As much work as you may have put into planning the perfect wedding, the real effort to making a marriage last starts the day after you say "I do."
Marriage is a huge, exciting life transition, but along with newlywed bliss, comes a set of new challenges as well. So before you tie the knot, we're breaking down the most common issues and fights just-married couples face. This way, you and your fiancé will know how to work through these issues — just in case they happen to arise during your first year as a married pair.
In the days and weeks after their wedding, some couples may suffer from "wedding withdrawal" and feel a sense of boredom or even sadness. "Couples spend months, if not years, planning and producing their wedding. But when the bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, reception, and honeymoon are in the rearview mirror, you and your husband will need to transition back to minutiae of everyday life," says Dr. Howard Forman, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Make sure that you make an effort to share small wins and daily news with each other, Forman advises. "Since small events are going to make up the vast majority of your life together, finding pleasure in the mundane will serve you and your husband very well in the long-term."
Lack of "Me Time"
"My husband is not just my husband, he is also my best friend." Sound familiar? "It makes for a great sentiment during a speech, but make sure that you keep your close friends," says Forman. "Although you have entered a new and wonderful period of your lives, you are still who you were prior to the marriage in many respects — and will really benefit by maintaining those friendships that supported you and gave you enjoyment prior to your nuptials."
Upset Family Members
It's an inevitable part of marriage — especially when juggling two sets of parents — that someone will be unhappy with a choice you make. "People will feel slighted by where you decide to go during the holidays or how much time you spend with them," says Forman. "But regardless of the debates you and your husband have with each other, make sure you present choices as a joint decision. Supporting each other early in your marriage this way will strengthen your bond to one another and send a clear message of how you value your spouse. Others may be temporarily disappointed in your choices but will be impressed by the commitment you show to one another."
Not Enjoying Sex
We've debunked the myth that married couples don't have sex, but your time in the bedroom can change. For example, perhaps you have been enjoying an active sex life and your marriage was motivated by a desire to start a family together. "Now sex has the purpose of creating a child and that can make it feel more like work than something to look forward to," he explains. "Don't lose sight that sex is something that should be enjoyed and bring you and your husband pleasure."
Dealing with Spousal Criticism
"Research is pretty consistent that how you start off your marriage will have great influence over the quality of your relationship long term," says Forman. One particularly worrisome situation is when your partner perceives that you're criticizing him — even if you don't think you are. "You may intend no offense and be acting in ways that you cannot believe would be taken as criticism by your spouse, but that can still be damaging to your marriage. If you sense that your spouse is feeling criticized by you, work hard to reflect on what you may be doing to make him or her feel this way — and try and communicate in a more empathic style."