As many newlyweds discover, marriage is not all roses and spooning. The first year can be especially jarring as spouses get used to married life, especially if a couple hasn’t cohabited before. Here are the most common mistakes people make in the first year of marriage.
1. Arguing about money
Figuring out how to balance saving, spending, and splurging is hard enough for one person, so it should be no surprise that combining finances often brings unexpected conflict for newlyweds. A common mistake is to not work out the details of short-term and long-term financial goals before the marriage begins. Married couples who can successfully work out a budget fare better than those who can’t.
2. Letting the outside world disappear
It’s pretty normal for newlyweds to stop doing solo things for awhile. However, never coming out of the couple bubble means that friends and hobbies fade away, and spouses can lose their senses of individuality. This makes for two people who suddenly become very boring to each other, as they have nothing new to add to the ongoing conversation that happens in marriage. This also means that sources of outside support aren’t available when the couple inevitably has a fight or could use objective advice on an issue.
3. Dividing labor unfairly
The first year of marriage sets the tone for the years to come. Work, chore, and childcare distribution that feels unfair to one spouse will lead to resentment. That’s why it’s so important for spouses to come up with a system they can both live with right away.
4. Having a baby
Jumping into parenthood too quickly means that some spouses never get to fully enjoy being newlyweds. Happy memories of this unique time can sustain couples when the stress of caring for an infant takes over their lives. If a long-term romantic bond inside the marriage isn’t established before the babies come, it might be too late for spouses to see each other as more than co-parents later.
5. Letting a crisis kill communication
Car accidents, health problems, job loss, and the death of a family member are just a few of the things that can cause the kinds of financial and emotional strain that harm a marriage. Since each person responds to stress and grief differently, dealing with a crisis can be especially difficult for the newly married. It’s important for newlyweds to not only tell each other how they’re feeling but also how they deal with a crisis in general. For example, one spouse may need physical closeness, while the other copes by taking lots of solitary walks. Not understanding how the other person copes is a great way to add unnecessary conflict to an already bad situation.
There is a common theme to the mistakes people make during the first year of marriage. Learning to communicate about any issue that arises is what will keep some newlyweds together where others falter. Talking and planning things out before they happen is a good first step, and beginning marriage counseling before issues occur is a great way to learn communication tools to navigate future problems.
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