We've all heard it said that surviving the first year of marriage is the hardest! This is so true, even if you lived together before getting married; marriage is a very deep and complex commitment that doesn't compare to any other relationship. It takes work and dedication and above all else, love. Here are some helpful tips on surviving the first year of marriage.
1. Understand the Honeymoon Phase and when It Passes
When you first get engaged and married, it's always exciting and new and adventurous. It's an amazing journey (albeit a stressful one), especially during wedding planning, actually experiencing your memorable day, and then finally spending romantic time away on your honeymoon. But once the honeymoon phase passes and real life sets in, it can be difficult to cope for some couples, because the excitement has worn off. Instead of feeling bummed out, one of the tips on surviving the first year of marriage is to look forward to all the new adventures you will have together for the rest of your lives!
2. No "His" or "Her" Money
I know this is probably a controversial topic, but in my honest opinion, having separate bank accounts creates a possessive and competitive attitude about whose money is whose and which bills get paid by whose paycheck, which is destructive in a marriage. Finances are literally the biggest reason couples argue and divorce, so in order to avoid that, it's best to join bank accounts and have a proper budget in place. After all, you are one unit now, so why separate such a big part of your lives?
3. Stick to a Budget
Here's another financial tip - create a budget and follow through with it! Whatever your income is, it's always crucial to know what your gross and net incomes are and how your money needs to be spent every month. Bills, groceries, and discretionary spending need to be sorted out before you tie the knot to avoid hassle, headache and conflict!
4. Have an "Allowance" for Personal Spending
Okay, this is where the "his" and "her" money is actually appropriate! Each spouse needs to have a personal spending allowance every month that the other person can't complain about. That way, you can go shopping, or eat out with friends, and you know exactly what budget it comes from - personal, non-contested. Trust me, this has saved my husband and I from many arguments (except when I've gone over budget). *wink
5. Respect Each Other during Arguments
The first year of marriage is full of passion, which means you have many loving moments and many moments that lead to rage and frustration. Totally normal! So when you find yourself in the middle of an argument, instead of lashing out with what's probably circling around in your head, try taking a deep breath while calmly and respectfully saying how you feel. You'll be surprised how quickly the argument diffuses when you react with love and respect.
Compromise is the key component in all of these areas and truthfully, its underlying component is the love you have for your spouse. Ultimately you want them to be happy because you care so deeply for them. So learn to compromise! If you like the house a certain way and your spouse isn't exactly a clean freak, understand that and have them take on a few responsibilities and leave it at that. That gives you the freedom to keep house the way you prefer without being a nag.
7. Don't Sweat the Little Things
I can't emphasize this enough; it's really important for you to choose your battles wisely. The little quirks your spouse has right now might be irritating, but you may learn to love those things about them the most with time. Let the little things go because in the long run they don't matter - all that matters is the bond that you share and how deep it is.
Marriage is incredible and at the same time challenging. There will always be ups and downs and compromises along the way, but with each year filled with experiences, you'll only become stronger as a couple. Do you ladies have any tips and advice for surviving the first year of marriage that you'd be willing to share? I'm sure any couple would benefit from your wisdom.