You have heard it said that the first year of marriage is the hardest. From watching loved ones to exposure in the media, you have seen the challenge of a new marriage firsthand. But somewhere deep down, when it’s your turn you think it will be different. You will be the couple that defies the odds.
However, the first year of marriage is a transition period. Marriage is a unique relationship that must evolve to form its own distinct identity. Like the development of a personality, your marriage will have intense moments and growing pains. Certain situations are inevitable when bringing two lives together. Some of them may surprise you.
Here are unexpected experiences that you are sure to encounter in your first year of marriage:
1. You will feel like nothing has changed. Once the honeymoon is over, you will settle back into a routine. Grocery store runs, gym workouts, and movie nights will become the norm. You soon realize that the beauty of marriage is in enjoying each other in the simple moments. Laughing at each other’s corny jokes and eating dinner cross-legged on the living room floor just like before. During these times you will wonder what all the fuss over marriage was about!
2. You will fear vulnerability. Sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings with someone can be uncomfortable, even with your spouse. It is common to shield your partner from your insecurities and anxieties while dating to avoid feeling exposed. However, the first year of marriage involves having faith that your spouse can be trusted with that information. Only after you open up with your partner will you develop this trust, making it easier to be vulnerable moving forward.
3. You will resent giving 100%. Marriage is only successful when both partners contribute maximum effort. This means giving 100% of your energy even when it does not appear that your partner is doing the same. Fight the urge to keep score and instead opt to have a conversation with your mate. Communication of your emotions often leads to further understanding of your partner. Do not let resentment linger as it will eventually poison the relationship.
4. You will want to be alone. Living with your best friend is awesome. It is like a slumber party every night. But, there will be times that you want to be away from your spouse. You will just want to be on your own to pamper yourself and do things you enjoy. Do not feel bad about this. It is healthy to carve out time to take care of you in order to function at your best within the relationship.
5. You will be tempted to seek comfort from loved ones. As discussed, marriage can be tough. When you experience behaviors not previously witnessed feel that you don’t know , your instinct will be to turn to other persons close to you for reassurance and support. However, this behavior undermines the sacredness of your union. Involving others in your marital affairs can lead to gossip, hurt feelings, and an abuse of trust. Maintain the privacy of your relationship and work through your problems as a team.
6. You will worry about your sex life. When dating, you could not keep your hands off of each other. Now if you have a quickie before bed you count that as a win. Physical intimacy is important, but does not mean having sex like rabbits. There is no right amount of sex, so instead focus on the quality of the physical connection. This includes other forms of touch such as kissing, massages and playful wrestling. It is important that both partners feel their needs are being addressed, so have regular conversations surrounding satisfaction of sexual desires.
7. You will contemplate running away. When things get rough, you will have thoughts about running away from the marriage. Early on, leaving seems like a simple solution to conflict or challenges. However, realizing that leaving now means “the D word” will motivate you to hang in there and problem solve. Over time you learn to tolerate negative emotions that arise without fanaticizing of an easy way out. As your conflict resolution skills improve, these thoughts will occur less frequently.
8. You will triumph if you don’t give up. The only way to succeed in marriage is to not give up. Yes it is hard. No it is not always fun. But by refusing to quit you will receive the ultimate reward…a partner for life!