As newlyweds, you both are excited about your new home, living together for the first time as husband and wife and building a family together. There are so many positive things to look forward to. But, in the midst of all the happiness, some troubling situations may surface. You quickly realize marriage is not as simple as you may have imagined.
I have been married for eight years. And our relationship took a different turn once we said, “I do.” Our mindset had to immediately switch from boyfriend and girlfriend to husband and wife. Once married, we treated the discussions and the responsibilities differently. We learned several lessons throughout the years — and I guarantee we will continue to learn. However, the best part of the learning process is that we are learning together.
Here are 10 things I've learned about marriage.
Let’s say your spouse purchases something for your birthday and you are not happy with it, there is nothing wrong with being honest. Thank him, but politely explain why you are not happy with the gift. The last thing you want to do is keep up with a lie.
Maybe you want to go on a cruise for your anniversary, but your spouse would rather go out of the country. Instead of arguing or immediately giving in, sit down and discuss the situation. Listen to what each of you has to say and then meet somewhere in the middle.
Participate in each other’s events
If your spouse asks you to join him for a job or family function, try your best to join him. Depending on the function, you may feel out of place. However, it will mean a great deal to your spouse if you agree to participate. Sometimes, in a marriage, we need to step outside of our comfort zone.
It is only natural to disagree with your spouse. Married couples do not have to agree every single time to avoid a fight. Instead of arguing or becoming frustrated, calmly discuss the matter. Give each other a chance to speak. Keep in mind the discussion should never lead to lack of respect. You gain nothing positive by losing the respect of a spouse.
Your spouse is your family now
Both of you need to set limits for both sides of the family. Extended family members must understand you have established a family of your own. Privacy needs to be respected. Advice is always appreciated. Nevertheless, family members should not interfere in a marriage. Married couples need to find their own way together. And if there are children involved, the parents make the rules, not an outside family member, unless he is instructed to do so.
Do not assume one spouse is going to be responsible for all the duties around the house. Split the chores accordingly. If you have children, decide who will do carpooling, who will do laundry and who will do food shopping.
Finances can be a sensitive issue
Whether or not you want to keep a joint account is strictly up to you as a couple. But, be sure to never spend more than you can afford. It's wonderful to always get what you want, but all the things purchased will have no meaning if you are in debt. Bills come first and then the goodies afterward. You do not want a marriage based on debt. That situation will cause tension in family life.
Say “I love you” as frequently as possible
Just because you both know you love each other does not mean you can't say it. Say those three words after every phone call, when departing for work or before heading to bed. Nowadays, couples enjoy texting random love notes to their spouses. Texting "I love you" is special.
Continue the romance
Set date nights or weekend getaways once a month or as often as possible. Continue doing the sweet, loving things you use to before getting married.
Give each other space
You do not want to smother your spouse to the point he or she wants to run away. Also, it’s not recommended to prohibit your spouse from spending a couple of hours with family and or friends once in a while. It’s enjoyable to catch up on old times.
There is no denying marriage could be difficult and intimidating at times. Nevertheless, there is nothing to fear as long as you and your spouse are determined, committed and willing to work as a team at all times.
Mayra Colón is a freelance writer, former independent author and avid reader. She holds a MBA from the University of Phoenix and completed the Freelance Writing and Selling Online course from Rutgers University of Arts and Sciences.