Tips on How to Making a New Marriage Work
A new marriage can be one of the toughest — and obviously most rewarding — relationships you’ll ever experience. There’s the excitement of your future life together, combined with your deep love for each other, and all of the joys that come with sharing experiences with your partner.
Despite all of the good things, there’s bad as well. Even if you lived together before marriage, once you both have rings on your finger, things can change. Here’s how to make sure they change for the good, and you don’t end up a divorce statistic.
Dynamics can change
Relationship expert Stef Safran, founder of Stef and the City dating service in Chicago, said that since marriage is such a huge step, the dynamics can change once you tie the knot.
“Sometimes it can be hard to make a marriage work, especially for newlyweds. Here are some tips to help,” she said.
Agree to disagree — Fights happen in every relationship, but how you deal with them is very important. A big key word here is compromise. You may not agree fully with one another, but you can meet in the middle so both people get what they need or want, at least in part.
Be honest financially — Don’t hide purchases or savings accounts from your spouse. Work together to know where your money is going. Set up a “fun fund” if one of you is a spender. This fund has a set amount available to spend on whatever, all you have to agree on is the limit.
Be on the same page about kids — Do you want kids now? Do you want to wait? Do you never want kids? Whatever the answer may be, you have to make sure you’re there together. If one person wants children now, and the other person never does, that’s a big sacrifice on someone’s part.
Realize everybody needs alone time — So, maybe this isn’t always “alone” time, but time spent with other people besides their spouse. That is okay. Everyone needs moments to themselves, and time to just relax with friends.
Discuss family — Talk about holiday schedules together, because if you are both family oriented this may cause conflict. Talk about boundaries when it comes to in-laws. The more you know about each other’s family, the more you can be on the same page and avoid arguments.
Tips for keeping love strong
Toni Coleman, a psychotherapist and relationship coach, said she works with many couples who are seeking premarital counseling or struggling with new marriage adjustments. She shares her best tips:
- Check in with each other daily to talk about how your day is going, to make plans for dinner, the evening, or the weekend, and just because. The key here is to keep your communication strong and let your partner know you are thinking about them and care about what they feel, want and need.
- Candidly discuss how chores and household tasks will be handled. It’s important to recognize that though no relationship is ever 50–50, it won’t work if one person is doing all or most of the heavy lifting and silently stewing about it. Discussing what chores you hate, what you are okay taking on, your individual expectations for how often or how well they will get done are important. It doesn’t mean that you will end up in complete agreement, just that both of you will know where the other is coming from and will have a mutually agreed upon plan. As simple as it may sound, if she hates emptying the dishwasher, but doesn’t mind loading the dirty dishes, and he doesn’t mind the tedious task of unloading the dishwasher, but hates touching dirty dishes, then splitting this task in two, with each doing their part, can go a long way toward marital harmony when it comes to housekeeping.
- Establish a basic budget and family financial plan. This can be simple in the beginning and should include income, expenses, disposable income, savings plan, who will handle or pay what bills — and some discussion of any long-term goals such as saving for a home. Many marital conflicts are caused by issues related to finances and how finances are handled. By discussing money upfront, having a basic budget and agreed upon understanding of how you as a couple will handle joint finances — will help you not get caught up in those two relationship damaging traps — expectations and assumptions.
- Practice little acts of daily kindness, praise, or gratitude. Take a moment and say, “Thank you,” or, “That meant so much to me,” or, “I am so lucky to have you in my life.”