When you’re a newlywed, you feel like you can run on passion and romance forever. The first year of marriage can be an adjustment, however, particularly if it’s the first time you’re living together. It might also be your first house, or the first time you can entertain using actual china. Whatever the milestones, here are a few helpful hints to make that first year run as smoothly as possible.
Say It Now
When you’re first starting out, you may be tempted to sweep any problems under the rug and decide you’ll deal with them later. You’re newlyweds, and shouldn’t be fighting, right? Wrong. If something is really bothering you and you suppress it, the aggravation and resentment will only grow, and you’ll end up with a much bigger issue than it was to start with.
Obviously you don’t want to attack him every day with something new that’s bothering you. Living with someone full-time can take some getting used to. The way he folds the towels, squeezes the toothpaste from the middle, or never empties the garbage can make you crazy, but consider the bigger issues at stake. If he’s starting so many ambitious renovations on the house that it will soon be unlivable, or if your in-laws come over five times a week, these are serious problems that need to be dealt with right away.
Say It Kindly
Keep the love in the conversation. Make the issue a challenge that you two can work on together, to find the resolution that makes you both happy. Speaking up gets it out in the open and lets him know what your feelings and expectations are. In turn, you might discover he’s not all that keen on having his family over every night, either. Marriage is a partnership, and if you tackle each problem like you’re a team, not adversaries, your first year will run much more smoothly.
Set Up Your Finances
Accounting doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to a newlywed, but it’s a task that needs to be done. Take the time to sit down and discuss all of your bills, loans, incomes, and what’s going where. Decide if you want joint or separate checking accounts. Appoint a designated bill payer, or figure out how to divide expenses. There’s no right or wrong way to organize the assets and duties, as long as you’re both happy with the results. While it may be tedious or lead to a few minor squabbles, it’s good to get the money issue settled immediately. Nothing ruins a first year of marriage faster than getting a past due notice and hearing, “I thought you were paying that bill!”
Deviate from the Schedule
Unless you’re independently wealthy, getting married doesn’t equal a ton of time off. A couple of weeks after you say “I do,” you’ll find yourself back in the grind of the schedule of work, family, responsibilities and social commitments. Don’t forget to take time and embrace your newlywed selves. Set aside weekends to just be with each other. Take day trips to the beach, museum or a movie marathon. Get away for a weekend if you can afford it. The Honeymoon shouldn’t be the last fun trip you ever take.
Even small gestures are meaningful. When I worked 8am to 5pm and my husband worked 12pm to 9pm, we chose one day a week when we’d have a late dinner so we could have a nice meal together and catch up. On another day, my husband would pick me up from work to share an early lunch hour. Whatever your schedules are, you have to make room for one another. Discovering all the different ways you can get together during the day also helps keep the romance alive.
You don’t have to greet him at the door wearing lingerie and high heels, or meet him for lunch wearing nothing but a trench coat, but it helps. You’re newlyweds, and now is the time for having fun as you get to know each other. Whether you want to surprise him by baking homemade brownies, landing tickets to a playoff game, or flashing him your thong while you’re in the restaurant, keeping things exciting is good for the marriage. Be as daring as you want to be, and discover how daring your husband can be too.
More from Valerie David:
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Is Putting Your Hand on Your Man’s Inner Thigh Appropriate in Public?