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We all love to have our way — but that's just not what marriage is about. "Unless you married your identical twin, you can expect to differing opinions on a few things," says psychologist Lauren Napolitano. "Our spouse's unique ideas, opinions and tendencies help us to see the world in a different way. The goal of marriage is to co-create a life together."
So after you say "I do," expect to compromise on a few things off-the-bat. Here, Napolitano identifies five key compromises every married couple should make, and how to come to an agreement.
1. Home décor.
"In the stereotypical example, the man wants a leather couch, 14 remotes and a 100-inch TV, while the woman wants fresh flowers, table runners and beautiful throw pillows," says Napolitano. But swaying too far in either direction can make one of you feel like you're living in someone else's home, not your own.
2. Sleep schedules.
It may seem like an inconsequential detail, but going to bed at a different time than your spouse can drive a wedge in your relationship and even stunt your sex life. "If one person is a night owl and the other is an early bird, this can wreak havoc on intimacy," Napolitano says. "It's important to try to match up sleep schedules whenever possible so that you're in sync during your days and nights."
While it's important that each of you has access to your own spending money, what you spend each month should be something you both agree on. "Both partners should communicate and agree on larger purchases," says Napolitano. "Each partner may have different financial goals, and sometimes a financial adviser can help the couple devise a good plan that integrates both spouses' needs."
4. Family visits.
Just because you're used to welcoming your extended family to every social function doesn't mean your significant other will welcome the crowd — or overnight house guests. "In this instance, it's crucial to develop a system for each spouse to get their needs met," Napolitano says. "One compromise would be to visit extended family frequently but to not include an overnight stay."
"If you are incredibly neat, that's great," says Napolitano. "That, however, doesn't give you a right to nitpick and nag your spouse about their more relaxed approach. You need to develop a plan for laundry, dishes, lawn care that incorporates both spouse's schedules and temperaments."