Newlywed Stress

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.

Newlywed Couple in Conflict


Prior 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 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.


Getting 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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Comments on "Common problems in the first year of marriage"

cold feet post wedding? December 30, 2013 | 11:49 PM

We've been married 2.5 months now and we were living together before that for about a year - maybe less. It all seemed fine. Everything was peachy then he lost his job, I quit mine and started a temping position, I ended up planning the entire wedding . We fought a lot. We dreaded Christmas this year as we had already seen family and friends so much so close to the holidays. I thought after the wedding stuff was all over we would return to our peachy lives from before the engagement. But sometimes it seems like every day is a struggle. Not only do we not agree on things, we get angry at the smallest things. Things that in hindsight, seem so meaningless. I hate to say it but I find myself questioning if I did the right thing? I was so in love with him before the wedding. Did we ruin 'us' by getting married?

Chaos December 16, 2013 | 8:51 AM

I am so happy I am not the only one experiencing these problems! Married for 5 months, blended family and did NOT co habitat before marriage. Probably a good thing because if I did move in before marriage, I would have moved right back out 3 weeks later. I do think its little stuff, such as from having my own bathroom to sharing one with 4 other people, ...lots of sharing. I moved in with him, I feel more like a roommate/ maid than anything. My stuff is still in boxes. Every conversation is grounds for an argument (even asking for help with money for groceries), and with Christmas around the corner I am actually dreading it. What I miss the most is having a place to call home.

r m December 13, 2013 | 2:19 PM

YES YES YES great advice! my husband and i are barely a month married and he's already talking about divorce because i'm not being that typical wife (clean, cook, greet him at the door when he comes home, etc). then it leads to another argument on how i can't keep the place clean because my pack rat of parents keep giving me things (and not to mention, they have free access to our apartment) and i feel guilty getting rid of the things they give's messy also because the hubby doesn't want to throw anything away. i feel like i'm the only one doing research and homework on improving things between us while his only research is studying his fantasy football team. i'm in the boat too with everyone's problems!!

PSA November 11, 2013 | 7:05 AM

We have only been married a little over a month! And what a difficult month this has been. This article is insightful as no one goes into a relationship knowing everything! It is so important to clearly define roles from the beginning. This was the mistake I think we made. He seems to be angry all the time,because 'I don't do anything' around the house and I feel like he could help out a bit more i.e washing up,picking up after himself etc. I want to fight for my marriage and grow old and grey with him. All the best everyone!

Mrs. I October 14, 2013 | 11:37 AM

This has been THE hardest year of my life. Adapting to this new life has been so difficult and my spouse and I are in the middle of an argument right now. I don't want to lose my husband, but I know that if I continue being the way I am...he will get tired and finally leave. I feel so lonely when I have someone who has promised to be there forever. I gotta let go of my pride and stubbornness.

CB June 07, 2013 | 7:19 PM

We have been arguing on a constant basis, we have been married for six months. We always bicker about the house chores and taking care of the dogs. I feel like it is never ending and I feel like I am to blame. Things have changed so much these past few months, and I am at a loss of what to do.

Liz August 28, 2012 | 9:28 PM

Amber- I'm on the same boat... I've only been married 2 months. I don't like feeling like this. We don't have kids, but we fight all the time about money, household chores... Etc.. Are u guys going to counseling?

amber August 26, 2012 | 7:03 PM

My husband doesn't like how I do things most of the time. He gets angry, then I get angry. We have only been married for 3 months. We fight everyday most of the time. We r a blended family as well, along with many other issues. I love him, and I'm not sure how to change us anymore. We say one thing and do another over and over and over.....I'm tired.

lj* August 20, 2011 | 7:22 PM

yall forgot about the EXs......but then againg it shouldnt even be a factor...

Aymanati June 24, 2011 | 8:08 AM

I think it'w worth reading.

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