The first few months of marriage are great. You’re still in the honeymoon phase and gloriously in love. Soon, you will settle into your everyday lives and routines, which can be when things get tricky. I mean adjusting to each other and learning what it’s like to live with someone. You learn each other’s quirks, habits, and idiosyncrasies, and if you have been an only child your whole life, this can be tough. The first year of marriage can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be a war zone. Here are some tips for your first year of marriage.
Congratulations! You just got married. The past few months have been a whirlwind of planning, decisions, and the amazing big day. The first few months of marriage are great. You’re still in the honeymoon phase and gloriously in love. Soon, you will settle into your everyday lives and routines, which can be when things get tricky.
By tricky, I mean adjusting to each other and learning what it’s like to live with someone. You learn each other’s quirks, habits, and idiosyncrasies, and if you have been an only child your whole life, this can be tough. The first year of marriage can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be a war zone. Here are some tips for your first year of marriage.
1. Enjoy the Honeymoon Phase
The first few months of your marriage, you are in the honeymoon phase. This is the phase where you are still high off the emotions from your wedding, and everything is great.
You greet each other at the door at night, stay up late talking, and think each other hung the moon. This is a very special time in a marriage, and chances are you may get teased (in love and friendship, of course) by friends and family because of how in love you are. Does this mean your marriage is going downhill once you’re out of this phase? Of course not. This is just a very special time that needs to be enjoyed and savored.
2. Try Not to Argue
You will probably argue a bit in your first year of marriage. Does this mean you are incompatible? No, not at all. It’s all part of adjusting to another person and how they do things. It’s part of learning about each other and learning to compromise.
3. If You Argue, Apologize
If you argue, always apologize. It’s not healthy to hold grudges or get mad at each other. Instead, talk it out, apologize to each other, and move on.
4. Give Each Other Grace
Everyone makes mistakes or does something wrong now and then. Instead of being mad or frustrated, give each other grace. What does this mean? It means recognizing that we are all in progress and that life is a process. We also need to recognize that we need God’s help to grow and change. He gives us grace every day; therefore, we need to give grace to our spouses.
5. Help Each Other Out
Living together is a change, so help each other out. If you work opposite shifts, one person can prep for dinner, and the other can cook it. Before 6 pm on Sunday evening, fill up both you and your wife's cars with gas so that you are both ready for the next day. If one of you gets home earlier than the other, throw in a load or two of laundry mid-week so it’s not a chore over the weekend. Things like that.
6. Compliment Each Other
Compliments go a long way, and I’m not just talking about how someone looks. Think about it; everyone has their own way of doing things, and you have to adjust to how your spouse does things.
If your spouse folds a load of towels and puts them away in the linen closet, compliment them about how good it looks. Compliment your spouse about how good it looks, even if they put the towels in the wrong place. If your wife irons your shirts, even if they aren’t quite the same way you would do it, compliment her on her effort.
7. Don’t Talk to Your Friends or Family about Your Problems
Try not to talk to your friends and family about your problems. This can lead to issues with people butting their heads in where it doesn’t belong and can lead to family tension. Work them out with your spouse the best you can.
I think the only exception to this is if something serious is going on, like abuse. Then, you should reach out to friends and family to get help.
8. Never Talk about Your Sex Life to Other People
This should go without saying, but I have known people who have done this. Your intimate life with your spouse is between you and you alone. Sharing your intimate life with others is inappropriate because it is very personal. When you share it, you show deep disrespect for your spouse.
9. Spend Time Together
Life is busy, so take some time out each day and spend time together. This could be coffee, bible study, and prayer in the morning. This could be watching a favorite show in the evening. It could be walking the dog together and discussing your day. Spending appointed time together will only strengthen your bond with each other.
10. Surprise Each Other
Surprising each other is fun and doesn’t have to be anything huge. If you stop at the gas station, pick up a bottle of your spouse’s favorite soda. Do some research and surprise them with an event they would like. This could be a local concert or a local art show. Buy them that new book or video game they have been wanting just because.
Surprising your spouse with something small after an especially long day is great.
11. Go Out with Friends
When you’re newly married, it’s easy to only want to spend time with each other. However, it’s important to keep your social bonds strengthened, too. Make plans to go out on a double date with another couple, or each of you spend some time with your own friends for an afternoon.
12. Speak Your Mind
When you are first married and in the honeymoon phase, you don’t want to say anything to upset your spouse. However, it’s important to speak your mind. You don’t have to be mean or rude, but if something bothers you, it’s best to say so. If you don’t, it will build and build until one day you explode, and your poor spouse does not know where it’s coming from.
This way, you and your spouse can discuss it and find a solution to the problem.
13. Learn to Compromise
Compromise is something that has to be learned in a new marriage. Keep in mind that you are still getting used to living together and what that entails. Marriage cannot be about what one specific person wants. It takes give and take and compromise.
For example, you want to clean the apartment on Saturday, but he wants to play a few basketball games with friends. The apartment needs cleaning, but he also deserves to have time with his friends after a long week at work. Instead of arguing about it, choose a specific time frame to clean the apartment together so that he can still go hang out with friends. You could clean the apartment from 8 to 11:00 am, and then he would still have time to clean up and meet the guys at noon.
14. Keep Communication Open
Always keep your communication open. Set aside time in your day to talk to each other besides over dinner. Text each other during the day. Leave each other notes and reminders. Add important dates and events to each other’s computer and phone calendars. This way, communication flows freely, and everyone is on the same page.
15. Pray for Each Other
Take personal time each day and pray for each other. This can be difficult because life can get so hectic. Pray for your spouse in the shower, while making the kids lunches (if you have kids), walking the dog, getting dressed, before you leave your driveway in the morning, etc. You could also spend a few minutes together before getting out of bed to pray for each other as well.
This is one of the most important things you can do for your spouse. One of my favorite movies is War Room. It is about a wife who learns to pray for her husband and family instead of fighting with them. It is a great example of what praying for your spouse should look like.
16. Spend Time in the Word
Spending time in the Word of God is important to any marriage, but it is especially important in the first year of marriage. Why? The Bible is our compass and gives us direction on how we should live and what we should do.
It gives specific instructions for married couples and celebrates the union of marriage. Both husbands and wives should spend time in their Bible and with the Lord daily. Because of our hectic lifestyles, getting together and reading the Bible during the week may be hard. Instead, spend some time together reading the Bible on the weekend.
17. Attend Church
Attending church is important during the first phase of marriage as well. Regularly attending church provides the opportunity to learn God's Word and to be surrounded by other Christian married couples who can offer words of wisdom if needed.
The first year of marriage is a learning experience. There will be ups, downs, and in-between. You will experience many years of wedded bliss if you keep the Lord and each other as your focus and follow the Bible as your guide.