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27 Tips For The First Year Of Marriage To Survive (How To Make It Last)

by Sonya Schwartz

Some say that the first year of marriage is when the honeymoon phase truly ends. During this period, you will be moving in with someone new. 

You’ll have to adjust to their habits, pet peeves, and way of doing things. Simultaneously, couples will need to continue to build trust and lay the foundation for a future that will last a lifetime. 

While the first year of marriage is challenging for most people, there are certain things that both you and your spouse can do to make sure that your relationship continues to grow stronger by the day. 

First Year of Marriage: How To Make Your Marriage Survive And Thrive

1. Small gestures go a long way

It can be easy to get distracted by the hustle and bustle of married life. There are so many things to get used to. The to-do list is always a mile long. However, don’t let your relationship suffer because of that. Make sure that you use small gestures to show your partner that you love them, even if you only have a few minutes of spare time. 

2. Understand there is a transition period

It takes time to adjust to living with a new person, this also applies to that new person being your spouse. You’ve got plenty of things to adjust to as a married couple. It’s going to take time. 

You need to understand this because so many married couples go into living together and expect the transition to be smooth sailing. Then, when their expectations do not meet their reality, it causes problems in the marriage. These add to the problems that are already bound to happen during the first year. 

3. Stay on the same team

It’s important that both you and your partner make sure that you’re on the same team. Instead of turning against one another. For example, if the two of you are debating credit card debts, don’t let the focus of the argument turn into who spent more on a credit card. Instead, you both need to work on paying down the debt. 

Engaged couples are often so full of bliss and busy planning the wedding that they don’t realize how much teamwork being a married couple is. This can lead to a significant amount of marriage problems. If the two of you do not function as a team, it’s time to work on that. 

4. Continue to build intimacy

Just because the two of you are married does not mean that the work is over. In fact, happy marriage takes plenty of work. You both need to make an effort to build and maintain intimacy in your relationship. 

Plan a date night. Make sure that there is plenty of physical affection. Talk to each other about your day. Make sure that the two of you stay connected on a deeper level to ensure that you remain happy. 

5. Discuss household chores

One of the biggest, never-ending arguments among married couples revolves around chores. In a stereotypical household, this involves the wife or husband doing more work than the other one. 

Instead of a constant battle, the two of you need to sit down and discuss household duties. If one person hates dishes, but the other doesn’t mind, it makes sense that the person that doesn’t mind does the dishes. You can both take out the trash or sweep the floor, too. 

If you can’t agree on who does what, break out a notebook and divide them up. Remember, the goal is for the house to be clean, and you both need to work on that together. 

6. Communicate your expectations

communicate your expectations

Most couples find that the romance slowly fades away in the first year of marriage. However, that is why it’s so important to keep the romance alive. Instead of letting it slowly dissolve until your first year of marriage is riddled with conflict, discuss your expectations with each other. Strive to meet the other person’s expectations. 

7. Spend quality time together

Although the two of you already have a bond, you need to keep it. This can be difficult in the first year of marriage when you two are going through a transitional period, however, it is critical to having a successful marriage. Plan a date night with each other. If you aren’t home for the night, make sure that you call each other before going to bed. 

8. Practice effective communication

Using effective communication can greatly benefit your relationship. It will help you both stay on the same page. Together, you will build a strong foundation to ensure that your marriage lasts for years upon years. Without effective communication, the two of you will find it very difficult to resolve conflict. 

During the first year of marriage, you’ll quickly discover whether you and your partner are able to communicate or not. If you have difficulty communicating, consider speaking with your pastor or attending couples counseling. These are both great resources for couples that are finding it hard to communicate or resolve conflict during the first year of marriage. 

9. Discuss your finances

If you have not done so already, it’s time to discuss your finances. The first year of marriage has a reputation for being rough, so you might not want to add to it. However, this is an important part of living together. You both need to determine the cost of living expenses, consider how much you both bring home, and who will pay for what. 

10. Be honest

I know someone that got married and never told her husband about her extreme amount of debt. This caused a significant amount of conflict. To avoid this during your first year of marriage, make sure that you are both honest with one another. Even if the truth is embarrassing, it’s important to get it out of the way now. 

11. If you feel overwhelmed, speak up

The first year of marriage is such a significant change for many people. It presents its own unique challenges to your marriage. This can easily lead to one of you feeling overwhelmed. Instead of trying to stay silent or taking on more than you can handle, speak with your partner about it. It’s important that the two of you support each other, especially during the first year of marriage. 

12. Take birth control until you plan a pregnancy

take birth control until you plan a pregnancy

Although many couples welcome their first baby soon after marriage, this is not always ideal. The first year of marriage can already be a tough time. An infant will add more stress and financial difficulties. That is not something that you want during the first year of marriage. Instead, make an effort to plan the pregnancy if both of you want to have children. 

13. Always respect each other

There are a lot of disrespectful behaviors that we all do, even if they are unintentional. Not listening to one’s advice, rolling your eyes, mocking people and name-calling are all very disrespectful. 

Being disrespectful is not going to help you build the strong foundation that you need during the first year of marriage. Instead, it will slowly create a gap between the two of you. Over time, this can build resentment in your relationship. 

14. Be responsible for your actions

No one is perfect. Sometimes, people are going to be disrespectful or hurt someone’s feelings. That doesn’t mean that you don’t love one another. In fact, there are going to be plenty of those moments in the first year of marriage. It’s important to apologize for your actions, hold yourself responsible for your behavior, and focus on changing your behavior in the future. 

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15. No keeping score

Don’t keep score in your marriage, but especially not in the first year of marriage. Instead, focus on both of you helping out the other one and functioning as a team. When you keep score, it leads to one person trying to beat the other one. You wind up as opponents in opposite corners of the ring instead of two people working together. 

16. Mind your manners when it comes to the in-laws

Bringing together two families can be a struggle. His mother may have different views on things than you do. Likewise, her father may believe that you should do traditional things even though the two of you have a more modern relationship that involves both of you doing various things in the relationship. 

It can be tempting to tell them to but out of your relationship. You’ll be even more tempted to point out his own parent’s shortcomings as you learn all the things that he does that get on your nerves. (You quickly discover those within the first year of marriage.) 

Instead, bite your tongue. It’s important that you are respectful towards your husband, and his family. This does not just apply to the first year of marriage, either. Both people in a marriage are likely to feel defensive when it comes to their parents. 

17. Make sure that you give each other space

While it can be wonderful living with one another, that doesn’t mean that you have to spend every second with each other. Quality time is wonderful, but too much of anything can be a bad thing. 

Married couples should spend time with other people too. It’s not good to isolate yourself away from friends and family. It’s very unhealthy. Make sure that you spend time with the same people that you did before marriage. If you used to have family dinner with your family every Sunday night, continue to do that. Invite your wife along, or you two can do your separate things. 

Another great idea is for both of you to have your own hobbies outside of the relationship. Just because you’re married does not mean that you have to share everything that you guys do. Not only can this lead to at least one partner being miserable because they spend their free time doing something that they do not like, but you two also are not going to have a lot to talk about with each other. 

18. Share the good news with each other first

share the good news with each other first

When there is a gap in communication, it can lead to us talking to our best friends or our family more. While it’s nice when we don’t go a single day without talking to our family, this can leave our partner feeling left out. Over time, it will become a big deal. 

Throughout the first year of your marriage, it’s important to remember that your spouse is your family and the main priority now that you’re married. Your family and friends are still important, but you should share the good news with your partner first. 

19. Don’t stop dating each other

One of the reasons why the first year of marriage is so tough is because two people stop dating each other. In the beginning stages of dating the two of you were planning exciting dates for each other. You both insisted on looking amazing before leaving the house. 

Now that you’re married, that may have stopped. A common complaint among partners is when their partner lets themselves go. Another one is not spending enough quality time together as the relationship progresses. 

Don’t let that make the first year of marriage harder than it already is. Instead, keep dating each other. Plan special date nights for one another. Dress to impress like you used to. Married life doesn’t mean that you’re stuck arguing about which dishes to buy for the next fifty years. 

20. Work on healthy conflict resolution

While having healthy communication is essential, you both need to be able to resolve conflicts when they arise. This is how you guarantee that you have a peaceful family. When you are faced with marriage problems, you two will need to know how to work through them. If you are not the best at resolving conflict, consider speaking with a mediator or discussing ways to work through them together. 

21. Try to be calm through the storm

This could involve one person sucking things up a bit. It might involve the other one doing the same thing. One person in each conflict, at least, needs to be calm in the storm. If you are both the storm, it can quickly turn your beautiful married life into a destructive hurricane. 

22. Get to know your inner self

You also both need to know yourself. It’s important to understand how you deal with conflict. Do you shut down? Do you lash out in anger and instantly feel defensive? 

Many of us have deeply rooted feelings from our childhood that can lead to unhealthy conflict resolution patterns as an adult. This is not always seen in engaged couples because they are still excited about married life and dating. 

Once you move in together, you’ll start to see those unhealthy patterns come to the surface. Look at yourself, and work on areas that need work. 

23. Give them the benefit of the doubt throughout the marriage

Give your partner the benefit of the doubt instead of jumping to conclusions. This doesn’t just apply to those living the married life. It should apply to any couple. We often have a trial for someone before we’ve even heard their side of the story. Instead, trust your partner instead of judging them. 

24. Look at the bigger picture

look at the bigger picture

Five years from now, will it matter that someone doesn’t hang their towel up to dry? Maybe not. Throughout the first year, you’re going to discover quite a bit about each other. Instead of looking at the small picture of the day, consider whether it will impact your marriage in the long run. This is how you look at the bigger picture when it comes to marriage. 

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25. Choose your battles

If you fight over everything during the transition period, you can quickly learn that married life can be torture. It will feel as though it’s a new argument every day. Before long, there will be nothing positive about married life to look back on. That’s why you need to choose your battles. 

I have a daughter that was previously traumatized. Her psychologist stated that positive and negative consequences work well for most children, but to not give her negative consequences for small things. Violence and behavioral issues call for a brief talk and then a time-out. When I asked him why, he stated that when all we do is deal with the bad, everything becomes negative. If there is too much conflict, there won’t be enough good moments. 

This same thing applies to living together. Through marriage, your partner is bound to do things that you hate. Maybe their family drives you crazy. Perhaps you think it’s unfair that they didn’t tell you they picked their nose until after marriage. Or it’s annoying how he can’t go a single day without talking to his mother, but can without talking to you. 

Pick your battles wisely to prevent your marriage from feeling like a battleground. 

26. Support each other through tough times

Hard times, such as financial struggles, are often the leading cause of divorce. During these times, your partner needs your support more than anything. Be their shoulder to cry on. Work as a team. The last thing that either of you needs is to be against each other. 

To provide each other with plenty of support throughout your marriage, you need to truly listen to each other. Practice active listening skills. Focus on your marriage. Make your spouse a priority. Deal with your own personal stress so that you don’t take it out on each other. These tips can help your marriage survive the toughest of times. 

27. Focus on one issue at a time

It can be tempting to bring up all of the issues that you have on your mind during a conflict. This creates a snowball effect of anger and hurt. That is not something that you want in your marriage. You especially don’t want this during the first year. Instead, discuss one issue at a time. This can help you both work on conflict resolution skills, healthy communication, and getting along better together. Those are all things that you need to have a healthy foundation for your marriage. 

FAQs

Is the first year of marriage the hardest?

The first year is usually the hardest. Marriage brings together two people and two families. You’ll learn a lot about each other through the first year, and you won’t like all of it. This can make or break your marriage. Communicate throughout the first year to strengthen your bond. 

How many marriages fail in the first year?

Ten percent of the time, a marriage that is going to fail will do so in the first year. The younger a couple is, the more likely their marriage is to fail within the first two years. Work on communication and have realistic expectations to avoid common reasons for divorce. 

Is it normal to fight in the first year of marriage?

Yes. The first year of marriage is often the hardest for couples that did not previously live together. Through marriage, they have to learn how to get along with each other. There is a lot of compromises, communication, and conflict resolution involved in marriage, especially during this year. 

What is the hardest part in a marriage?

The hardest part of marriage is learning to live together. This is why couples often divorce in the first two years of marriage. The second is keeping things interesting for each other. This is why the most common years for divorce are the 7th and 8th years of marriage. 

Is it better to get a divorce or stay married?

That depends on the current state of your marriage. If the marriage is dead, and you’re both done trying, you need to consider why you’re still in the marriage. However, if the marriage is worth saving, and you’re both willing to try, you should. 

In Conclusion

The first year of marriage can be a struggle, but most couples will make it through this year. Are you married? What advice would you give newlyweds?

How to Finally Fix Your Relationship

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Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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