It’s a known fact that the first five years of marriage are not easy. The first year is even more difficult. It takes time to get to know someone, no matter how much you think you knew them prior to marriage.
In the first year of marriage, you’re finding your groove together as a couple. Maybe he snores. Maybe you like to go to sleep early. Maybe he goes to sleep late. Maybe you’re stubborn and he’s easy-going. No matter how similar we think we are to our spouses, there are always differences, because of the environments we grew up in and our upbringing. So there’s bound to be arguments and disagreements.
Having disagreements and arguments isn’t wrong. It’s normal. But it’s moving beyond them which can be tricky, especially once the honeymoon phase is over and real life sets in.
Here’s 10 tips on how to survive the first year of marriage.
1. know that it won’t be easy
Hollywood and social media love to paint a picture of marriage bliss. Every fairytale ends with “and they lived happily ever after.” But marriage isn’t a happily ever after, it’s simply another, different chapter in your life. It’s important to go in with realistic expectations.
Knowing that it won’t be easy will help prepare you for the challenges that are bound to come your way.
2. be forgiving
Forgive and forget. Easy to say, but hard to do. Especially when you’re living with someone, and deal with them everyday. But don’t hold a grudge; it’ll make spending the rest of your life with your spouse difficult.
Remember that your spouse is human too; they make mistakes, just like you. So forgive them their mistakes and move on.
3. be patient
Patience is a virtue, and it’s one that’s required in marriage. It takes time to understand another person, even if you see them every single day. Sure, you’ll be comfortable very quickly with the other person, but it’ll still take time to know and understand the other person.
No person is perfect, and no marriage is perfect. You need to be patient with your spouse, with their short-comings and their lifestyle. Just like it’s hard for you to change the way you’ve done things your whole life, it’s hard for them too. So be patient with them.
4. talk about it
Communication is key in marriage, but it can often be forgotten in a world of constant distractions. It’s important for couples to have one-on-one time together in which they can share their thoughts and ideas.
Talk about anything and everything with your spouse; they’re your life-partner! Share the little parts of your day and all the big stuff too, like your dreams and hopes for the future. That’s how you’ll lay the foundation for your relationship.
5. appreciate them
We often take our spouses for granted, especially as we caught up in the grind of life. In the beginning, we love to gush over the romantic gestures, like unexpected flowers or cute date nights, and then when those things lessen, it becomes hard to see the good things our husband or wife does for us.
So tell them how much you appreciate everything they do for you. It doesn’t have to be a big list of everything; get in the habit of doing it often. Say thank you when they make you coffee in the morning or fill up your car with gas. They’re little things, but they’re often overlooked. So take the time to appreciate them, and your spouse.
6. don’t sweat the small stuff
Life is made of small stuff, but don’t let it come between you and your spouse. There are bound to be little things that bug you about the other person, but learn to let it go. There’s bound to be little arguments and disagreements and it’s important not to let them build up and escalate.
Maybe he leaves his shaving stuff all over the bathroom. Maybe she likes to take her time getting ready. Think about the big picture: is fighting about this stuff really worth it? Probably not.
Learn not to let the little stuff bug you, and just learn to live with it. You’ll be so much happier that way.
7. give, give, and give some more
If no one’s told you yet, it’s time to hear it: marriage is about giving your all. So many people get caught up in the tug-and-pull of a relationship and get caught counting all the things they do compared to their partner. Don’t do that. It isn’t a contest. Do things for your spouse because you love them, not because you expect them to do something for you.
Lots of people think it’s 50-50, but that’s not how marriage works: it’s all or nothing. Sometimes it seems like one person gives more, but it could be that the other’s style of giving is different. It’s all part of the relationship.
Even when you think you’ve given your all, give some more. Because that’s the only way a marriage is successful, if you give it your all.
8. laugh about it
Your relationship is a serious thing, but that doesn’t mean you have to be! Couples who can laugh at each other, and themselves, are able to build a strong relationship with one another. Showing the other person you love them doesn’t always have to be about flowers and chocolates. Teasing the other person is another way to show them you care.
9. pray together
The couple that prays together, stays together. Make one of your goals God, and work on getting close to Him together. Not only will it strengthen your faith, but it will also make you closer to one another.
Whether it’s praying together in a congregation of you two, watching a lecture together, doing dhikr, or attending a conference, there’s so many things you can do to strengthen your iman. Praying and remembering God together will help build a strong foundation to your marriage.
Last, but certainly not least, compromise is an essential component to building a strong marriage. Being in a partnership means that you’re not the only one making decisions anymore. You both make decisions, and there’s bound to be disagreements. Neither of you can get your way every single time, so it’s important to remember to compromise in situations both big and small. Sometimes you have to give in to make the other person happy, and vice versa.
The first year of marriage can be especially tough, as you have to learn how to live with another person who’s completely different from you. But if you want to make it work, you need to lay the foundations early on. That’s not to say that things won’t change in the future; they definitely will. But build habits now that will make your journey with your new husband or wife a beautiful one.
Hope this helps!