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Marriage is the joining together or union of two people who are in love and want to spend the rest of their lives together. It is an institution that joins two people from separate backgrounds, with different ideologies, characters, habits, and beliefs.
It’s never easy to live with someone else.
No matter how long you and your partner must have dated before you decide to get married, you might still discover some character traits that are difficult to put up with, even after you officially start to live together as husband and wife.
The first year of marriage can be extremely difficult as well as very interesting. This is a transition period for the two of you.
You are learning to live together after having lived on your own. This is the period were all bad habits start to surface and it takes extreme patience and understanding from both of you to navigate through this tricky period…
As newlyweds, you have an opportunity to create the pattern you want your marriage to go for the rest of your lives. How you begin your marriage from the onset usually determines the future happiness of your marriage and your life in general.
As couples who are still enjoying marital bliss, the first year is often the best time to try out new and better adventures, especially as the kids are yet to come along. This is the best time to have a renewed courtship and learn new things about each other you might not have learned during courtship.
Your first year is always an opportunity to be carefree because being newlyweds gives you a reason to rediscover yourself and adapt to your partner and learn all of their bad habits.
Marriage can be especially hard during the first year as its the early stages of spending ‘forever’ with your partner and this can be the “make it or break it stage”.
Here are a few tips that can help you survive your first year of marriage for a stronger and long-lasting relationship.
1. Get rid of unnecessary expectations
So many couples enter into marriage with stars in their eyes thinking marriage is always going to be easy and filled with nothing but marital bliss.
They have the mindset that marriage is a smooth ride with no single problem. They enter into marriage expecting their partners to be perfect and make no mistakes.
One person might have extreme expectations of their partner and when these expectations are not met they end up being disappointed. Entering a marriage free of no expectation is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just take everything one day at a time and move with the flow.
Not all days will be perfect so it’s okay to make mistakes.
It also okay to talk about your imperfections and the areas where your expectations are not being met. Talk about it with your partner and look for an acceptable resolution that both of you are comfortable with.
Do not go about beating yourself up because the expectations you had before going into the marriage are not working out as well as you had hoped for. Don’t go about obsessing over what you think is wrong with your marriage, but rather learn to leave with your new reality and try letting go of your old expectations.
2. A perfect marriage does not exist
The first thing every new couple should know is that there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. So don’t go about finding a perfect marriage.
Don’t look at what your parents, friends or acquaintances have in their own married lives and assume it is perfect simply because they choose to portray the perfect side for the world to see.
Instead, you should try to build your marriage to be as perfect as you want it to be. You can build your own perfect heaven inside your home where you can have your own problems but you resolve it within yourselves inside your home.
Even famous people like Barack Obama and his wife have issues but from what we see on TV and how they are portrayed on social media we end up thinking that they have this perfect marriage.
I repeat there is nothing like a perfect marriage for anyone. How you portray your marriage and how well you learn to adapt to your new status determines how perfect your marriage will be for you.
3 Tell yourself that divorce is not an option
On the day of your marriage, you both should declare before God that divorce is not an option. It will go directly from your mouth to God’s ears.
The only case for divorce in your union is if there is constant abuse or cheating addiction on the part of a spouse with no hope of changing. If none of these exists, you should always try to reconcile your differences and say no to divorce.
Aside from these cases, always reaffirmed to yourself that your marriage will not end in divorce. Learn to always forgive each other and do not keep scores of past hurt or occurrences that may have caused you distress.
Speak positively about your marriage and what you expect from your spouse. The word, ‘divorce’ should be forbidden and excluded from your vocabulary whether when talking to each other during arguments or when talking about your marriage in general.
Communication should always be your keyword, and to avoid divorce you must always communicate your feelings to your spouse particularly during the first year where you are still getting to know each better.
4 Always know that marriage is a fulltime partnership
Marriage should be given a 100/100 partnership and not the 50/50 people go about saying. Giving a hundred percent means giving your all and not just half of you. A hundred percent shows full and total commitment.
When you get married, especially as a newlywed giving your all doesn’t mean you are losing your self-respect or anything like that, but rather it simply means you are fully committed to making sure your marriage works out. There is no room for selfishness or self-centeredness in marriage. It’s either you give a hundred percent or nothing at all.
Also, try to build a sense of equality between the two of you and equality doesn’t always mean 50/50 it can also mean finding a balance that works best in the interest of you and your partner. Giving your all in your marriage means not holding back, not keeping secrets, and not keeping a part of you from your spouse.
If you are not ready to give a hundred percent then you are not ready to get married.
5 Allow yourself to adapt
The first year of marriage is about adaptation and not necessarily about changes. This is the very best time to learn to adapt to your spouse; to learn new things, make corrections and be corrected.
It, not the time to want to change your spouse or pick a fight just because you can’t change them in every single situation.
When I say adapt I mean to adapt to situations you can manage. Things you can cope with. Do not adapt to situations such as addiction, abuse or violence because those are not adjustable situations.
Situations you adjust to might be a few bad habits that are controllable and you can manage, such as snoring, laziness and so on.
The first year of marriage is when you learn to adapt to the good and bad. This is when you learn new things about each other. Your ability to adapt to each other will determine whether or not your marriage will succeed.
6. Never neglect the intimacy part of your marriage
Yeah, this happens a lot because some people forget all about romance as early as their first year of marriage. Especially when a child comes into the family that early.
The first year is still considered the honeymoon period and the romance should still be very much alive and thriving.
Keep your phones off when you are together and have romantic conversations. Keep wearing your sexy outfits and lingerie and try not to fall into the temptation of spending all your time in your sweatpants.
Put in the effort to always look good for your spouse.
Don’t feel you don’t need to put much effort into your intimate lives because you are married or because you have a baby to take care of. Getting married or having a baby does not reduce your intimate life. Rather you should always find more creative ways to spice up your intimate life.
Shower your partner with gifts, dinner dates, picnics, make plans to go on new adventures together, set new goals and achieve them together.
Try to occasionally engage yourselves in new and fun activities because variety is the spice of life.
So go on and read that book together, take those classes together, go to that new club together, and just learn new and better ways to keep the candle of romance burning in your relationship.
7. Don’t lose yourself
It is very easy and common for people to lose themselves when they get married. You get easily carried away caring for your husband and nurturing your marriage you forget to take care of yourself.
Take time out to pamper yourself, go out and don’t just build your life around caring for your husband and kids.
Always take time off to reset and relax your mind. When you are relaxed and have peace of mind, then your marriage will thrive.
It’s important you have a life outside of your marriage.
Sometimes most people tend to build their life around their partners, especially during the first year, to the extent that they lose their own identities and no longer know who they are. This is usually when they start to feel dissatisfied with their married life. So it’s important to establish your own independence and be your own individual from the very onset of your marriage.
Always try to find your financial, emotional and spiritual balance. Try not to get drowned in the web of your marriage and always try to have a separate identity from your spouse.
Don’t get too clingy and have a life outside of your home. Go out with friends and have fun as you would normally do.
Don’t think that because you are married now you can’t have fun, instead understand how to find a balance between being a wife, mother, sister and a friend.
Try not to be that woman whose world revolves around their partner. You can learn a new hobby for yourself, try something new, but do not sit around all day waiting for your spouse. Create a life for yourself that you find fulfilment in because when you are unfulfilled then your marriage begins to suffer setbacks too.
8. Learn to communicate properly from the beginning
Communication according to Marian Webster can be the ability to use words, signs or behaviours to exchange information or express ideas, thoughts or feelings to someone else.
Communication is the basic skill that all first-year marriages need to excel and succeed. you need to learn to communicate with each other and not just assume that your partner knows what you are feeling.
You should be able to tell your partner when they are hurting your feelings. Learn to pay attention to your partner’s needs and communicate with each other on how to go about satisfying those needs.
The key to a happy, healthy and successful marriage is communication. You need to be able to come to a compromise with your spouse on how you want your marriage to work.
Building your communication skills is one of the things you must learn to do before you venture into marriage.
Most times lack of communication can cause a lot of harm in marriage faster than anything else. You have to learn to talk to your partner always and communicate with them when you have problems or you are facing challenges.
Complaining about how your marriage is not meeting your expectations are pretty normal, but when you let this complaint cloud your sense of gratitude then you are putting your marriage in jeopardy.
You should always learn to look at the positive side of everything in your marriage and be grateful for it. Instead of complaining about the negatives, accept the positives with a heart of gratitude.
Sometimes we take the simple things our partners do for us for granted and forget to say the simplest things like ‘thank you’ for everything they do. This might hurt their feelings and make them feel undervalued and unappreciated.
When we appreciate them for the things that they do, no matter how little, this will go a long way in boosting their morale and making them feel appreciated.
So in other for your marriage to work, especially during the first and most premature stages, you need to work on adopting the spirit of gratitude.
10. Rely on your partner
Leaning on your partner during the first year of marriage can be very difficult and tasking, mostly due to the fact that you are used to doing everything by yourself and solving your crisis alone. But you must learn to remember that no one is an island and that you now have somebody you can rely on whenever you are going through problems.
Trusting and relying on your partner does not mean you are lazy or that you can not take care of yourself, it simply means you are human and that if you fall, there would be someone out there to catch you and help you get back up, without criticism or mockery.
It can be most especially hard if you’re an independent woman because accepting help can be difficult, but it’s okay. Accepting help does not mean you are less independent, but rather it proves that you are strong enough to accept help when you need it.
Not learning to lean on your partner might escalate a problem because when you hold on to those problems for so long it begins to take its toll on your relationship.
Remember every marriage has its own rhythm and flow…
What works for couple A might not actually work for couple B. So do not build your marriage on the basis of how others are living their own married life.
You should build your marriage on what works best for you. Adopt a formula that you can learn to work with.
At the end of the day, your end goal is to create your happiness and to have a long-lasting marriage, so you have to learn to stop listening to naysayers and people who have an opinion on how you are supposed to have a happy married life.
Do what makes you happy, avoid self-doubt and overconfidence, and always try to think of your partner’s happiness. Endeavour not to lose yourself in the process of protecting your marriage.
Learn to protect your inner peace from outside forces, and safeguard your home. Do not go about telling others what is happening in your home because when you invite a third-party into your home, you are creating room for disaster.
Learn to solve your marital problem between the four walls of your house.
I hope these little tips help you find your flow in your new home and remember that the first year of your marriage is still considered your honeymoon phase so don’t take things too seriously and enjoy your marriage.