Getting married is a tricky subject when it comes to getting advice, and believe me, people are not shy about giving marriage advice when you newly engaged. This first year of marriage, unsolicited advice either goes one of two ways:
“Your first year as newlyweds is going to be the BEST year ever!”
“The first year of marriage is going to be the hardest of your life. Watch out.”
Why such polar opinions? It all comes down to perception. Sure, marriage is a big change, but is tying the knot really that different from being someone’s boy/girlfriend?
Truths about your first year of marriage
Marrying your best friend is one of the most fulfilling things you can do. Marriage is full of happiness, adventure, fun, and steamy sex. So, why does everyone seem to have such horror stories about their first year of marriage? We’re looking at six truths about marriage you need to know about before you put a ring on it.
#1 Marriage doesn’t change your relationship. One of the reasons many relationships snowball down the bunny hill after marriage is down to one word—change. Or should I say, the lack thereof?
After getting married, some men think women become clean, caring, and domestic. Conversely, some women feel like men will become romantic, protective, and emotionally available. Even if none of these personality traits existed in the relationship prior to tying the knot.
Let’s get one thing perfectly clear: getting married doesn’t change your partner. Any problems you had pre-marriage still exist after you get the marriage license. Even if your partner does mature and grow these qualities over time, it certainly isn’t going to happen on the honeymoon. So when you decide to settle down with someone, you best be damn sure you like them exactly as they are. [Read: 10 ridiculous myths people believe about marriage]
#2 Marriage doesn’t mean the end of your sex life. Always remember these words: your sex life can only be what *you* make of it. In my experience, marriage has been the opposite of sexless. Way, way opposite.
My first year of marriage we never left the bedroom, and I can happily say that after years of marriage, the same is still true. Sex every day is an absolute must, not only because orgasms are fantastic, but because it bonds us as a unit. *Um, and did I mention the orgasms?*
Differing factors affect your desire to get down and do the dirty with your mate after marriage. Pregnancy, children, financial stresses, living situations, and weight gain are all common reasons, but if something is a priority you’ll make time for it. [Read: 10 ways to make married sex feel like a one night stand]
Your first year of marriage should be full of wild sex. If that stops, it’s because you stopped making time to bond between the sheets a priority, not because you got married.
#3 Money troubles are a thing. Money troubles are definitely not a rumor in the ‘first year of marriage’ circles. If you haven’t lived together prior to getting married, merging your finances can be a bit awkward. The key? Be completely open with one another about your financial situation before you march down the aisle.
Be clear about exactly how much each of you makes, as well as what your bills are going to cost. Decide beforehand whether you will share a bank account or if each will take care of their own share of bills. Talking about money is icky, especially if you don’t make as much as your mate, but it doesn’t have to be awkward! Just be open and honest, always. [Read: How to manage money in a marriage]
#4 Learn how to fight fair. As a married couple, you can’t storm out of the house after an argument and stomp your way home. You are home! That’s the thing about taking someone as your lawfully wedded partner—you live with them. Forever. Therefore, learning how to fight fair is going to save you a lot of grief in your marriage. [Read: 8 things to tell yourself when fighting with your lover]
Here’s some solid advice about clipping your claws in the first year of marriage:
a. Argue with the intention of solving your issues
b. Never go to bed angry
c. Come to understand that most fights aren’t worth having
d. Never use the silent treatment
A relationship that doesn’t have disagreements is not a real relationship. This is a statement a girlfriend said to me back in high school, and I couldn’t agree more. Every couple argues, and for married couples airing out your issues can be therapeutic. You just need to make sure your conversation is a disagreement, not a fight.
The difference? Disagreements involve calm explanations of the problem at hand and sharing your feelings on the matter in a mutually respectful manner. An argument is just a 50/50 mix of yelling and being mean. [Read: All is fair in love and war: But why start a war in love?]
#5 Can you still have alone time when you live with someone? One of the weirdest parts of being married is realizing you never have downtime from one another. Before marriage, you had hot sexual tension, long date nights, and endless hours of talking or texting on the phone. Then you headed home and played video games or waxed the hair on your lip that he ‘so doesn’t know about’ and do all that nerdy single stuff you’d never want your mate to see.
Now you live with them. How do you split up your time? Make this conversation a priority. As important as it is to have regular date nights and sexy-time together, it’s equally as important that you still feel like you can have time to yourself while under the same roof. Make it super easy by scheduling your faux single-self activities on the same night. [Read: 8 ways to get your “me time” in amidst a busy schedule]
For example, he plays video games with the boys online in the bedroom while you have your girlfriends over for a movie night in the living room. Or, he has the boys over to watch the big game and you spend your night with a face mask on, plucking your brows, and scrolling through Pinterest until your finger goes numb.
Whatever suits your fancy, just make sure you have enough time to yourself so you still miss your mate and appreciate the time you spend together. [Read: How to give space in a relationship and not drift apart]
#6 Living together and life goals. There are a thousand things you’re going to love about marrying your dream partner and living together. Sex whenever you want, snuggling in bed on a lazy Sunday morning, constant comfort and compliments, spending your mornings together, spider killer on hand, not to mention getting to hang out with your best friend every single day. Awesome, right?! [Read: 8 practical things to do before moving in together]
However, the smallest things seem to outshine all these great aspects of your first year of marriage. This is especially true if you haven’t lived with your mate until after your nuptials. Things like, she doesn’t bring her dishes into the kitchen, he leaves his dirty socks on the floor next to the hamper, she wipes her makeup on everything, he’s cranky when he gets home from work, are going to drive you crazy. I mean, absolutely crazy. [Read: 6 common problems faced by couples who live together]
Remedy these co-habitating blues and other issues involved in the first year of marriage by talking about the following before you move in together:
a. Who will handle what chores?
b. Buy or rent?
c. Who’s going to pay for what?
d. Do we want children?
e. How much sex per week is going to make both of us happy and satisfied?
f. Will we have pets?
g. How will we handle our alone time?
Hammering out these life goals before you enter into your first year of marriage is a smart thing to do and help you avoid marriage bumps along the way.
[Read: 20 reasons to get married and live happily ever after]
Being married is pretty amazing once you know what you’re doing. We know if you follow our six newlywed realities, you’ll be on your way to the best first year of marriage ever.
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Waverly Smith is a freelance writer who has been getting paid for spreading her sarcastic take on love, life, and sex since 2010. She is many things that peo...
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