5 Tips to a Strong Start in Your First Year of Marriage
By Laura Burkey
You've found your dream partner
You're planning a dream wedding
You're hoping for nothing less than a dreamy honeymoon.
Well why not - you've earned it. You've invested time, effort, and a
good amount of compromise, to have all you've planned come off without a
So what are your plans for enjoying a dream marriage? Yes it is
possible, and Yes, you have to plan for it if you want to stick with the
dream theme you've already started.
There is a lot to making a marriage work well, and, trust me, your
first year of marriage will not be short of tests to show you just what I
Just as you wouldn't show up on your wedding day without having made
any and all the plans you did, don't start your marriage without some sort
of planning for how the two of you will grow and live together in love,
respect, trust, friendship and harmony.
While there is a lot to making a marriage great, here are 5 simple
things you can do now for a really strong start in your first year of
1. Talk about your Expectations.
Not of each other, but of the marriage you have
just entered together. Aside from the flowery vows you recite in the
wedding ceremony, tell your partner exactly how you translate
those vows in your own words and ask what those vows mean to him or her
personally. In other words be clear with each other what kind of
agreement marriage is and what you expect it will and won't change once
you are actually married.
2. Know what their needs are and share yours.
Find out what your partner will need to be their best as a husband
(or wife) and tell him/her what you think you'll need in the
relationship so that you can be your best too. For example:
"I need to be and feel listened to if I am to successfully work
through difficult issues that come along", "I need to feel
appreciated if you want help from me around the house", "I
need to resolve conflicts between us before ending the day or else I
will be a mess until we do".
Note: Your spouse cannot be responsible to fill or meet all of
your needs. So, when sharing needs, be sure that you also express to
each other what needs you can accommodate and which ones you think you
3. Agree to disagree.
One of the most common tests in the first years of marriage is
each spouse trying to convert the other to do or think or feel the same
as they do about everything, which naturally leads to disagreements
about - everything. This is also known as the Power Struggle.
You can avoid this by starting your marriage with the agreement that
you can and will disagree with each other about how things should
or should not be and you will not to try to bend each others will to
suit your own.
In situations where an agreement is a must for marital success, agree
to step away from your personal positions and come together to create a
compromise that you both agree on.
4. Be a Team!
Marriage is not a game so don't keep score on who the better spouse
is. You are playing a game and are indeed a score-keeper if you
regularly withhold saying or doing something for your soon-to-be-spouse
because he/she had (in your perception) withheld in some way or another
on you. This is how you break down a relationship not build one.
The goal in a great marriage is for each spouse to 'be for' and root
for the other spouse. Never tire on finding ways in which you can
understand your spouse and help him/her understand you.
5. Forgive! Forgive! Forgive!
Learn this skill in your first year of marriage and count on years of
happiness in return.
Those who cannot or won't forgive end up with a marriage that is
filled with hurt and distrust and spend most of their time consumed and
blinded by resentment.
Allow and forgive the screw-ups and mistakes you are both likely to
make, with the expectation of course, that you both learn from the
situation and not make it a habit.
Note: Forgiving is not to be confused with tolerating or
accepting certain (especially harmful and abusive) behaviors. Always
seek professional help anytime your health or life feels at risk or
About the author: Laura Burkey coaches her clients to
get the results they want! Read more at www.lauraburkeycoaching.com
Ms. Burkey is so committed to the work she does for her clients that she
founded the Coach Master Skill Group www.coachmasterskillgroup.com
an organization committed to on-going skill practice and development for
professional coaches dedicated to coaching mastery. Ms. Burkey is available
for individual, group, and corporate coaching. Workshops and speaking
engagements available on a limited basis.
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