The first year of marriage is when the haze of romance and lust lifts, and reality begins to set in. Instead of spending time together doing fun things, couples start facing the reality of life. Newlyweds are often confronted with differences that seemed unimportant or non-existent when they were dating, but become front and center after marriage. Scott Haltzman, MD, author of The Secrets of Happily Married Women: How to get more out of your relationship by doing less, gives long-term fixes for some of the most common problems newlyweds face.
DEFINING ROLESPrior to marriage, couples often assume that the other will take on certain roles in the relationship (i.e. breadwinner, bill payer, housecleaner, nurse, mechanic, etc.). But most of the time, newlyweds are over idealistic and neglect to discuss these expectations.
Solution: Sit down to review and negotiate household roles. Focus first on how you can help, not on how your partner is letting you down!
MONEY MATTERSMoney is a very sensitive topic and a couple's attitudes towards household finances need to be aligned. If families don't define their core values, money ends up being spent carelessly and irresponsibly. More often than not, couples resort to blaming each other for financial mishaps because they aren't on the same page when it comes to handling money.
Solution: Define your values. What do you both care about spending money on the most (i.e. vacations, entertainment, spirituality, etc.)? Once you lay that out on the table, you can better know how to budget your money.
IN-LAWSGetting married means redefining boundaries and being a life partner with someone new involves cutting the umbilical cord. Parents often have a more difficult time with this than the children they are marrying off, and want to stay connected in ways that can disrupt the marriage.
Solution: You and your partner need to decide among yourselves how much parental input you want and need to maintain respect and then you need set boundaries with your parents. Each child is responsible for communicating the message to their own family
While dating, it was okay to watch football all day Sunday and shopping trips were a delightful way to spend the day together. But after couples bond for life, the way they spend time together can be a source of conflict.
Solution: Building a relationship together requires you to respect the fact that your partner has individual needs. Focus on appreciating the things that he or she loves as a way to help define your partner's uniqueness. Agree that if one (or the other) is stuck doing an "unenjoyable" activity that the focus will be on spending time together, not on the activity itself. After all, when you were dating, it didn't matter what you did, as long as you did it together. Remember to keep balance, though — each partner should have his or her own share of fun time.
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