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why is the first year of marriage the hardestIs the first year of marriage the hardest?

The answer varies from one married couple to another, but most couples would agree it’s one of the hardest years of marriage.

Listen to the first year marriage stories of couples you know, and you will get an idea of the challenges ahead.

After going through Ash’s journal to relive that first year of our marriage, we realized there was a lot we had forgotten about.

Besides the big difficulties and hardest moments life threw at us, there were a few themes that rang through.

We hope our first year experience will inspire and help you in your marriage journey.

You can also read our First Year of Marriage book or listen to our podcast, the First Year Marriage Show, to learn from the first year stories of other great couples.

Hardest moments in our first year of marriage.


The first thing I think that was kind of a slap in the face was realizing how selfish I was.

Going from me to we, proved to be more difficult than I had imagined.

In part, because I believe we don’t realize how when we are single it’s all about what “I” want, how “I” feel, and who “I” want to be.

When you become married it’s hard to find the balance of still being an independent person, while also being a unit with your spouse; learning interdependence.

I started to purposefully put my spouse first each day, even though I would mess up, I would keep trying.

Picking one thing to work on, one thing to do for your spouse every day, and then adding another as time goes on, was a great way to help me through this time while I learned to not be so selfish.

The second thing that was noticed quickly was our miscommunications. We did not know how to communicate effectively with each other.

We had to realize we both communicate differently, words have different meanings to us, and add on top of that, we were coming from different cultures.

I remember one argument in the beginning where I was having a conversation with someone.

Marcus interrupted and asked me to do something for him, came back in a minute later with another thing for me to do, and I asked him to text me what he needed me to do, and I would do it later.

He said, “Never mind. I’ll just do it myself,” he meant it matter of fact, no attitude, a “oh I see you are busy, this is something I can do so you don’t have to worry about it.”

But, I took this to mean, “never mind! Fine!

You can’t remember one simple thing?

I’ll just do it myself because you are obviously too incompetent!

See the problem?

I assumed he meant this in a hurtful manner, since in my past, this is generally what was sentence meant.

I went to say goodbye to him before I went to work, asked him why he couldn’t just text me the list, and he repeated that he could do it himself.

Which set me off…again.

I slammed the door and went to work. (not my proudest moment)

When I picked him up and drove home I didn’t say a word!

Once we got home he came to me to ask if anything was wrong. He obviously couldn’t read my mind and was genuinely clueless to my assumptions of what he meant earlier.

Then we did what we should have done from the beginning.

We talked about what happened, what was said, what I thought he meant, what he really meant.

From this, we (especially me) learned a couple of valuable lessons.

⇒ That we must ask each other what we meant before flying off the handle and ASSUMING.

⇒ Believe he isn’t trying to hurt me, and has the best intentions for me.

⇒ Understand my spouse can’t read my mind.

⇒ Remind myself that Marcus is not like the people in my past, my family, or anyone else. So to assume he would do what everyone else in my life has done, is unfair on my part.

Needless to say I had a LOT of personal issues to work through!

The other theme that was throughout my journal was the character lessons I had to work on.

For example, patience, thinking before I speak negatively, and not getting angry so quickly. Empathetic listening was a game changer for me.

I failed a LOT!

But I could see major improvement by the end of our first year.

And the foundation we had built for our marriage.

The last thing, that also popped up right in the beginning was my insecurities. It hit me with full force.

Things I didn’t know existed.

These were issues I had to work on while Marcus was supportive and had immense patience with me.

We would have many talks where he would point things out to me, that I couldn’t see about myself or situation I was in.

By allowing his words to be guidance and advice, instead of rejection, I was able to have my world opened.

I grew on a personal level. There were so much hard earned growth and many marriage lessons learned the hard way during that first year.

We continue to grow and learn together, but these first year lessons set the foundation and the tone for our marriage.

This is why we focus on helping newlyweds and couples build a strong a foundation for their marriage.


The first year was all “emergency mode” for us, from one thing to another.

Not knowing how we will pay the next bill, what food to eat, whether I will be deported to Ghana or be allowed to stay in the US.

Click here to listen to our First Year story.

I came to the US on a student Visa. I did not maintain my status by staying in school because of financial reasons out of my control, and I got arrested and processed through deportation proceedings.

I never thought I would be arrested or threatened with deportation  (I knew it was possible but the chances of it happening were very unlikely), but this was one of the lemons life through at us.

This happened in the 4th month of our marriage and took about a year to eighteen months for all my paperwork to go through.

Due to not being a US resident or Citizen, I was not allowed to work, meaning we had to depend on Ash’s income.

Which by the way was not a lot, even though she worked 3 different jobs.

It took about a year for me to actually be allowed to work. You can imagine the emotional and mental adjustment we, especially I, had to make in that first year. Plus all the other marriage adjustments newlyweds have to make.

While at home I utilized, this time to research into buying and selling stuff online. Reading personal development books, taking care of our house by cleaning, cooking all our meals, washing dishes, and helping other people.

Sometimes, I felt guilty of making our first year a hard one.

I would think about the what if’s.

What if I maintained my student status, what if I had a job, what if, what if …

Occasionally, we had disagreements, heated arguments, and had to learn how to fight fair.

Some of these arguments were over unimportant things like straightening up shoes, folding clothes, washing dishes in a certain way, etc.

It wasn’t easy living that year

Not knowing what country we would be living in the next year, and whether I would ever be allowed to come back to the US.

We had to stick together during this tough first year, stayed calmed, and talked a lot about our plan B’s just in case I got deported or something worse happened.

I had to learn to share my worries, deal with feeling like less of a man for not being able to provide as much as I would like, and be vulnerable with my wife. She in turn supported me and assured me she was in this with me, no matter what.

All these experiences helped us to improve our communication and work together. Finding ways to compromise, adjust to married life and ultimately survive our first year of marriage.

Best of all, we were able to build a very strong foundation for the marriage we both desired.

Why is the first year of marriage the hardest?

why is the first year of marriage hardIf you are engaged, about to get married, or newly married, you might have pondered over this question.

We did.

It was due to the stories we had read and heard about the experiences other married couples had in their first year.

Below are 15 things that can easily make the first year of marriage the hardest for you are:

1. Having unrealistic marriage expectations.

2. Difficulty in adjusting to each other and married life.

3. Not getting along with your in-laws, sometimes friends, and family.

4. The unexpected life events that happen out of the blue eg. job loss, car accident, sickness/illness, unemployment etc.

5. Miscommunication with each other

6. Different marriage, family, and life goals.

7. Not knowing how to fight fair. Constant arguing with each other, and sometimes the ugly fights.

8. Disagreement on how to spend money, what bill to pay first, debts, and managing finances.

9. Difficulty in sharing household responsibilities.

10. Selfishness by either one or both spouses.

11. Drastic changes in sex drive of one spouse, how often you each want to have sex or conflicting fantasy’s/desires.

12. Balancing work and life together as a married couple.

13. Living together under one roof.

14. Personal habits.

15. Unexpected pregnancy.

If you are thinking,”Why is marriage so hard?” or having difficult moments, or struggling in your first year of marriage, visit this page for some tips.

It has a list of all our best posts that will help you navigate your first year of marriage.

And get a copy of our newlywed’s guide to read today.

So what year of marriage is the hardest for married couples?

Most married couples might say the first year was the hardest year in their marriage for different reasons, while other couples will say their first year was the easiest.

Marriage in itself is a lifelong journey, and there is no way anyone can predict what the future will bring.

The first year can certainly be the hardest if newlyweds are not prepared mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually for their marriage.

Our first year could have been worse.

If we had not invested time and money in preparing for our marriage. We highly recommend engaged couples and newlyweds should spend some time and/or money to invest in preparing for their marriage.

It’s truly worth it.

Think about how much time and energy you put into the actual wedding day.

Now compare it to how much time and effort you put into actually preparing for your marriage journey. It’s certainly is a no-brainer.

What’s your comparison like?

Your marriage preparation probably received much less time or was completely ignored, but that should not be the case.

Couples who have a terrible first year without resolving the issues they encountered are likely to get a divorce.

Sometimes, their marriage becomes an unhappy and unhealthy one.

So far, our first year has been the hardest year for our marriage, and we hope it will forever remain the hardest year and there is only good times ahead 🙂

Even though it has been our hardest year, we enjoyed every bit of it because we learned so much and grew together.

The first year can also be the best year for some married couples, and we hope you will be one these couples.

Your turn:

What was the biggest lesson you learned your first year of marriage?

How will you describe your first year in one or two words?

Image courtesy David Castillo Dominici / and Sarajuggernaut

P.S. Want to build a strong foundation for your marriage? Read this book today.