Congratulations! You’re newly married and starting your first year as a married couple. Your wedding is over and maybe you even caught a flight to your dream destination for a beautiful honeymoon where you could enjoy the afterglow. But now you’re back home and starting life again. Feels a bit weird, huh? Here are seven keys to a happy first year of marriage to keep in mind.
1. Give Yourselves Room to Readjust
You spent the last few months (or years) planning your big day and it finally happened! It was perfect (or perfect with perfect imperfections) and you can’t wipe the smile off of your face thinking back on it. You get giddy when introducing your spouse as “my husband” or “my wife”, even if you fumble a bit trying to remember your new status.
But after the excitement of a wedding, many couples experience feeling an emptiness or void. The overly happy dust has settled and you return back to your everyday life so it’s normal to feel like something is a bit off. All that excited energy put towards wedding planning has nowhere to go now! Weddings are kind of like a high and you won’t experience that feeling forever. If you feel a distance but nothing is really wrong, just remember to give you and your spouse space to readjust. Before you know it, you’ll find your new normal as a married couple.
2. Have Fun Together
Okay, so we touched on how a void can happen when we settle back into the normal life routine, but that doesn’t mean you two should give up fun! What connected you guys in the first place? Go back to your roots—it can be fun to reminisce and think back to your earlier days. Or maybe you could try something new together. Try going to an archery range or hiking to a spot you’ve never been before.
One of the secrets to marriage is making time to connect, not only with the hard stuff like our problems in life, but the lighthearted stuff too.
3. Open Communication
Sometimes couples are just on different wave lengths. Moods, feelings, and reactions to people and events can differ, leaving you feeling disconnected and misunderstood. If your spouse seems distant and you’re not sure why, ask them. Nothing good ever comes out of being passive aggressive or returning the same perceived attitude back their way. Doing so will simply perpetuate the initial problem into something tangential: “Well you do this”, “Well you did this first!” Get to the root of what really is going on before reacting.
4. Find Your Own Happiness
Make time to take care of yourself. If you feel happy and fulfilled in your own life, it’s a lot easier to bring love and attention back to your spouse. So what are you doing to make yourself happy? Find time to unwind with your favorite book or feel good about making changes you’ve always wanted to like learning a hobby or exercising more.
So you’ve had your first fight as a married couple. Ouch! And sadly, there are many more to come. However, barring anything illegal, morally reprehensible, or downright mean, you should forgive your spouse for their slip ups and they should forgive you. We all have off days. No one is perfect, and we can’t always be in tune with another. Say you’re sorry, and explain why you’re sorry so your spouse knows you mean it. They should also return the favor when roles are reversed.
6. Pick Your Battles
Here’s a really simple rule: if either of you is either tired or hungry, make sure those needs are taken care of first. Problems can seem a lot less significant once your basic needs are met, and maybe your problem in the first place was due to one of these things!
Afterward, if something is still bothering you, put the problem into perspective. It’s easier said than done to detach ourselves from our emotions, but it is possible. Very rarely is someone 100% at fault and the other a saint. Make an effort to step into your partner’s shoes to see if anything could have been handled differently. If so, talk about it and make a plan of how to handle the same problem next time.
When in doubt, take the high road. Listen. Nothing good ever comes from being a right-fighter. Seek to understand and it’ll be a lot easier to speak rationally about how to solve any problem that arises.
To build a strong first year of marriage that sets a precedent for the years to come, make sure to let your spouse know they are a priority. This can be done by taking part in each other’s interests, going on dates, or something as simple as just sitting and talking.
Also, is there something you know would brighten their day? Learn each other’s language of love, and every once in a while, surprise them with something you know they would appreciate. It could be act of service like cleaning for them for a day or writing them a letter to remind them how much you care. Quality time doesn’t just happen naturally so make sure to make an active effort.