Marriage and wedding are two very different things. Wedding is a ceremony where you form a life long relationship with someone you love. Marriage is a promise that you strive hard to keep, all your life. In a marriage you slowly start loving and appreciating your partner not just for their strengths but for their weaknesses as well. You don’t try to change them, you try to support them. You don’t look for their flaws, you look for their happiness. Mind you! It is a two way business and needs a lot more than just love to build a strong marriage.
Every newly married couple faces some challenges in the first year of marriage and that’s completely normal. The point is to realize the challenges and overcome them together because the problem is not with your partner but the situations every new couple faces. The most important thing is to keep your ego aside and think rationally. Always remember it is very easy to break something but it takes dedication and work to make something flourish.
1. Money – What’s Mine is Yours: Realize this fact. This can be a stressful shift for some people especially when one makes more money than the other. Every new couple finds themselves in a situation where issue with money arises. How much to spend? When to spend on what? These questions pop up many times.
When you find yourself stuck up in situations like these, sit down and discuss. Discuss your short term and long term plans. Share with each other what your priorities as a couple are? Is it to have a fancy vacation first or to own a new car? Discuss how much you want to save for the future. At the same time budget everything. Sort it in sections: Home Budget, Eat Out Budget, Shopping Budget and miscellaneous expenses. Once you have set a budget to everything, try your best to spend accordingly.
It is also easier to set aside money problems when you start feeling that it is your partner’s feelings and happiness that matters the most. This way you both will try to find out solutions that will make your partners happy.
2. In-Laws: Now this challenge is faced both ways. Both set of parents and their interference in your married life to an extent can create tension. The key is to remember one thing, first and foremost: Be respectful always. They are your partner’s parents. Be it the girl’s parents or the boy’s. The most important thing is to convey everything respectfully and have good opinion about them. Remember they belong to a different generation and so the way they behave or think will always be different.
Another important thing to keep in mind is to have a part of your marital life to yourself. Do not discuss your personal issues or challenges with any set of parents. First of all, this will give them stress which they do not need at this stage of life. Second, certain piece of information or matters are meant to be kept between the couple.
3. Time Management and Respecting Personal Space: When you have just got married, you just want to spend more and more time together. Remember to balance things out right from the start. Be a little more practical and understand that both the partners’ time will always be divided – Marriage, work, parents, friends and self. Respect each other’s personal space and avoid getting too aloof or too clingy. Both the partners need to decide how to maintain a balance between everything else in your life and your marriage.
4. Listen and Resolve: This is another big challenge. When you find your partner sharing his/her distress over something when you two are alone, try to listen patiently and find a solution that works well for both of you. Don’t discard their issues as nothing, understand them. Especially in Indian families where a girl leaves her house and comes to live with your family, understand that it is extremely difficult for her and even when she is trying her best to accommodate all the changes, she needs your support and love to do so. How you will react and act on her problems will determine how she will feel for you and your family.
5. Housework: You are one now. So no work is specifically assigned to just one person. The key is to help each other and make things easier for each other. Try to share the workload at house if you want to have a peaceful marriage. If one person will be toiling alone with no help in household chores, then he/she is bound to get irritated with time.
6. Intimacy: Often, especially in families where couples live with their parents, getting time for each other becomes challenging because everyone wants a part of you. Try to set time out for each other alone and find ways to spend time together. Sudden hugs and kisses can just keep the romance high. Find ways to just show some sweet gesture like helping in a chore, saying I Love You into your partner’s ears, or taking them out for a date night can actually keep your spirits high in tough times.
7. Extended Family’s Expectations: When are you having a baby? What is your future plan? Are you Buying a new house? Or something else. Everyone will ask you a question and best way is to smile and not answer. These things are meant only for you and your partner and try to avoid such questions by simply smiling or changing the topic subtly.
8. Annoying Habits: Habits that looked cute when you met twice or thrice a week can be extremely annoying when you live together 24*7. Making noise when eating, snoring, leaving towel on bed, not arranging wardrobes, being messy, talking loudly, getting angry on every small thing.. and many more habits can actually annoy your partner. The key is again two ways: Learn to take your partner’s criticism positively and try to work on your habits that annoy him/her and secondly, respect your partner for who they are and give them time and space to realize what’s bothering you. Each partner will have to do both.
Honestly, as time goes by you learn to readjust to your partner’s quirkiness and they often stop bothering you much.
Once you ace these initial hurdles in a marriage, you will find yourself living with a person who is your best friend, who knows you inside out and for whom you could literally do everything. Respect each other and each other’s families, try to think rationally and always out yourself in your partner’s shoes to understand their situation and you are good to go.