When my husband and I first got married, we, like everyone else, went through the honeymoon period. And like it always does, it ended before we were truly ready. Things got tough and we struggled, and we still do from time to time, but we learned some key things along the way. The first years of married life aren’t easy, and there is really no guidebook that can be given. But there is a saving grace in those first years and ways to navigate the hard times so that you can keep building and get to the married life that you want.
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NAVIGATING THE FIRST YEARS OF MARRIAGE
The first years of marriage are difficult. There’s a lot to get used to even if you’ve been living with your new spouse for years. My husband and I attended undergrad and grad school together and then lived with each other for a few years prior to getting married. We had thought that we had navigated through all of the struggles of our relationship prior to getting married, but after we had said our vows, there are all new struggles that appeared, and to be transparent, there were a few times that we had almost called it quits.
But in those first years, we learned a few things that have helped us to get to a better place in our marriage, where we are able to handle conflict if and when it arises.
When trying to navigate through your first years of marriage, the key thing is making sure that you are communicating. Granted, it is easier said than done. But what I learned is that communication also comes with patience, understanding, and actually listening to what the other person is saying. And then from the communication, you have to be able to compromise. Many of us enjoy and love our independence, and in a marriage, our independence is necessarily being taken away, but it is also at the point where we can’t just make decisions without thinking of the other person in the relationship.
Another way to help with navigating through the first years is to have someone that you can lean on that is also married. Yes, we all have those friends that aren’t married that we love to talk to. But keep in mind they can’t give you the advice that you need about your relationship because they aren’t speaking from experience. Find someone that you can trust and don’t trash talk your spouse, but instead, ask them what they do to navigate certain conflicts. You want to make sure that you’re not letting that person into your relationship by divulging every single detail of your relationship, but you can still ask for advice and find solace in the fact that you aren’t alone because you aren’t.