Back in December 2010, l said "I do" to my amazing wife Ashley. To be honest, our first year of marriage was not easy. But we made it through.
Even though we describe it as an emergency mode year, I am glad we used the first year to build a strong foundation for our marriage. I hope you do too.
We had to re-learn a lot of things we thought we already knew about each other. From adjusting to married life as a couple, changing our thinking from I to we, learning how to communicate with each other, exploring each other's bodies, combining our finances, etc.
If you just got married, engaged, or are in your first year of marriage, I believe these 5 simple things will help make your first year of marriage easier:
1. Be patient with your spouse
During the heated arguments and times when your spouse does the same thing you have already told him/her to stop doing, have patience. Sometimes they may not even realize they are doing it. Take a deep breath and relax.
Approach your spouse when you are calm and let them know how you feel about the situation.
2. Schedule time to connect and grow together every day
As you already know, life can be very busy. In the midst of your careers, decorating your new home or apartment, planning events, you can neglect spending time together. But do not let that happen to you. Schedule a time that fits your schedules to connect and grow together as a couple. Talk about your day, the new experiences you are going through as a person.
Sit down together making eye contact and hopefully body contact while you talk about what's most important to each of you. Talk about how you are growing, what you are learning, your hopes and dreams for your life together, fun plans you make for the future or even right around the corner.
3. Learn how to communicate effectively with each other
Communication issues made adjusting to married life more difficult for us. We were not able to communicate effectively with each other. However, with time, we were able to overcome it by practicing simple things like empathetic listening, paying full attention when we communicate and always asking for clarification.
In addition, learn how to communicate your marriage expectations, sexual and emotional needs. If you and your spouse know what you both expect from each other, it will make your first year of marriage a whole lot easier. Some of the arguments we had in our first year of marriage were due to us having different expectations.
4. Figure out your finances
Financial issues are well known to cause a lot of stress in many marriages. Discuss your finances with your spouse and agree on when and how you will spend your money. What financial goals like buying a house, taking a vacation, investing for retirement etc. do you want to achieve as a couple? A monthly budget that you both agree to will make it easier to be on the same page about money.
What financial goals like buying a house, taking a vacation, investing for retirement etc. do you want to achieve as a couple? A monthly budget that you both agree to will make it easier to be on the same page about money.
Talk about your finances every week.
5. Use this simple strategy to convey messages to your in-laws
When you have to tell your in-laws something, let your spouse deliver the message to his or her parents and vice versa. After several years of practicing this simple strategy, we have been able to prevent a lot of miscommunication with our in-laws and improved the boundaries we have for our marriage. Families usually receive things better this way and this requires the two of you to have already discussed things and made a united decision. This will set you up for a great boundary foundation.
I wish l knew about these 5 simple things before I got married in 2010. My hope is that you will be able to learn and apply these things in your marriage, especially if any is missing. Your marriage will certainly benefit from implementing them.