People always talk about the “honeymoon phase” of anything as though it were a time of trouble-free bliss. The first year or two of marriage can be wonderfully exciting, but it’s also filled with learning new things, unlearning unwanted things, passionate arguments and a host of other exciting events.
This isn’t meant to scare any young couples away from the altar.
Make no mistake, we love married life and we loved our newlywed years. However, newlyweds need to go into their first couple of years with those starry eyes wide open.
PsychCentral posted an excellent article on this topic the other day. It’s called “Relationship Tips for Those First Few Rocky Years of Marriage” and it features psychologists Lisa Blum and Jeffrey Sumber, both of whom specialize in marital counseling and therapy. They have some really interesting things to say in the article and you’d do yourself a favor reading it for yourself or passing it on to a newlywed or soon-to-be wed couple. No matter how long a couple has been dating or engaged, there are still going to be surprises and adjustments once the vows are said. As Sumber points out:
These days, many couples wait a substantial amount of time before they actually get married, so the typical triggers of the redefinition of the relationship are simply there in the shadows, waiting to spring.”
Do read the article, but here are what we think are the top 5 tips you’ll find there:
- Avoid the assumption that there’s one right way to do things. As you become a unit, you’ll both be bringing your own upbringing, traditions and habits into the mix. Learn to discuss and compromise when needed and you’ll create your own new traditions and ways of doing things.
- Have fun. You understood while you were dating that fun was part for the plan. The fact that you’ve made the serious commitment of marriage doesn’t mean that your relationship needs to get too serious. Laughter is one of the greatest tools you can use to build a healthy, lasting marriage.
- Write down your agreements. This can be really helpful as you’re learning new traditions and melding your values. Don’t make contracts out these notes, just write down the problem or questions and be specific about the solution and why you chose it. This can really help both you to avoid arguments down the line.
- Be grateful. Your partner chose you voluntarily. Savor and appreciate that fact.
- Be flexible. One of the greatest maxims we’ve ever heard is this: “Do you want to be right or do you want to be married?” Learn to let the little stuff go, agree to disagree on things that don’t really matter. Forget about the last word. The person who gets to say the last word is usually in a room by themselves.
There’s a great article on the CBS News website that was taken from an appearance on “The Early Show” by Alexandra Hambright Solomon, author of “Marriage 101.” It was a great appearance and it’s a great article that we have printed and handed out to plenty of young couple. Check it out for yourself to get some really straightforward advice about getting through your first few years with your love and happiness intact.