Besides the newlywed bliss, there come some ups and downs. It is pretty normal to hit rough patches in the first two years of marriage says Shivani Misri Sadhoo, but do not panic. By understanding certain changes and roadblocks you might experience in early marriage, you and your partner can still work together to lay a strong foundation for the years to come.
This article by Couples Therapist Shivani Misri Sadhoo highlights the reasons why your first year of marriage is so important.
Why your First Year of Marriage Matters
Couples Therapist Shivani says the first year of your marriage is full of transitions and adjustments as you and your partner adapt to the new roles. Yet the way you handle and manage this period of adjustment is key to the longevity of your marriage, say researchers.
A decline in love, affection, respect, and responsiveness and a boost in ambivalence within the first couple of years of marriage can be an indicator for divorce after 13 years. This was as per a study in 2009 on the predictors of marital satisfaction and stressors.
The study also saw that couples who divorce during the first couple of years showed signs of disillusionment and were negative toward each other in the first two months of their marriage. Those couples who were still happily married were those who were able to have positive feelings about their spouses during this early period in their relationship.
Some other research shows that newlyweds could be more prone to dissatisfaction because of unrealistic expectations or the level of what they experience against what they expected in terms of marriage. Common unexpected adjustments include some of the following:
· The “minor things”
· Competing Loyalties
· Serious Accountabilities
· Relationship Roles
One more study recorded that newly married couples who look to estimate that their happiness levels will increase (or at least remain the same) within the first four years of marriage are more possible to experience a decline in happiness over time.
Divorce is also quite common within the early years of marriage because of the transition itself into marriage and parenthood, specifically among couples high in neuroticism who have been known to have reduced overall levels of satisfaction in their marriage.
Major Red Flags in Early Marriage
· Addictions or substance abuse
· Emotional or physical abuse
· Fear of conflict
· Incapability to have fun together
· Lack of mutual respect
· Lack of romance and intimacy
· Married quite early or for the wrong reasons
· Over-commitment of time and other things
· Sexual issues
· Excessive dependence on parents
· Unrealistic expectations
Priorities during the First Year of Marriage
If you see yourself a bit depressed post your wedding, it is fine. Honeymoon blues are just normal. Both of you have been caught up in time-consuming wedding preparations.
It is a certain bet that once you do not have that stress or pressure to deal with, you will have a sense of loss. It is the same as the post-holiday letdown that various people experience. However, it is essential to not ignore this period of depression.
Besides this to keep the romance alive, there are other priorities a couple will have to face as well.
Decide how to Handle Money
Discuss clearly whether you wish to manage your finance and money separately, jointly, or having a combination of separate and joint accounts. Either way, do not speak lies, honesty is critical when it comes to avoiding conflicts because of money.
Find out Ways to Manage Chores
Splitting up household chores fairly helps eliminate stress in your home and ensures a happy marriage. Bear in mind that you will possibly have to re-evaluate the list from time to time.
Look for Ways to Spend Free Time
While together time is valuable, you also need quality time outside of your relationship for personal space, growth, and independence.
Make Time for Sex
Even when your lives are busy, keeping your sex life healthy has to remain a priority. While on average most couples generally get intimate once a week, it’s important to find out what works for you to maintain intimacy.
Set Boundaries with in-laws
Have a discussion with your spouse about what is fine and what is not as far as involvement from your in-laws. For instance, can they drop all unannounced or do you expect a phone call or text first?
Understand and Respect Differences
While your core values are possibly the same, your partner’s thoughts and beliefs might differ from your own. Understanding and respecting these differences will assist you to avoid judgment and improve your relationship.
Learn to Handle and Manage Conflict
While conflict is bound to happen, how you handle or manage conflict can make a difference in your marriage. Give your best to maintain a constructive attitude and mutual respect, and be ready to recognize your partner’s point of view.
From household chores to physical intimacy, it is essential to discuss what you expect from your spouse. After all, unmet or unrealistic expectations could create significant stress in your relationship.
Sadly, several couples avoid topics that might become heated. But doing so will do a huge disservice to your union.
What to Do If You are Struggling
The ideal thing to do is hold an open and honest conversation with your partner, without blaming, about your issues. You may initiate by saying something such as, “I think we both are struggling to adjust while being married.”
From there, you might figure out what marriage assistance options might be a good fit for you both. It might be setting aside time to read and discuss self-help books, seeking guidance from a trusted source, or perhaps pursuing couples’ therapy. It is also important to:
Refrain from Blaming your Partner
The blame game will simply exacerbate any struggles you and your spouse are having. Rather, discuss what you feel is happening and ways you can work together as a couple to bridge the gap.
Have Realistic Expectations
Unfair expectations could get the better of your relationship, for instance, you expect your spouse to live up to what you see in romance movies.
Give yourself and your Spouse Time to Adapt
Marriage is new to both of you, so it is essential to have patience as you adjust and adapt to your new roles and responsibilities.
Remember you can Assist your Spouse Grow, but you cannot change who he/she is
While you cannot change your partner, you can alter your reactions and responses, which might prompt your partner to want to change theirs.
Value your Partner
Do not take them for granted. Making an effort to say thank you or I love you and showing appreciation can go a long way in making your partner feel good about themselves and your relationship.
Spend Quality Time Together
Enjoying few one-on-one times can support strengthen your bond, form intimacy, and create cherished memories in your marriage.
Even though the first couple of years of marriage are supposed to be the most difficult, they are mostly remembered as the most joyous. Those could be a great time of intimacy and discovery.
There is a lot more to learn about each other and so much to express to each other. During the newlywed stage, you can lay the foundation for a life-long, meaningful partnership. Thus, enjoy and romance one another.