We Said "I Do", Now Comes the Easy Part... Right?
You’ve spent your entire adult life looking for your Mr. or Ms. Right and you’ve finally met your match. While some might think that the dating process is the most challenging part of it all, you may be in for a surprise during your first year of marriage. Learning to mesh two different lives into a household of unity can be a delicate process, to say the least. Before reality becomes hazy with matrimonial bliss, take a look at these common newlywed mistakes so that you can do your best to avoid them in your own marriage.
Mistake #1: Not Talking About Finances
The leading cause of divorce is finances. Most people typically bring some form of debt into a marriage, whether it be credit card debt or student loans, yet they fail to keep their partner in the loop. When this happens the couple begins to struggle financially which causes unnecessary arguments, stress, and in some cases, the demise of the marriage altogether.
What to do: Ideally, this should be discussed before you tie the knot. But, if you haven't already, you need to sit down with your spouse and go over all finances immediately after your honeymoon. This means talking about both of your credit histories, old debts, and any current debts that you both might have. Bill collectors now see you as a unit and so your debts have ultimately become your partner’s debts. Just as you would not want to be blindsided with a $1,000 credit card bill in the mail, your partner does not want that surprise either. Sit down, discuss your financial status and then come up with a plan to get (or keep) you both on the right path for your future.
Mistake #2: Obsessing Over Baby
The next mistake that many newlyweds make is obsessing over what they believe is the next step in their relationship – a baby. Couples may get nagged by friends and parents, or overly-focused on it themselves, which creates a very stressful “deadline” to uphold.
What to do: Kindly let everyone know that you’re just enjoying each other and being married. When the time is right for children, it will happen. Most newlyweds don’t realize what a challenge the first year can be and sometimes throwing a baby into the mix too soon can really complicate things. When sex becomes a chore it's no longer fun, so just enjoy each other and let the rest happen in its own timing.
Mistake #3: Alienating Friends
You’re in love, you have finally found your soul mate, and all you want to do is be in their presence as much as possible. This is all very normal for newlyweds to feel. They spend so much time with each other that their friends and family members are put on the back burner.
What to do: Friends and family should be an integral part of your everyday life. It is unhealthy to seclude the rest of the world and only be with each other. In the beginning you will spend more time with your spouse; however, as time goes on, find ways to incorporate your family and friends in your married life. Invite them for dinner, go out with your friends and other couples, and continue interacting as you did before you were married. You were both complete persons before marriage, you should maintain your individual friendships as you move down life's path with your spouse.
Mistake #4: Getting Too Comfortable
As time goes on, newlyweds begin to get “comfortable” with their spouse and their new relationship together. They might not do the things they did when they were courting. Daily life becomes routine, care toward wardrobes and physical appearance falls by the wayside, and things can get a bit boring. After all, you’ve got your soul mate…. So they should love you no matter what you look like right?
What to do: Yes in a marriage things will become pretty routine as your married life routine becomes established, but you should never stop incorporating new and exciting things into the marriage. If you went out on dates a lot or you dressed especially nice for your partner when you were courting, these are things you should continue to do in order to keep the marriage alive. Allowing the relationship to go stale creates boredom, envy and in some cases can lead to infidelity. So even if you can’t do it as much as you used to, don't get too comfortable.
As stated before the first year of your marriage is likely the most challenging (though some will disagree). As time goes by, the blissfully "in love" feelings fade and you’re left with reality. Learning to live with and cope with another individual on a day to day basis takes time, practice, and cooperation on both sides. A lot of mistakes will be made along the way, but it is how you recover and learn from those mistakes that will make all the difference. Hopefully these few tidbits of advice will keep your marriage happy and satisfying, and allow you and your spouse to grow closer together.
Working with a trained relationship counselor is a healthy way to work through the first-year bumps, as well as learn relationship skills that can help keep your marriage healthy for the long-haul. Your marriage is your most important investment. We’d like to help you keep it that way. If you are considering couples counseling, let the counselors at the Relationship Center of Orange County help you. Call us today at 949-220-3211 or book your appointment via our online calendar.