First Year Of Marriage: Why It Is The Hardest And Tips To Make It Better

Marriage is a life-long commitment. The first year of marriage is crucial to know and acclimatize to one another. All characteristics necessary for a healthy relationship, such as trust, unity, and understanding, are in their infancy while you get to know more about each other.

So, how do you have a successful first year of marriage? In this post, we will prepare you for any difficulties you may encounter and provide some simple recommendations to help you to cherish your marriage and make the celebration unforgettable. First, let’s begin with why the first year can be challenging for you.

In This Article

Why The First Year Of Marriage Is The Hardest

Image: IStock

The first year of marriage is sometimes the hardest because you have to move in with a new person, adjust to their tastes, preferences, habits and their lifestyle.

If you have been in a partnership for a long time and your courtship lasted a number of years, even then marriage is a whole new ballgame of sharing your everything with another person.

There may be some highs and lows, but it all depends on how you want to take your marriage forward. A little bit of patience, devotion, understanding, and lots of love for each other can make the beginning of your journey joyous.

Problems You May Encounter in the First Year of Marriage

Do not worry that the first year is ridden with problems. Your sweet moments of honeymoon will definitely outweigh the sour ones. However, it is good to prepare yourself for the not-so-good times. Here are the probable difficulties that newlyweds might face in their marriage:

  1. Never-ending conflicts: You are still getting used to each other and conflicts might arise even on trivial issues such as keeping the washroom clean. However, do not prolong the arguments; take a deep breath and be calm because one of you needs to let it go for the conflict to end.

Image: IStock

  1. Lack of romance: Your companion may be too shy to express their love or maybe they are not the romantic type. This could result in some disappointment but you can talk to them about your expectations.
  1. Selfish behavior: You may feel that your partner is being selfish and ignores you. You may communicate your feelings to them.
  1. Debt and financial instability: Any unforeseen financial instability or previous debts of your partner can cause a lot of stress in the marriage.
  1. Addictions of any kind: Addictions pose a danger to the relationship not just in the first year but at any time.
  1. Domestic violence: It is important to report any kind of domestic violence immediately; never suffer in silence because nobody has a right to harm or torture you.
protip_icon Do remember
The person reporting domestic abuse may approach the police, a women’s rights welfare board, or a hospital for help. If you cannot, someone else can report in your place while requesting confidentiality (or conditional disclosure in a court of law) of contact details for personal safety.

Image: IStock

  1. Unrealistic expectations: If you are having unrealistic expectations from your spouse or vice versa, then it will only lead to disappointment.
  1. Not spending enough time with each other: Spending quality time with each other, especially in the first year is very important to know about each other and develop a bonding.
    In the next section, let’s see how you can wade through these potential issues and make your first year happier.

Things To Do In The First Year of Marriage

“A great marriage is not when the perfect couple comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.” Dave Meurer

Here are a few things you can do in the first year:

  1. Talk about finances: Chalk out the expenses and share the financial burden. Even if both or just one of you is working, plan your monthly expenditure rather than spending money arbitrarily and going broke before the month ends.

Blogger Nora Nur shares how she and her husband split the expenses to minimize the financial burden. In a blog post, she says, “My husband makes a lot more money than I do, and so at first, I wasn’t sure how I would contribute financially. Immediately after our wedding, we moved across the country. For a moment, it felt like we were hemorrhaging money. In my new job, I was still only part-time, and checks were small. After about a month of expense after expense, we found ourselves in a tight spot. Luckily, I had saved all of my four weekly paychecks, and they were exactly what we needed to get financially on top of things. From this experience, I learned that my financial contribution should be to focus on savings and debt. Now my husband leads in financing our operating budget, and I lead in financing our debt and savings plans (i).”

If there are any outstanding loans, huge credit card debts, unstable jobs or any probable financial crisis, be transparent about them with your partner.

  1. Plan the pregnancy: Parenthood is magical but it comes with great responsibility and an added financial burden. Therefore, assess the family income, your career plans, and familial support you are likely to get, before planning your pregnancy. Schedule an appointment with the doctor, and learn about the pros and cons before bringing a new life into your world.
protip_icon Research finds
Unplanned pregnancy is a risk factor that contributes to pregnancy and postpartum depression and anxiety. It is also a significant reason for family conflict leading to decreased harmony among the married couple (2).

Image: Shutterstock

  1. Express your expectations: Most marriages hit a low either when the expectations from your spouse are too high or when they are not communicated clearly. Hence, to avoid any conflicts, share your expectations with them and have a clear understanding of theirs.
  1. Understand the importance of small gestures: Simple acts such as showing affection through your body language, being proactive, and helping each other with the household chores go a long way in making your marriage a joyful experience. Ensure to celebrate such moments.
  1. Show respect and be responsible: Respect each other and your extended families. Even if there is a difference of opinion, express it politely and by being respectful. Be responsible for all your actions.
  1. Do not compete for superiority: Marriage is a relationship between two equals. Neither of you should think that you are superior to your partner. Be accommodative and respect your partner’s views.
  1. Strive to become your partner’s strength: The first year of marriage is the transition period for all couples when they undergo infinite changes. Hence, be supportive, calm, and patient with your spouse to maintain the companionship. Husband and wife must become the strength of each other.
  1. Don’t keep a score: Tracking the fights or favors is a very bad idea. It’s not going to help your relationship in any way but will spoil it in the long run.
  1. Nurture the relationship: Spend quality time with each other and pay attention to details. Adore your spouse in tough times and show them that you are there, no matter what life throws at you. It is important to have a connection with each other and your spouse must be your priority.
  1. Communicate: Chat, talk, express. Share your thoughts honestly. We cannot stress enough on the importance of communication. Marriage is a relationship where the partners must be able to talk about anything to everything with each other. There are no barriers or limitations. Talking is the best exercise to improve a marriage.
protip_icon Quick tip
Ensure to sit down for a chat or have at least one meal together during the day. Discuss the day’s events and make plans for the next day.

Image: IStock

  1. Give space: It is important to spend a lot of time together but it is equally important to know when to leave your partner alone or give them the desired space. Your spouse may want to have their lone time to reflect on their thoughts, relax or spend time with their friends. Let them have what they want.

The battle is half won if a couple has vowed to never give up on each other. The journey of togetherness begins on the first day of marriage and will continue till eternity if the couple is keen on sticking around with each other forever.

You may want to listen to podcasts or read a few books to make your relationship better.

Resources To Help With Obstacles in Marriage

If you and your partner are looking for some strategies and tools to seek bliss in marriage, then here they are.

Podcasts:

Some of the best podcasts on marriage, to listen every day are:

  • One extraordinary marriage
  • Couple money podcast
  • Marriage is funny
  • The stupendous marriage show
  • Confessions of a terrible husband
  • The messy family podcast
  • Marriage is funny
  • Undone redone
  • First year marriage show

Books:

For couples who like to read and wish to develop an everlasting bond, here are some books you may read:

  • Sacred marriage
  • His needs, her needs
  • What did you expect?
  • You and me forever
  • The five love languages
  • Love and respect for a lifetime
  • Hidden keys of a loving, lasting marriage
  • Quiet times for couples
  • Boundaries in marriage
  • One bed, one bank account

Professional help:

If you are facing several issues in a marriage and nothing seems to work, then seek professional help from a marriage counselor. Discuss with your spouse and find out what would work the best for you.

The first-year problems in marriage are relatively simpler and easier to work on than piling them all up to a point of no return. Focus on improving the good in the relationship and learn lessons from your bad experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What should I not do in my first year of marriage?

In the first year of marriage, don’t be too rigid about your own choices and interests, don’t fight with your partner without reaching a solution, don’t be self-centered or complain constantly, and don’t try to change your partner.

2. How many couples divorce in the first year of marriage?

Although there are no statistics to tell the number of divorces that happen in the first year of marriage, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Survey of Family Growth reveals that between the years 2011 and 2015, around 22% of marriages broke within the first five years (1).

3. What are some common misconceptions about the first year of marriage?

It is a common misconception that marriage instantly solves problems as soon as they marry someone they love. The first year requires compromise, adjusting, and understanding new family dynamics. Additionally, their spouse will know all their desires and wants, and there will never be a dull moment because they’ll be in their honeymoon phase are two of the most common misconceptions. The first year may be a blend of romance, arguments, and patching up in the process of getting to know each other.

4. How can couples maintain a sense of independence and autonomy while also building a strong partnership during their first year of marriage?

To maintain independence and autonomy during the first year of marriage, they must express their thoughts and feelings to each other. They need to be open to constructive criticism and use it as an opportunity for personal growth. Both partners should spend time doing things they enjoy separately and engage in common fun activities while supporting each other in their goals.

5. How can couples navigate changes in their sex life during the first year of marriage?

Open and honest communication about their needs and desires can be the first step. Although stress, work pressure, and lifestyle changes can affect sexual expectations, one must share intimate moments and strengthen the bond. Trying out new ways to connect sexually with mutual consent, going on date nights, or giving a foot massage can also help build the connection.

The first year of marriage can be quite tricky since you both are venturing into unknown territory. However, if you’re experiencing regular disputes, a lack of romance, or a disrespectful attitude, don’t ignore it. Instead, try to discuss your expectations from the relationship, finances, labor division, and other issues you are struggling with as a couple while remaining respectful to each other. Podcasts, books, and expert counseling can assist you in handling the issues and strengthening your union. However, don’t suffer in silence if you’re being tortured mentally or physically.

Infographic: Things To Talk About In The First Year Of Marriage

The first year of marriage is filled with many wonderful memories but brings new challenges and adjustments too. As you and your spouse gradually learn the nuances of married life this year, our infographic brings you the topics you should discuss in the initial year of marriage.

topics you can discuss in the first year of marriage (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • It is normal to face challenges in the first year of marriage as many changes occur around you and adjusting takes time.
  • Certain issues such as finance, household chores and spending quality time together should be normalized to discuss.
  • If your marriage has been going downhill even after trying, you can always seek professional help and also read self-help books.

Exciting, scary, and full of surprises – the first year of marriage is an adventure! Let’s explore 8 things nobody tells you about it.

Personal Experience: Source

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Key Statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth – D Listing.
    https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nsfg/key_statistics/d.htm#divorce
  2. Ashraf Kazemi et al., (2021); Partner’s emotional reaction to pregnancy mediates the relationship between pregnancy planning and prenatal mental health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7913387/#:~:text=Moreover%2C%20unplanned%20pregnancy%20is%20known,pregnancies%20%5B13%2C%2014%5D
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