Surviving the first year of marriage is a great accomplishment. Simply because of the marriage adjustments you and your spouse will go through as a newly married couple.
Everyone likes to assume that wedded bliss and honeymoon phase lasts forever. In truth, adjusting to married life presents several unique challenges. You have to merge two very different lives after all!
Like many newlyweds, our first year of marriage was not easy. It seemed that it was all emergency mode. From one thing to another.
We certainly couldn’t have made it alone, even when it came to changing Ashley’s last name. And wished a book like our First Year of Marriage book for newlyweds existed.
If you feel overwhelmed, confused, or scared about surviving your first year of marriage, don’t worry. Below are 25 tips for newlyweds that will help you survive the first year of marriage.
How to survive your first year of marriage tips
1. Be on the same page with your spouse.
Especially when it comes to important issues such as finances, kids and when to have them, sex, intimacy, creating a monthly family budget, career, etc. This is much easier said than done, but being in agreement is paramount to making your marriage work. And this will take communication.
2. Let your expectations in marriage be known to each other.
And then agree to compromise on your differences.
3. The first year is a transition period.
So be ready to learn, compromise, and adjust to each other. Work through your differences and move from thinking as I instead to WE.
If you are going to change your name after marriage, do it asap so it does not bring unwanted stress to your marriage.
4. There will be conflicts!
But your goal should be to go to bed happy. So work it out in the best way that fits your personalities.
Your spouse might need a longer time to cool off and think things through while you might want it solved pronto.
Don’t shy away from conflict, rather instead learn how to fight fair and listen to them with empathy.
5. Avoid the blame game.
And don’t keep score or judge your spouse too quickly.
You are on the same team. When one of you loses, so does the other.
So come together as a unit to solve the problem together.
6. Decide not to use the D word (divorce) as an idol threat. Divorce should always be a last option after you’ve tried everything in your power to work through whatever issues come up (unless there are special circumstances i.e. abuse, addiction, infidelity). Never say it in anger for shock value, or to hurt your spouse.
7. Allow each other time to adjust in the first year by adapting yourself and not trying to change your spouse.
You must be two independent people who work together interdependently.
8. Marriage is a 100/100 partnership, not the 50/50 we hear.
If you are not each giving 100% then you are not committed to your marriage and your spouse. In order to have a healthy, happy, lasting marriage you must both be fully committed.
9. Always improve the good.
Learn from the negative experiences that occur in the first year. And all throughout your marriage.
When you mess up, apologize.
Continue your personal growth, and keep each other in the loop, thus growing together. If you find something that works, keep doing it.
10. Confront your own issues and discuss them with your spouse.
Work through your insecurities and past traumas. These can only serve to hold you back if you don’t.
Create a safe place with your spouse so that you can share your feelings.
11. Understand that you take on a new family.
You married your spouse but they are part of an extended family.
Respect your in-laws even if you don’t agree or like them. You can do this even while distancing yourself from toxic family members.
Find the middle ground to balance out incorporating both of your cultures, while also creating boundaries around your marriage.
12. Show your love, appreciation, and care for each other every day.
13. Be ready for the unexpected surprises that could easily end a marriage.
For example, hidden secrets such as huge student loan and credit card debts, the loss of jobs, sudden illness to your spouse etc.
Life is full of surprises, and we know from experience when it rains, it pours. Stick together through the tough times, and we promise you if you both put your all in, your marriage will grow even stronger.
14. Enjoy the lovemaking, and never take it for granted. Mix it up. Have fun. Be adventurous. Communicate about sex. It may be awkward at first for some couples, but it is SO worth it.
15. Learn how to fight fair with your spouse.
16. Be ready for the hard work. Anything worth fighting for requires intentional hard work and continuous nurturing.
17. Be slow to anger. Believe your spouse has the best intentions towards you.
Respond rather than react. Patience is key.
18. Focus on improving yourself during this transition period.
19. Seek, learn and apply the positive information you learn about marriage. The resources are out there. It’s up to you to listen to them and apply them.
20. Communication and paying attention to your spouse are two of the keys to a successful, healthy, and happy marriage.
21. Learn to forgive each other. Don’t call names or keep score.
22. Spend quality time to grow together.
Connect and make time for each other. Your spouse and marriage relationship should be your priority over family, hobbies, and career. Spend quality time together every single day.
23. Focus on the needs of your spouse, yourself, and your marriage.
24. Define your roles.
For example, who cooks, washes the dishes or car, empties the garbage.
25. The moment your marriage becomes official, your marriage seed is simultaneously planted; nurture it for excellent growth.
[How strong is your marriage? Take the quiz.]
What we wished we had known before getting married
We wished we had known how to communicate effectively with each other. Simply because we struggled to communicate effectively during the first few months of our marriage.
As you know, communication is one of the most common marriage problems many couples face every single day.
Furthermore, a lot of marriage problems happen either because of no communication or of the lack of effective communication between couples. So learning how to communicate with your spouse should become one of your priorities now.
Read: Our marriage advice for newlyweds.
Seek help during your First Year
Fortunately for us, we are not afraid to ask for help. When we experienced some of our hardest marriage moments that first year, we sought help.
Because the fact is this:
There is someone or a married couple who has been in your shoes before that could help you solve your problems.
In other words, don’t be shy to ask for help when you need it. You will be glad you did. Trusting God and having relatives who supported was also vital for our first year.
Essential resources for surviving the first year of marriage
For us, reading Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover book and listening to his online radio was a great resource for us. As a result, we have created this first year of marriage resource page to help couples survive their first year of marriage.
In addition, we launched the First Year Marriage Show podcast to help newlyweds adjust to married life by learning from the first-year experiences of other married couples.
Check out this list of must-read books for newlyweds that will help you build a strong foundation and survive the first year of marriage.
Improve on your first year of marriage
Don’t t rest on your laurels after surviving your first year or first five years of marriage.
Considering these divorce statistics, your marriage will be successful only if you and your spouse are willing to put in the continuous effort required to make it successful.
Always improve yourself and your marriage so you can become a better husband or wife.
And to do that, listen to marriage podcasts, talk with other married couples and read these great marriage books.
Surviving the first year of marriage is one of the biggest challenges for many newlyweds. So let it be a learning experience (transitional year) to cherish and be proud of.
Although we went through various challenges, we survived our first year of marriage. You can also survive your first year by applying some of the tips we used to survive our first year of marriage.
And don’t forget to:
Celebrate your first wedding anniversary with these unique paper anniversary gifts ideas.
We hope these 25 tips will help you adjust to married life, build a strong foundation for your marriage and survive your first year.
Would surviving the first year of marriage be difficult for you?
If you are already past your first year, how did you survive the first year of marriage?
20 Marriage Lessons We Learned from Our First Year
How to Create a Monthly Budget After Marriage (And Stick to it)
How to Change Your Name After Marriage
69+ Thought-Provoking Conversation Starters for Couples
How to Communicate with Your Spouse Without Fighting in 7 Simple Steps
P.S. Want to build a strong foundation for your marriage? Read this book today.
Images courtesy Shuttersnap