Written by Paula Jones Last updated: June 8, 2007
Even smart couples can make these blunders. Learn from their mistakes for a stress‐free and blissful start to your married life…
After the hectic excitement of the wedding and the honeymoon, life returns to the routine of work, housework and bills. The previous life of romance, dates and sense of adventure can quickly turn into a distant memory. Although you may be spending more time in close proximity, it is the amount of time you spend with each other and the quality of that time that will make the difference between humdrum existence and the joy of being together. With the recent wedding expenses you may feel you can’t afford to go out, but it just takes a bit of imagination to think up inexpensive treats – even serving breakfast in bed will do.
Your newly extended family may not realise that a newlywed relationship needs room to grow and may seem unnecessarily intrusive. However, showing resentment of your in‐laws could lead you to regret your behaviour in years to come, especially when your future children need to meet their grandparents, aunts and uncles. This may be hard to keep in mind when they turn up unannounced on a Saturday morning, but having patience now will have its rewards later.
You may have run up debt with the wedding expenses, the honeymoon or new home. In addition, there may be old debts on credit cards and student loans that still have to be paid. Or it may be that one of you has a debt that they haven’t told your partner about. The earlier you deal with it, the easier it will be. If neither of you are good with finances, consult an expert who can help you put together a repayment plan. Knowing where you stand and how much you can afford to spend, will set you free of constant guilt and you may find that you can afford the occasional treat.
Getting married often means the prior ‘great sex’ is now reduced to last‐thing‐to‐do‐before‐falling‐asleep sex. While the newly married status brings the bonus of comfort and familiarity, it can also reduce the once exciting intimate moments into routine, leading to a sense that the spark has faded. Ways to break lazy habits include: occasionally having non‐bed sex, sharing a shower together, giving each other compliments and showing affection through touching whenever possible.
It is the reason you got married, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Being together 24/7 could lead to you taking your partner for granted or focusing on annoying trivia rather than appreciating the positives in your relationship. Even the occasional half‐day break can make you miss each other. It will also help in giving you a fresh view and new things to talk about when you are together.
Part of settling into married life is allowing your relationship to enter the ‘comfort zone’. This is when you let your partner see you waxing your legs or when you don’t bother getting dressed for dinner. The line between feeling comfortable and sloppy is a thin one. Letting yourself ‘go’ is natural in psychological terms, in the beginning you are trying to attract your partner and be pleasing. Once the courtship phase is over, other priorities such as work, housework and extended family, take over and you become distracted from each other. It’s useful to remember too much familiarity can breed contempt.
Having differences of opinion is part of the process of living together and discussion is healthy when it leads to airing and solving a problem. It is all too easy for newlyweds to fall into bad habits where discussion turns into arguments, which in turn become ugly. Set down some ground rules for airing disagreements, which should include banning the following:
A common obsession with newlyweds is to compete with their couple friends when it comes to home décor, gadgets, cars and holidays. Some element of being house proud or wanting to blend in with your social group is part of married life, but it can get out of control. If you’re using a lot of your time, energy and money in trying to create an image for others, you could be in danger of damaging the relationship. The early days of married life should be focused on building a strong partnership and in adjusting to each other, rather than overloading it with unnecessary self‐imposed pressures.
Wanting to move on quickly to the next stage after marriage, the baby, can become an obsession with many women. While it is natural that you’ll want to start a family, the first year of marriage is perhaps not the time to make it a priority. Remember that making a commitment to marriage is a major step for many and your partner may need time to adjust to living together before facing the prospect of having a baby. Perhaps another way to look at it is to value this time in your lives before responsibility sets in. Why not take that trekking holiday in the Himalayas together or explore an adventure sport.
Waiting until just after the honeymoon before trying to ‘fix’ the annoying habits of your partner, is perhaps not an ideal way to start married life. While some behaviour will need to be addressed, especially if they’re urgent like spending money, it is best to arrive at a mutual plan through discussion, rather than one person chastising the other. Also, learn to accept your partner as they are, rather than forcing them to photo‐fit some ideal image in your mind. Ask yourself how willing would you be to change who you are?
A common mistake made by newlyweds is to drop the friends and interests from their single life. You may feel that you now need to hang out with married couples only or that just because your partner doesn’t share an interest, you should give it up. Allowing your partner to have time with his or her mates, will give you an opportunity to meet up with single friends or to keep up a hobby or sport that you’re into.
Now that you’re married and have entered a new phase of your life, it’s easy to get obsessed with trivia. The minute details of housework, such as cleaning the toilet or who does what around the house can sometimes obscure the larger picture; your relationship. When you next find yourself getting worked up over the pair of dirty socks on the floor, remind yourself of why you’re in this together.