The wedding bands are still shiny, the picture perfect images from your special day are proudly positioned around the house, and the wedding gifts still feel brand new. (read on for my Newlywed marriage advice)
Your new spouse brings flowers home regularly, suggests dinner out every Friday and you still like to look your best for each other. Disagreements are few and far between and your happily ever after seems to have been achieved…
So why do you need marriage advice when everything is going so well?
Well, first of all – I’m not going to tell you how you can have a perfect marriage – because no such thing exists (sorry to burst that bubble, but it’s true!)
But there are steps you can take, even now, while still in that head-in-the-clouds, can’t-keep-your-hands-off-each-other honeymoon phase that will set you up for a steady path towards a marriage based on mutual respect, trust and love.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and you can never know what’s in front of you. If someone had told me 18 years ago what my marriage would endure, there’s no way I would have believed them.
So, take these pieces of advice in whatever way makes sense for you…
Newlywed Marriage Advice: My Top 3 Tips
1. Choose Love
This might seem easy right now. Of course you love each other; you just made a huge commitment in front of your family and friends, declaring your true, passionate love for each other.
But it really is only just the beginning. And your love will probably be tested to the extreme throughout the course of your marriage.
There will be times when you don’t particularly ‘like’ your spouse, or you might even doubt that you love them at all.
It could be over a tiny disagreement, or something truly life changing that you need to work out together.
But choosing to love that person for who they are, who they want to be, who they become – can be a daily, active choice that you have to make. Some days, love won’t come easy, or it won’t come at all.
It will be buried deep beneath anger, fear, resentment, guilt and any other number of emotions. But looking beyond that and saying “I choose to love you today” can be a very empowering and healing choice to make.
2. Fight Fair
You might have seen my recent video on this where I go into a lot more detail (if not, click here!) But I really feel strongly about this one.
Fights, arguments disagreements – whatever you want to call them – they WILL happen! And they’re not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you both understand and agree to a couple of ground rules.
Keep fighting in private – away from the kids (minor disagreements are healthy to witness, full blown shouting matches are not), away from social media (don’t, please just don’t put your private life online in that way – you will regret it), and probably most importantly away from your family and friends.
Sure, vent to a trusted buddy and let them hear you out. But involving them in your fights can cause all sorts of strife. Think about it…
The friend who gets involved and sides with you, then feels awkward around your spouse in the future.
The sister-in-law who has only heard your spouse’s side of the story stops talking to you.
The mother-in-law sides with her child and makes future family gatherings challenging.
Just to name a few!
Of course, I’m not saying sweep everything under the carpet and keep it all bottled up – far from it. But choose your confidants wisely and keep your venting respectful. And ask them to keep what you discuss private.
3. Pick Your Words Wisely
“It’s not what you said, but the way you said it.”
As cliché as this sounds, it’s true. We don’t often hear the ‘what’ but we definitely pick up the verbal and non-verbal communication signs from our spouse, and this can lead to so many more misunderstandings and disagreements.
So, instead of focussing on what the other person has done wrong in your eyes (because this is just going to go round in circles), communicate your feelings honestly and clearly.
Instead of “You always spend too much money going out with your friends and we agreed to save for a house.”
Use something like “I feel let down and frustrated that we haven’t saved as much as we planned to yet. Can we please talk about how we can stick to our savings plan?”
Instead of “You never contribute to the household chores, even though you said you would. I do most of the cooking, and cleaning and we both work the same hours. I hate it that you just come home and watch TV all evening!!!”
Try something like “I’m feeling really worn out right now. We both work long hours and I feel tired when I get home and still have dinner to prepare and the house to tidy up. Can we talk about some suggestions to ease the load a little bit?”
These are by no means quick fixes to guarantee a long and happy marriage – I don’t believe quick fixes are possible in marriage.
But I do believe mutual respect, a constant re-evaluation of your shared values and how you communicate to each other will set you up well for a happy and loving marriage that can withstand all the storms that life is most definitely going to throw your way!
Share with me your newlywed marriage advice in the comments.