Once the wedding is over and you tie the knot, you might think that it’s smooth sailing from here on out. And while it’s important to go into every new situation – like a marriage – with a positive outlook, it’s also important to be realistic.
In short, knowing that the first year of marriage comes with its own set of challenges can keep you from feeling disappointed. Is that first year of marriage really a big deal? Let’s find out.
Book Recommendation: The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts (Available in Amazon)
The stakes are higher
Before, you were just boyfriend and girlfriend, or an engaged couple. Now, it’s official: you’re legally connected, and it’s till death do we part. Even if you love someone and want to spend the rest of your life with him, getting married puts the stakes a bit higher.
Now, every argument can seem like the end of the world – your married world, that is. Now, you feel more pressure to make sure things work.
Not enough money and debt talk
Now that you’re married, you and your husband have to talk finances. That includes saving, spending, credit cards, student debts, 401Ks and investing.
And if you’re not good and discussing money, and creating a financial plan together, money can become a source of stress and tension.
Domestic household rules
It’s true that our society is becoming more and more equal, but it’s entirely possible that your marriage will be a place where you come face to face with stereotypical gender roles.
For example, does he expect you to take care of the domestic, household stuff?
If you end up doing all the cleaning, cooking, laundry and grocery shopping, it might be okay for the first couple months, but if you don’t share things equally, or at least have conversations about domestic work, it can cause husband-and-wife fights.
You don’t keep up with the little things
Now that you’re living together, you might not see the need to continue doing those sweet little nothings for your spouse. After all, what for? You’re married now.
But now is the best time to continue those small acts of love. Things like preparing each other’s coffee, surprising him with his favorite breakfast croissant, etc. They might seem small, but they go a long way in letting your partner know that you think of him.
No open communication about what annoys you
If you didn’t live with each other before you tied the knot, cohabitation will give you a whole new view of your husband. You’ll see lifestyle habits that you both love and hate.
Things will naturally irk and annoy you. But don’t ignore these things. They might seem small and insignificant, but little by little, they add up and after a year, you’ll probably go crazy.
Book Recommendation: 4 Essential Keys to Effective Communication in Love, Life, Work–Anywhere!: A How-To Guide for Practicing the Empathic Listening, Speaking, and Dialogue Skills to Achieve Relationship Success
You don’t know how to have a healthy, fair fight
Before you got married, you probably argued and yes, even fought, but you probably didn’t have too many opportunities to fight. That’s because your lives were still somewhat separate.
Now, you’re married. You have to discuss everything and anything, and new conflicts will come up. It’s inevitable, but if you don’t know how to have a fair, healthy fight, this first year of marriage might be a real challenge.
The anti-climax of married life
Leading up to the big day, you were full of wedding and honeymoon planning. There was so much to look forward to, and lots of excitement buzzing in the air.
But now that it’s all over, you may feel a bit of a letdown. What’s there to look forward to? Plus, the monotony of a daily routine can start to make you wonder: is this it?
Expectations to have kids
Every couple is unique and needs to decide how they want to start their own family. But now that you’re both married, you can expect the pressure, questions, and expectations to roll in.
People will want to know when you’re planning to have kids. People will compare you to other couples who have kids. They might mean well, but if starting a family isn’t in your year-one plans, it can start to feel stressful and irritating.
You might question your new identity
Yes, you love your husband, and yes, you love being his wife. But being a “Mrs” can throw you at first. For some women, being a married Mrs doesn’t change much, but you might feel lost in your new role.
And now, since your married, you’ll find yourself saying “we” rather than “me”, and you might wonder if you have much of an identity apart from your husband.
Learning to love your husband without liking him
Before marriage, you probably got angry at him, but it passed. Once you’re married and are in constant contact with each other, you might dislike him every once and a while. This can feel scary and wrong to not like the man you’re supposed to love.
But just because you don’t like him for a day or two, doesn’t mean you stop loving him. In fact, you can experience both, and that’s completely okay and normal.
Struggles to balance two lives and two families
This first year is all about compromise. On the weekends, you’ll have to share which friends to spend time with. There will be mandatory family gatherings, and yes, sometimes, you’ll have to bite the bullet and spend your entire free weekend with your in-laws.
But try not to feel upset about this. That’s because, if things are fair between you and your new hubby – he has to do the same for you, too. It’s part of your new relationship and something you’ll have to get used to.
You have so many decisions to make together
Even if you’re dating or engaged, you’re still technically a single woman, and you get to decide how to decorate your home, what to eat for dinner, when to eat dinner and what your weekend plans are. This is a type of freedom and independence that you’ll have to relinquish once you’re married.
Now, every decision boils down to a group decision, and that can be exhausting at first. But don’t worry, you’ll both fall into a natural rhythm and create a life that you love and enjoy. It just takes some time and adjusting.