacy.
The differences may often lead to disappointment in the relationship. That being said, communicating your expectations to your partner and discussing them may help resolve the issues.
7. Family Dynamics
Marriages are not merely a union of couples but also their families. Family dynamics can also play a pivotal role in your married life.
As humans, we often strive for acceptance and approval. A healthy relationship with your partners’ families can help you avoid most of the conflicts. It can even lay down the foundation and core values for your future life.
In the year after your wedding, you will have to develop a relationship with your in-laws. A common mistake most newlyweds make is putting their dreams, hopes, and aspirations on hold in the quest for gaining family approval. In the long run, it will only make everyone unhappy and disappointed with the situation.
Besides, many millennial couples value family and wish to plan their babies. However, they may face pressure from their families to start their own family. In such cases, remember that family planning needs both partners to be ready and on the same page. Children can be quite a responsibility, especially when you are navigating through your relationship.
Nora shared that after engagement and marriage, she and her husband realized that they had to put their relationship above everything else. She writes, “From this experience we learned that not every decision we make will please everyone. This struggle will continue, but as long we stick together and put each other first, we will be okay.”
The first year of marriage raises the expectations of the in-laws. Ensure to understand the family dynamics and strategically plan to clear any conflicts. This can also make your married life smoother.
8. Commitment In A Relationship
Faith, trust, and commitment are the foundations of every relationship. Marriage requires a deeper level of commitment. You must be willing to do whatever it takes to ensure a happy married life. There may be times when things will not go your way. It requires a deep commitment from your side to take the initiative to resolve and overcome the issues.
The commitment you display through your actions rather than your words is what will help you survive the first year of marriage. Avoid prioritizing your feelings over your spouse’s to keep your relationship going strong. Also, having unrealistic expectations from your better half can only lead to disappointment and heartaches. Indulging in such behavior displays your lack of commitment to the relationship and may strain the bond and hinder the growth of the relationship.
We have talked about the issues you can run into during your first year of marriage. Now, let us see what you can do to resolve them in the next section.
What Can You Do To Improve Your First Year Of Married Life?
1. Communication Is Key
Open communication can solve most of your problems. Talk freely and feel safe sharing your thoughts with your spouse when you face difficulties. Whether the issue is big or small, talking things out can help resolve them. However, be mindful of how you talk. Bickering, attacking, or passing hurtful comments will prove counterproductive.
Above all, listen to your spouse rather than hearing them. Proactive listening is a skill that takes time to master but plays a big part in a happy marriage. Actively listening means developing a deeper level of understanding and striving to diffuse the arguments.
2. Sort The Differences Fairly
When you are married, you will realize that avoiding conflicts altogether is not possible. At times, it can even help you both sort out your feelings. But it is easy to lose sight of your goal with all the emotions peaking high. You may end up hurting your spouse with your words. Avoid tracking the fights and keeping scores. It will only spoil your relationship in the long run.
Figure out a fair way to fight – where you can put up your arguments and listen to the opposite point of view. A healthy discussion can be conducive to the relationship.
3. The Power Of The Time Out
A marital argument can snowball into a huge conflict with one wrong word. Hitting the brakes on such a conversation before it gets out of hand can prevent an argument.
Anger, pride, and ego often get in the way of our rational thought process. A time out to calm down and think things through can save the day. Once you have processed everything, you may no longer be as upset and even have a way to resolve the issue at hand.
4. Respectful And Responsible
When it comes to commitment, every person expects their partner to treat them well and act responsibly. Be it close friends or extended families, they have years of bonding with your spouse. Be respectful and accommodating towards them. If you have a different opinion, you can voice it politely to avoid offending your partner.
5. Be Your Partner’s Strength
Your spouse is the one who will stay with you for an entire lifetime. You will depend on each other for all the tough times you might face in the future. In the first year of marriage, both of you will tackle the changes in your lives. You both will need to support and be patient with the other as you transition through these infinite changes. Both the husband and wife should be each other’s pillar of strength for a steady marriage.
6. Practice Positivity
Positivity attracts better emotions, leaving you happy and healthy. Practicing positivity has a lot of benefits in the relationship, but couples rarely do so. Every person craves acknowledgment of a job well done. Complimenting your spouse and encouraging and motivating them can help build and strengthen your relationship. It can also diffuse arguments faster down the road.
7. Celebrate Special Days Together
The first year of a marriage prepares your relationship for the days ahead. Take this year seriously when it comes to celebrating special occasions. and milestones. Your first date, your engagement and wedding anniversaries, your spouse’s birthday – do something special for the two of you and create fond memories. A movie or a candle-light dinner at home works out just fine. These small celebrations will intensify your bond and light the spark of romance.
Jessica also shared that being present for your partner is one of the most valuable aspects of marriage. Celebrating small moments with each other is as important as the big events, noting, “While the first year of marriage might have been tougher than I’d like, I was able to find times to be present to the best of my capacity. Celebrating those moments, celebrating love, and the little moments between you two, while no one else is around, is so special and important. It’s imperative to celebrate love, presence, and the small wins in life.”
You can also retain the spark of the first year of marriage by taking your partner out on a romantic date every now and then or surprising them with a gift.
8. Go On A Vacation Together
Planning a trip together can be an exciting change in your daily routine. Even a weekend trip can spice up your marriage. You can curate a list of new and exciting places you have always been itching to explore. You will notice sharing these happy moments with your other half can make it even more enjoyable. The getaways will give you both an opportunity to get to know each other better and spend some quality time.
9. Dedicated Family Time
With work commitments and other obligations, it may become increasingly difficult for many couples to take time out for their spouses. Spending quality time with each other in the initial few years of your marriage is essential.
Spending time need not mean giving the other person your undivided attention. It can also be just leaning back on your sofa binging on your favorite series, anything that both of you can enjoy together. Spending time together can help recharge your relationship – forming a deeper connection to sustain you when the times are tough.
10. Allocate Some Time For Yourself
Spending time together in a relationship is important, but so is allowing yourself some me-time. Indulging in self-care is crucial for a relationship. Both you and your partner may need some alone time to de-stress from the hectic schedules. It allows both of you to discover your desires and enhance your connection and reflect on their thoughts.
11. Plan Your Pregnancy
Parenthood brings about a great responsibility. Raising a baby requires a lot of effort and finances. For newlyweds getting used to the idea of married life, an unplanned pregnancy can be even more challenging.
As such, it is advisable to plan your pregnancy after assessing your career plans, financial capacity, and support. You can also try a couple of counseling sessions to prepare yourself. Family planning is an important decision, and the agreement of both people is necessary.
Infographic: What To Avoid Doing In Your First Year Of Marriage
The first year of marriage can be fun and exciting. It can also be difficult and demanding. Adjusting to a married life may not be easy and comes with its own set of challenges. But don’t worry! We have compiled a list of things you should avoid doing in your first year of marriage. Check out the infographic below to know more!
As you enter the first year of marriage, along with the struggle of adjusting to a new lifestyle, you will find yourself facing a lot of uncertainty, doubts, and testing situations with your partner. It might make matters worse to hold back to avoid conflicts in such early stages of your marriage. The safest bet is to be honest and make a habit of communicating all aspects of your marriage with your partner. After all, a successful marriage is built by two people called life partners for this specific reason. Finally, use the tips in this article to sail through your first year of marriage without rocking the boat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the first year of marriage the hardest or easiest?
It may differ from relationship to relationship. While for some couples, the first year of marriage could be the easiest as they are still in the honeymoon phase, for others, it could be the hardest as it requires a lot of adjustments and transitions.
What should you not do in your first year of marriage?
Things you should avoid in your first year of marriage are being too stubborn, not discussing finances, ditching your social life, not discussing household responsibilities, cribbing about your partner’s family, and not being forgiving.
What do you learn in your first year of marriage?
The first year of marriage is a time when you learn a lot about your partner and yourself. This can be because you tend to spend a lot of time together right from managing finances, dividing chores, and understanding differences to resolving conflicts. This phase can also help you to learn how you can set healthy boundaries and manage expectations better. It is also a time when one realizes that being kind to each other, communicating, and respecting each other are some of the things that are essential for both your relationship and personal growth.
What are realistic goals for the first year of marriage?
One of the realistic goals which are very important to achieve for the first year of marriage is to realize that mistakes might happen because no one is perfect, and you should accept those flaws. Apart from that, encouraging each other to accomplish their goals, celebrating each other’s successes, and spending quality time by going on date nights are some of the other realistic goals for the first year of marriage.
- The first year of marriage can be crucial as the challenges posed can strengthen your bond and make you both ready to face the challenges that may arise in the future.
- Finances, relationships with in-laws, a change of place and routine, a perceived lack of independence, and increased accountability may create conflicts in this adjustment period.
- Mutual respect, open and honest communication, taking time outs, and focusing on the positives can go a long way in helping you thrive in the first year of marriage.
Exciting, scary, and full of surprises – the first year of marriage is an adventure! Let’s explore 8 things nobody tells you about it in the video below.
Personal Experience: Sources
i. Lessons From My First Year Of Marriage
ii. 4 Things I’ve Loved and Learned from my 1st Year of Marriage