Getting married is an amazing and wonderful thing. It marks a turning point in your relationship and comes with a sense of optimism about the future. However, your first year of marriage is also hard work. You have to develop new patterns as a couple, learn how to manage your life as a unit instead of as individuals, and overcome challenges you might not expect.
Figuring out how to thrive during your first year as a married couple is daunting. This is especially true since most of the advice you receive during this early stage is fairly cliché (and not all of it is actually that wise). But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to flourish as you launch your life together. Here are five tips that can help newlyweds start their marriage off right.
1. Thank Each Other
An attitude of gratitude can go a long way during your first year of marriage. It ensures that neither of you takes the other for granted. Additionally, it increases the odds that you’ll both notice what you give to each other and the relationship.
When your spouse does something for you, thank them. Even if it’s as small as grabbing you a drink from the fridge when they were already in the kitchen, showing your gratitude brings a positive tone to the relationship. That alone makes it worthwhile as it ensures that your marriage is built on mutual appreciation.
2. Don’t Neglect Yourself
When you first get married, it’s normal to focus heavily on your spouse’s needs. You want to nurture them and the relationship, so you put a lot of energy into going the extra mile for them.
The trouble is, if you aren’t nurturing yourself as well, you aren’t giving yourself a chance to rejuvenate and reset. Self-care is important. Make sure you take time to handle your own needs as well and let your spouse do the same. In the end, your relationship will be better off for it.
3. Do New Things Together
After your wedding, you might experience a bit of an emotional dip. After all, planning for the event and the idea of getting married are really exciting, so you’ve probably spent months (or longer) living on a bit of a high. Then, once you start to settle into your life together, it might seem like your lives have gotten a bit dull in comparison.
Luckily, it is possible to reignite that spark almost whenever you wish. You can inject a sense of excitement into your marriage. If you want to keep your connection strong and energy level up, have “adventures” together.
Trying something new as a couple can strengthen your relationship, allowing you to forge a stronger bond. You could explore a new city over a long weekend, try a type of cuisine you’ve both never had, take a class together, or anything else. As long as it is something neither of you has experienced, even if it’s small, it can work wonders.
4. Balance Doesn’t Require a 50/50 Split
Many newlywed couples assume that, if they are going to be equals in the relationship, everything has to be split down the middle. They might believe that if they don’t each take on half of the cooking, cleaning, and similar responsibilities, the relationship is unbalanced. However, that isn’t the case.
Equality in a relationship doesn’t mean splitting everything down the middle. That’s an incredibly rigid notion, and it rarely works over the long-term. Instead, it’s about each spouse supporting the other while being adaptable.
For example, there may be times when one of you is overwhelmed at work while the other isn’t. When that happens, it’s better to adjust your home responsibilities accordingly, allowing the overworked spouse a bit of breathing room thanks to the support of the other. Then, when that work situation calms, things can be readjusted as necessary.
The idea is to understand that the demands on your time and energy will ebb and flow. In order to maintain balance, you’ll both need to be able to roll with waves and adapt to the changing tides. That way, you can adjust whenever circumstances make that a necessity, ensuring everyone feels that they are doing their fair share while offering support when it is needed most.
5. Be Kind to Yourselves
Most couples build up the idea of their marriage in their minds. The trouble is, when you envision this perfect life together and then the unexpected happens (and it will), it’s harder to stomach. A misstep might lead you to think that you’re failing, and that mindset can be detrimental to your marriage.
First and foremost, understand that it’s okay that not every day in your marriage will be perfect. Don’t beat yourself up about it, and don’t be afraid to talk about it with your spouse, either. During the first year of marriage, you are figuring a lot of things out. Along the way, you’ll both make mistakes, and that’s alright.
Learning how to be married is a process. Don’t obsess over whether you both are doing everything “right.” Instead, work together to discover what works best for you as a couple. Talk about the challenges to find solutions and listen to one another as you work to build the marriage you both want and deserve.