Real Brides Share: How We Made It Through the First Year of Marriage


Once you return home from the honeymoon, your real life together starts. And it's not always a smooth adjustment — going from solo to permanently coupled. Here's some excellent advice from women who have successfully navigated that passage.

"We were told in our pre-marital classes that some days we'd have to 'choose love'. You might not want to do the grocery shopping alone, but if your spouse is overwhelmed with work that week, it's best to choose love and help lighten his load. You might have arguments and hurt each other, but rather than dragging it out, you need to choose to love each other so you can apologize and forgive." —Bridgett

"I've been married five years. We survived by scheduling regular date nights to remind ourselves not to let busy lives and pressure for a perfect marriage get in the way of us." —Mila

See More: The Most Common First Year Fights (And How to Solve Them)

"I have been married for 11 years and still remember the challenges we overcame during our first year. The greatest challenge was managing expectations. We both came into the marriage with preconceived notions about how things would work, and when we didn't immediately live up to each other's expectations, things went south — and fast. However, we kept at it and worked on improving our ability to actually communicate our expectations. When we put our egos aside, we found we were able to be the person our spouse needed to really enjoy each other and the marriage." —Latasha

"We married in February, 2015. What helped enormously right from the beginning was making time to check in. We still do weekly check-ins just to see how things are going versus waiting for issues to pop up. We have a standing calendar invite, and we write an agenda throughout the week of things to cover when we have that time for a longer thoughtful discussion." —Michiel

"I found a marriage mentor. A work colleague had been married for 15 years at the time, and she was still happy. She gave me 'real deal' advice, and I also interviewed three people who divorced after five years or less. I asked what they would do differently if they were granted a do-over." —Kanesha

"We started having a lot of disagreements, and neither of us felt heard or understood. So we went to a marriage counselor for help learning how to communicate and not fall into dysfunctional patterns. We wanted to put in the work before we became too, well, wedded to bad habits." —Beth

"We had to set boundaries with our families. This was made easier once we had a conversation that we were one another's priority, number one, and our parents had to understand we were now a unit." —Ellen

"Don't sweat the small stuff. Tom never makes the bed in the morning, which drove me crazy until I decided tangled sheets were much less important than having a loving, kind, sexy man to share my life." —Amy

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.

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