Marriage Advice for Getting Through Your First Year

You've said "I Do" to the one you love, and it seems as if nothing could possibly go wrong. But, after you've taken your vows, you may feel overwhelmed. Marriage isn't all poetry and roses: You and your partner will have to think about how to translate your vows and wishes to the relationship you are in.

The first year of marriage is critical. If you and your partner are careful and lay a strong foundation for your future, you may be able to avoid major blow-outs. This marriage advice can help get you through your first year.

Know Your Expectations
Part of any marriage means putting in as much as you receive. Sharing a life with another person requires some sacrifices and compromises. Decisions both large and small involve considering your partner.

Make sure to talk about your goals, desires and financial needs for the future. What do the two of you want ten years from now? What are your fears? The more you and your loved one communicate, the better off your first year of marriage will be.

Communicate Your Needs
If you discuss your feelings, decisions and thoughts with your partner on a regular basis, and, if you listen to their concerns in return, you will avoid any unpleasant surprises or changed expectations that often lead to conflicts. Remember that communication does not only refer to decisions like what house to buy but also to your feelings. You may be having a bad day, and, if you communicate this to your partner, they will know how to approach you and can give you emotional support.

No matter how trivial the issue, you need to be able to share it with your partner. If you are feeling emotionally vulnerable, a few kind words from your partner can make all the difference. Likewise, when your partner is down or needs help, you need to take the time to give them support. The smallest of unresolved issues or slip-ups can roll into an avalanche and lead to a major fissure in a relationship.

Learn Teamwork
In a marriage, one of hardest things to deal with is learning how to agree to disagree. You and your partner are now a team, but this does not mean you have to agree 100% of the time. You may have different opinions, desires and interests, and this is more than okay. A partnership does not mean you need a twin or clone of you. The best marriages thrive if, during the first year, the both of you can learn to accept your differences.

When it comes to making decisions, learn to compromise. This doesn't mean you have to allow a neon green couch or a beer-can collection into your home, but it does mean that you should be aware that joint decisions are exactly that. If you and your loved one are patient and able to reason through conflicts, you will learn how to strike a balance between you.

It's the Thought that Counts
When you see your loved one every single day, you may forget to do nice things for them. You want to set up a precedent early in your marriage where you do little things for your loved one just because. A few surprises will let your partner know that you are thinking of them.

Additionally, try to be as considerate as you can. You may be Professor Forgetful in your day-to-day life, but make an active effort to keep your loved one in mind, such as leaving some coffee in the pot in the morning. They'll appreciate it, and you'll settle into the routine of sharing your life with another person.

Also, make sure that when you and your loved one spend time together that it is quality time. In a new marriage, you want to start strong and not fall into a rut where you and your loved one do not talk to one another or forget to communicate. You may be tired after a long day, but instead of watching television during dinner, why not sit down together and actually talk?

Make sure to ask questions about the other person's day and to listen to their responses. You don't have to stop with asking about your partner's day. Let conversations lead to goals and dreams. People change over time, as do what they want from life.

Forgiveness
No one is perfect, so mistakes are bound to happen. If you can learn the art of forgiveness early in your marriage, you can stop disputes that could grow unmanageable. Of course, there are some things that you may not be able to forgive a person for, such as infidelity, but this doesn't mean you should keep bringing up the time your loved one forgot to put the milk away.

In a happy marriage, two people can love one another for every scar and blemish, as well as their best qualities. To work toward this goal, you might want to speak with a marriage counselor. Admitting you need marriage counseling doesn't mean you've failed; it just means that you and your spouse would like the advice of a third party.

Dealing With In-Laws
Forget the films and television shows: In-laws don't have to be crazy, emotionally smothering monsters. Even if you do not like your partner's parents, this doesn't mean you can shut yourself off to them. The truth is, once you marry someone, their family becomes a piece of your life.

To help you create a positive relationship with your in-laws, start with major dates. Remembering someone's birthday and important anniversaries is a thoughtful and small way to get into their good graces. It won't take you much time to plug dates into a calendar and to send a card or e-mail when an important day is coming up. In-laws want to be acknowledged and to know that you consider them a part of your new family.

Additionally, make sure to be pleasant whenever you do see your in-laws and to accompany your partner to family functions. This goes a long way toward showing your in-laws that you care and that you value their company.

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