Getting it Right in the First Year of Marriage


Cute young couple eating lunchMarriage has rudely awakened many from their world of fantasy. The build-up towards marriage is high. Everything is just right; nothing seem to be able to go wrong. The effect sustains after marriage, through the period of “honeymoon” and then the rubber hits the road – hard and rude! Everything is suddenly different.

Reality Limits Fantasy

The dream was to live happily ever after but realty raises its ugly head as soon as it can. Issues that you never expected to even think about has suddenly started bothering you. Your partner’s character suddenly seems to be so different from what it was when you both were so in love. These developments can easily upturn the apple-cart very early in marriage if necessary steps are not taken beforehand to try and prevent them from happening.

Define Roles Early in Marriage

It is advisable for couples to sit together and assess the possible pressure points and work out ways to work around it in a mutually acceptable and beneficial way. The ideal time to have this very important conversation is right before marriage or right after.

But the irony of the situation is that it is precisely during this time that you are in a surreal world and discussing about possible problems would be the last thing on your mind. But it is not only important to have this discussion before trouble hits you, it is also important to have it at the start of the marriage as tolerance levels are high during that time.

There are various flash points that couples need to discuss about.

1) Defining each other’s roles would be the first and foremost in the list. Who will do what and how much? How best to divide house-chores and other responsibilities?, etc., are some of the questions that need to be discussed. The purpose of the discussion should be to find out how best each one can help the other and not how much you can get out of the other.

2) Role of Relatives – Starting a new life with someone means redefining old ones. Parents always desire to be part of their children’s life even after they have married. This can often create friction as the priorities and likes of the newly formed family may not be similar to the ones the parents had. Hence, defining boundaries for each other’s relatives is also an important decision to be made before they start interfering in your married life.

3) Financial Infidelity being one of the leading reasons behind many divorces, deciding on matters pertaining to money is very important. Each one’s view on money and how they would spend it depends on each one’s upbringing. The partners need to sit together and try and sync both their views and decide how much to spend and on what and how much to save and for what.

4) Fun and Family – Before marriage, couples met each other to go out for a movie, to sit in the park, or to eat out. But after marriage, when couples start living together, these activities become rare. In some cases, they totally vanish. The husband and wife are busy working and they hardly get time to sit together for a meal. Before this distance can hurt your relationship it is better for you to fix up a family time on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

All About Tolerance

Marriage is all about tolerance. Getting used to a new person who is in the house day in and day out, with all the different and often annoying habits, is not as easy as it may seem. Many women have confessed that they have felt irritated, confused, angry, and trapped within the first few months of their married life. These negative emotions are often the result of lack of proper communication and mutual respect.

In their book Happily Ever After, Toben and Joanne Heim gives a wonderful analogy about marriage adjustments. They compare married partners to two square stones and marriage, according to them is an effort to make them smooth around the edges. Every mutually beneficial adjustment you make helps in rounding off the corners. It is a long-drawn process which needs patience and determination. You need to keep at it and never let go.