Marriage is a legal or formal union of two people as partners in a personal relationship. Marriage is normally meant to be a long-term commitment. For your marriage to be healthy, you need to have trust, understanding, and good communication with your partner.
Marriage is a lot of work, and some years can be tougher for you than others. Although each marriage is different in its sense, you will get to know more about the hardest years of most marriages in this article.
The First Year of Marriage
Some experts consider the first year of marriage the hardest (even if you have already lived together). There are reasons associated with this concept. First of all, you might have fun planning for the wedding or even having one amazing wedding, but life after the ceremony can be tricky because the excitement is over suddenly.
You might have worked towards your marriage goal, and it is over in one day. It can be tough or disappointing for you to pick up the next day and get on with your regular life. Therefore, when regular life sets back in with no flurry of excitement, you might be tempted to blame the most recent life-changing activity, marriage.
Secondly, marriage is different from being a couple dating or cohabiting. They may look similar but cohabiting has an easy way out. When it comes to marriage, you sign a binding contract, and the permanent union has higher stakes.
Due to this fact, every fight and disappointment in marriage may feel more significant or more loaded. Before marriage, every little argument may not have been a big deal, but each argument becomes more intense after you develop the “this is my whole life” factor.
While dealing with those emotions, you also have to factor in your in-laws, who become family.
There are also the practicalities of married life that may offer a challenge, especially in the beginning. You find yourself legally responsible for each other’s finances, which is massive, and discussing money can become a trigger for discord.
There is also the huge hurdle of administration, especially if you’ve decided to change your name. You will have to update your bills, licenses, and passports, decide on your joint accounts, or even write thank you cards inclusive of both partners. All these can be stressful to the union.
Another issue is that you are moving in with a new person, and you have to adjust to their taste, preferences, habits, and lifestyle.
Even if you have gone through courtship for several years, marriage still offers a different challenge when sharing with another person. You will most likely experience some highs and lows, but it will depend on how you want your marriage to move forward.
If you have a bit of patience, understanding, and love for your partner, you can make the beginning of your journey joyous.
Problems You Are Likely to Encounter in the First Year of Marriage
Your first year may encounter some marriage problems, but your sweet moments should outweigh the bad ones. However, it is advisable to be prepared for the not-so-good times of the first year.
Here are the likely challenges you might encounter in your marriage:
- Never-ending conflicts: You may still be getting used to your partner, and conflicts will arise even on small issues like leaving the toilet seat up. However, you should avoid prolonging these arguments; you need to take a deep breath and remain calm because for the conflict to end, one of you will have to take the high road and let go.
- Lack of romance: Your spouse may shy away from expressing their love, or they might not be the romantic type. You might be disappointed with this, but you can talk to them about your expectations.
- Selfish behavior: You may also feel your partner has selfish tendencies and ignores you. You can communicate your feelings to them politely.
- Debt and Financial Instability: Unforeseen financial challenges or your partner’s previous debts can strain your marriage.
- Any Kind of Addiction: This is a danger to the relationship in the first year and at any given time.
- Domestic Violence: It is critical to report any form of domestic violence immediately. You should not suffer in silence since nobody has a right to harm or torture you.
- Unrealistic Expectations: Having unrealistic expectations from your spouse or vice-versa is a recipe for disappointment in marriage.
- Spending insufficient time with each other: Spending quality time with each other, especially in the first year of marriage, is necessary since it allows you to know more about each other and cultivate a long-lasting bond.
Useful Things to Do in the First Year of Marriage
- Talk about finances. You should bring all your expenses together and share the financial burden. You need to plan your monthly expenditure instead of spending money arbitrarily and being broke before month-end. You should let your partner know about outstanding loans, huge credit card debts, unstable jobs, or probable financial crises.
- Plan for pregnancy. To be a parent comes with great responsibility and an additional financial burden. Before planning your pregnancy, you need to assess the family income, career plans, and any expected familial support. You should schedule an appointment with the doctor and understand the pros and cons before bringing a new life into your young family.
- Express your expectations. Most marriages suffer when your spouse’s expectations are too high or not communicated properly. To avoid such conflicts, you need to share your expectations with your spouse and have a clear understanding of theirs.
- Appreciate the importance of small gestures. Performing acts such as showing affection through body language, being proactive, and helping with household chores can bring joy and affection into your marriage.
- Show respect and be responsible. You should show respect to your spouse and your extended families. When you differ in opinion, you must express it politely and respectfully. You need to be responsible for all your actions.
- Don’t compete for superiority. Marriage should be considered as a union of two equals. You should not consider yourself superior to your partner. You need to accommodate and respect your partner’s views.
- Be your spouse’s strength. The first year is a transitional period for couples, and they change. It is important to be supportive, calm, and patient with your partner. You should be each other’s support system.
- Stop keeping score. It is not advisable to keep track of all the fights and favors you do for each other. It will do no good to your relationship. On the contrary, it will only spoil it in the long run.
- Nurture the relationship. You need to have quality time with your partner and pay attention to details. You must always comfort your partner no matter what life may throw at you. You should connect with your partner and let them be your priority.
- Communication. It is an important component of any relationship. Your marriage needs to have an honest conversation about everything and anything. Talking is the best way of improving your marriage.
- Give space. Quality time together is important, but sometimes your spouse may need some alone time, and you must give them that. They may also require time with their friends, which should be allowed.
The Seventh Year of Marriage
Another tough year for married couples is the seventh year. Couples dread the seventh year. Marriages collapse due to many reasons, but the idea that, around year seven, you and your partner will suddenly want to cheat or leave is not entirely accurate.
However, this has to do with the number of years; it has more to do with the marriage itself. Marriages go through a lot of struggles, but the fact is that, by the seventh year, a couple would have figured things out or not.
Marriages Stumble When Real Life Takes Over
As a married couple, you may experience decreased satisfaction, fulfillment, and overall happiness in your marriage, especially after the honeymoon period. These feelings increase during years two to seven of your marriage.
The so-called “itch” can occur at any stage of your marriage, especially if you have children. Children affect the marriage by causing an underlying disconnect, leading to the “itch” getting out. It is caused by a combination of factors such as responsibility, lack of time for oneself, diminished intimacy, and a sense of “is that all there is?”
If you find yourself experiencing the “itch,” rather than seeking comfort elsewhere, you can use another strategy. Move closer to your spouse whenever you feel attracted to another person. You can achieve this by making the relationship more sexual, communicative, intimate, and revealing yourself more.
Children Can Complicate Marriages
Most married couples have children in the seventh year of their marriage, especially if they have not had one yet. Your marital satisfaction goes down with the birth of each child. The complications of raising a child reduce the friendship in the relationship leading to more conflict. Sometimes men feel like they have been replaced in the relationship by the new baby.
As a couple, you should not dread the seventh year but try and combat the “itch” by addressing any underlying issues directly and do not let them fester. Marital conflict is there to make you understand your partner better because you can not be married and be right at the same time.
What to Avoid
- Inflated expectation. Couples file for divorce mostly in spring or the fall. Most try to give their marriage a second chance, but they get a divorce when it does not work.
- Silencing problems. Having discussions with your partner even about minor things such as movies or television shows reduces the risk of divorcing by a half. Therefore, it is important to talk properly about your family’s difficulties. It can save your marriage.
- Lack of skills to build relationships. Scientists believe that if you grew up in a big family, you could acquire the skills necessary to build relationships. These skills can help you save your marriage in the future.
- Not Listening. When one of you has no desire to listen, even if it is an argument, your chances of getting a divorce are greatly increased.
- Life in social networks. Twitter-related conflicts may sometimes lead to problems in a relationship, especially if one of you or both of you in the relationship is an active social network user.
- Financial arguments. When you constantly argue about finances as a couple, you are more inclined to divorce even if your incomes may be comfortable.
- Low education level. Research conducted concluded that people with higher education levels are less likely to divorce regardless of their gender or residence.
Every marriage needs work because you are guaranteed to face challenges. You don’t have to dread these stages but embrace them and learn how to cope. It is not a guarantee for you to go through these stages.