When my husband and I got married, we were coming off a long engagement and were excited to finally start our new life together. I was under the impression that getting hitched would mean our relationship was going to get easier, and for some aspects that was true, but for others it was actually more difficult.
Newlywed life can be a huge adjustment, especially if you don’t know what to expect. Here are my four tips for making the adjustment to it a little easier!
1. Set Boundaries
This tip is the one I find to be most important. There is actually a book called, “Boundaries” that I recommend to everyone in my life, regardless of what their relationships are like. Having issues with boundaries with any of your relationships, whether it be with family, friends, or your work, will impact your marriage.
When you get married, you enter a battle with the rest of the world for your spouse’s wellbeing. Dynamics in many of the previous relationships will change, and your spouse will likely be less available than they were before to other people.
Normal, healthy people will recognize that this is just a part of life that is to be expected, but toxic, emotional vampires will do whatever they can to thwart any boundaries put in place.
Sometimes it looks like pouting, temper tantrums, the silent treatment, threatening, emotional abuse and manipulation, or even the toxic party acknowledging the situation directly by saying, “I don’t understand why you are setting boundaries with me!” Healthy people set boundaries with each other, but toxic people believe they are above the necessity.
Unfortunately, toxic people tend to show themselves as such when you get married, so be on guard and be ready to defend the boundaries you and your spouse set. If you give an inch in a moment of weakness early on when you establish your marriage, these people will know they can take, and will take much more than an inch. It only gets harder to set boundaries after that, so my advice is to stick to your gut!
You might think you and your spouse had great communication skills before you got married, and as a result, you may find yourself relax a little and not put as much effort as you did before the wedding. This is not a good thing!
Communication is a building block in a relationship. It is like the muscles in your body. If you don’t use it often, it will atrophy the same way a muscle will. It is better to consistently work on it rather than letting the skill atrophy and essentially have to relearn it later.
3. Spend Time Apart
Spending time together as a couple is great, and if you had a restrictive courtship instead of traditional dating, spending time alone together might be novel for you.
Unfortunately, it isn’t really good to spend copious amounts of time together when you get married, because it means you’re likely neglecting your community of friends and family.
This can cause tension and frustration in a marriage, and you might not realize this behavior is causing it. Too much of a good thing is simply too much and you need to make sure you maintain balance in your life.
4. Intentional Time Together
It is easy to assume that after you get married, you will have more time with each other than you did when you were engaged. This is often true, but it is a different kind of time, or rather, a different quality.
Just because you spend more time together doesn’t mean it will be quality time together. When you are engaged, you intentionally go on dates and go to social functions as a couple, but when you are married it can be easy to fall off the wagon with dates and other activities that serve as an intentional pursuit of your spouse.
This definitely isn’t something you want to neglect, so it is wise to plan ahead and decide how and when you will be setting apart time to bond together as a couple (and for the record, sex shouldn’t be the only time you do this).