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The First Year: 8 Problems Newlyweds Face, And What To Do About Them

Common marriage problems in the first year of marriage

Congratulations!  The wedding’s over. The gifts are unwrapped, the thank you cards sent.  You’re back from your honeymoon.  Now you’re facing a lifetime with the person next to you on the sofa.  Even if you’ve lived together before your wedding, your experience as newlyweds is bound to bring up issues that will shape your life as marrieds.  As you adjust to your new roles, here are some common issues to work through.

Finances

Really, this needs to be an ongoing conversation, but at the most basic level, have you decided on a budget?  No matter what your income level, you will have to live within your means. There’s no right or wrong way to set up your economic life, but the two of you do need to figure it out.  Do you feel that the topic is somehow unromantic? It needn’t be. How each of you feels about the subject – based on your family background, your fears, desires, goals, etc. – is a great way to deepen your understanding of one another.  

In-laws

Ideally, you’ll have a loving and supportive relationship with your new family.  Yet even the best of these comes with new territory to navigate.  How much access will they have into your lives? How much time will you spend with them?  What will feel fair to your own family?  The way in which you fit into each other’s family, what new expectations arise, and even something as simple as what you’ll call your mother-in-law, will be a test of your ability to compromise. Try not to make it a question of loyalty.

Intimacy

Desire ebbs and flows, and couples are not always in sync. Are you comfortable talking about what you need?  How is sex different for you than affection? Which is more important at any given time?  It may seem lacking in spontaneity, but setting time aside for sex may be essential, especially once there are children in the picture.

Conflict resolution

Every couple has its own style of arguing. Some yell and bicker, some avoid confrontation altogether, some pursue and withdraw. Whatever your style is, there needs to be an agreement as to how you’re going to come back to one another.  The fact is that inevitably, some fights will be unresolvable, and you’ll be well served by deciding now how you’re able to make peace with that.

Division of labor

Who does what? What is fair? Discuss this openly now, before resentments have a chance to build.

Alone time

It’s probable that one of you is going to value his or her “space” more than the other.  Taken to extremes, one of you will feel abandoned while the other feels suffocated.  Is that how you want your spouse to feel?  Try to remain sensitive, and adjust as needed.

Technology

Phones, tablets, and computers can easily interfere with closeness.  Have a conversation (face to face!) about what each of you feels are the right limits to set.  

Health and fitness

Now is not the time for complacency.  Tempting though it is to let down your guard appearance-wise, you risk sending an I-don’t-care message if you do.  Looks aren’t everything, of course – but attention to health and grooming shows that you’re not taking your partner for granted.

  VERIFIED EXPERT
Marcie Scranton is an LMFT who specializes in relationship conflicts, major life transitions, depression, anxiety, and issues arising from recovery. In addition, she is trained in Trauma-Focused CBT, Systematic Training for Effective Parenting, and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Her approach is results-oriented and incorporates modalities based on Attachment, Existentialist Theory, Object Relations, and Family Systems.

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