Marriage Your First Year: Concerns of Newlyweds
Source: Mississippi State University
Marriage can bring many changes to which you and your partner will have to adjust, especially in the first year. Some of these changes are eagerly anticipated; others are surprises that may cause unhappiness or even fear. Although many adjustments must be made, the investment in your marriage relationship makes it worthwhile and can even pay off better than expected. Any worthwhile commitment requires continuous maintenance. You cannot assume a good marriage relationship will develop by itself. A new marriage is much like a newly planted garden.
It has great potential for the future if it is well cared for. Just as a garden grows, so can a marriage relationship. It can start with excitement, happiness, joy and anticipation. With time, marriage can bring satisfaction, peace, comfort, contentment and pride. The rewards of a healthy marital relationship benefit those who give it proper attention.
Adjustments in all areas of marriage depend on the quality of the couple’s communication and on their mutual concern. Each partner is an individual. Respect each other and try to understand the needs of one another. Consider the following points in your efforts to develop a satisfying relationship: All aspects of a marriage are interrelated, including the sexual relationship. When outside stresses or conflicts arise, they can affect all areas of your relationship. Try to pinpoint your stressors and resolve them. Focus on your needs and your spouse’s needs–not on outside pressures. Avoid making sex a weapon in personal disagreements. Your conflicts may temporarily affect your sexual feelings for each other, but don’t deliberately punish or manipulate your partner with threats of withholding sexual pleasure. This leads to a vicious cycle that intensifies the original problem. Don’t assume you know all you need to know about sex and sexual functioning. The sexual aspect of marriage is important and should last throughout life. Make an honest effort to learn more about male and female sexuality. It is important for both partners to understand various methods of birth control. Share this major responsibility. Seek the advice of your health care provider. You owe it to yourself to know what is best for you. Identify your conflicts as a couple and resolve them. Be open, and work at communicating and achieving an honest and harmonious relationship. It is difficult to be romantic or sexually responsive when stresses or unresolved conflicts are on your mind. Sex is a major part of your relationship. Don’t be afraid to talk with your spouse about your feelings, desires, fears or fantasies. Discuss things. Share. Learn together. Help each other adjust. In sex, as in other areas of your life, it will help if you are friends as well as lovers.
When you marry, you not only take on a new husband or wife, but you also take on a new family. Technically, of course, you are not married to your spouse’s family, but your new relationship with your spouse will depend in part on how well you each get along with the other’s family.
Consider that a parent has played the parental role for many years. The parent has put much time, energy and self into a child’s development. In fact, the parents have developed a whole way of life that revolves around rearing their child. The marriage of a child may change things so dramatically that the parents have difficulty adjusting. They may want to continue their job of parenting, or they may want to live through their child. They don’t want to “lose” their child.
Additionally, the newly married person may still be largely dependent on his or her parents for emotional support. If this situation is a problem for the couple, it will require patience, understanding, good communication, and time to work through it. Both families have expectations of the newly married couple, which can create conflicts and disappointments.
These expectations often involve such things as where the couple will spend holidays and vacations. Over the years, families develop their own traditions and ways of thinking and behaving. It frequently takes time for the newly married partners and their families to adjust.
A Positive Approach
Developing good relationships with your in-laws results in positive benefits for everyone. Here are some suggestions for building a good relationship with your in-laws:
- Remember that parents still need concern and attention. Parents may fear rejection by the new son-in-law or daughter-in-law.
- Adopt a positive view of your in-laws. This will help you concentrate on good things and minimize problems.
- Respect your in-laws as family members of the one you love. Remember, they love your spouse, and he or she loves them. Never compete with your in-laws for your spouse’s love. Try to become a welcome part of that family.
- Share with your mate the responsibility for maintaining contacts with both families. Share in writing letters; calling; sending gifts; and planning visits, holidays and reunions. These efforts help to build family acceptance.
- Work out your own problems and avoid pitting your family against your spouse.
- Be careful of directing any anger you may feel toward your spouse toward his or her family.
- Confront your own problems with honesty and open communication.
- Avoid comparing your spouse’s family to your own. Comparisons can lead to defensiveness, rebuttals, unnecessary arguments and harsh feelings.
- Treat both families fairly and equally, and try to “stand on your own feet” as a couple.