The 8 Biggest Mistakes Couples Make Their First Year of Marriage

A bride and groom holding a "just married" sign.

Many of these typical mistakes couples make are due to a few major issues that begin in a very minor way. We all know that honesty and communication are key to a successful partnership, especially a marriage. But it can be tough when you’re in the thick of your first twelve months as a married couple to know exactly how honest to be, or how critical to be of one another. Here’s some common mistakes newlyweds make that can easily be avoided.

1. Going to Therapy…Alone

Visiting a therapist alone for problems occurring within a marriage may be polarizing for your spouse, and could end up pushing the two of you further apart. Therapy is fantastic, and having your own therapist isn’t necessarily a negative thing. Just make sure to speak with your therapist about how solo counseling could potentially affect your marriage, especially if you’re discussing your spouse while there.

2. Hiding Your Financial History

A heart made from a dollar bill with paper cut-outs of a man and woman on either side of it.

You’ve already sat down with your spouse for some financial planning for the next five years—but is there anything that you might be hiding from your significant other? Not being totally honest with your spouse about finances could involve leaving out small loans you’ve taken from your friends, the fact that your dad bought your vehicle instead of you, or purchasing items from your own account in secret. As we all know, small money issues can turn into large ones.

3. Not Fessing Up to Mistakes

Admit to your mistakes. You will find that even though it may sting initially, eventually it will feel good to tell the truth. Forgot to book his mother’s flight for the holidays? Signed up for the more expensive Netflix account without telling him? Fess up, and then move on.

4. Complaining or Gossiping About Your Spouse to Others

Two female friends gossiping.

This all goes back to respect. Sure, you can vent about how annoying it is that your wife never loads or unloads the dishwasher properly, but keep things respectful. Know when talking about your wife or husband might be crossing a line; for instance, if you discuss their bedroom habits after a few beers at happy hour. We all need to express ourselves, and to work through not-so-sunny patches in a relationship, but we need to do it in a way that maintains a certain level of mutual respect.

5. Not Taking Enough Time for Yourself

We all have different needs and different ways we recharge. Time spent doing the activities that define you can sometimes have more impact than trying to share this activity with your significant other.

6. Not Making Time for Each Other

Relationships take a lot of time. Be honest with yourself about what you want to accomplish each day and what you can eliminate (perhaps that hour of twiddling around on the internet throughout the day), and you’ll start to see that you have a lot more minutes than you think you do in a day. Use them on your spouse!

A man and woman walking in a field.

7. Allowing Small Problems to Snowball

When couples fail to be honest with each other about the important stuff, even in an effort to be kind, it can create a never-ending cycle. Strive to communicate clearly, and to take on small confrontations before it snowballs. For instance, if your spouse doesn’t do a thorough job of washing the dishes, talk with them about it sooner rather than later.

8. Neglecting the Romance

A woman finding a Post-it note on a mirror that says

This one can be especially true if you and your spouse lived together before marriage. Take time to surprise your partner. You’ll find that it doesn’t require much effort. Bring home a bottle of champagne for no reason. Give a massage at the end of the day. Write them a note and leave it in their lunchbox to find the next afternoon. These small acts can stoke the fires of romance and create a deeper bond.

That said….

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Think about how you react to annoying things your spouse does. Consider whether this behavior on its own, is as annoying as it is when you try to analyze the larger meaning behind it. Think about the small thing you’re upset about and consider if you would be just as upset if a good friend did the same. Are you putting more pressure on your spouse than necessary? Isolate the action from the greater meaning, and think about whether this really bugs you, or whether the fact that this bothers you so much might mean you’re having feelings about a deeper issue. It’s better to get to the meat of whatever’s bugging you, rather than commenting on the symptoms.

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