In this article, I share 10 tips for newly weds to survive their first year of marriage. Marriage is one of the major milestones in a person’s life, and understandably many people are nervous about how they will survive marriage because it is a completely new experience for them. Having been married for over 10 years, I hope that this Marriage Survival Guide should provide some useful tips in’sha’Allah.
Before I share the tips, I would like to remind you that most single people have only ever had to worry about themselves, and the biggest challenge when getting married is that you are not the only person that matters – you have to consider another person’s feelings and needs. This is the biggest sacrifice in a marriage.
The more compatible that you are with your husband/wife, the easier marriage will be because you will be on a similar wavelength and marriage will be more like living with your best friend rather than “your spouse”.
1. Really Get To Know Each Other
During the first year of marriage, you will get the chance to really get to know your spouse, especially if you live together straight away. You will get to see your spouse at their best and certainly at their worst. You will no doubt come across habits or personality traits in your spouse that you do not particularly love or even like. However, marriage is about accepting each other’s flaws and imperfections, as long as the bad does not outweigh the good, and as long as the bad is nothing too serious (like violence or emotional abuse).
2. Do Not Give Up After The First Argument
It is sad when some couples do not give their marriage a fighting chance, and their first major argument leads to divorce. If you truly love and care for someone, you would give them a chance and not give up on them after the first real disagreement. Just as you would make up with your siblings/friends after an argument, you need to give that same chance to your spouse. Resolving issues with your spouse after an argument requires maturity, communication and patience, and as long as there are no serious issues, there is usually a way forward for both husband and wife. This is not applicable when there is violence/abuse accompanying the arguments – get away from anyone or anything that endangers you physically and emotionally.
3. Do Not Try To Control Your Spouse
When you get married to someone, it does not mean that they become your property. It is important to allow your spouse to have the ‘freedom’ they enjoyed before marriage, for example, lunch dates with friends. The worst thing a husband/wife can do is to attempt to restrict or control their spouse, even if they are doing it with their spouse’s best interests in mind. Controlling your spouse can be suffocating, and instead of bringing your spouse closer, it will push them further away. If your spouse has broken your trust, then placing a few restrictions may be necessary, but to control your spouse when they are doing nothing wrong causes more harm than good.
4. Break Off Contact With Exes
This may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many newly-married people will retain contact with exes or ex-potential partners. Even worse, they will continue to flirt with acquaintances of the opposite gender like they’re still single. Cut off all unnecessary contact with the opposite gender who you may have had even a little romantic inclination. Why cause your spouse to have even a niggling suspicion about your reasons for keeping in touch with people who are not actually your friends? These acquaintances will not make a difference to your life in future, so stop holding on to dead weight.
If there’s one tip you need to take away with you, it is that every marriage requires compromise. Sometimes, you will have to do things to please your spouse that you may not necessarily feel like doing. For example, you may be that husband who has to accompany his wife to the latest chick flick at the movies which is the last thing he wants to do. Or maybe you’ll be the wife who sits next to her husband who shouts things at the TV screen for almost 2 hours while grown men kick a ball around a field. Suck it up 🙂
Compromise is especially important for sex. Sometimes, you may not feel like having sex, or maybe you really want to but your spouse doesn’t feel like it. As an understanding husband/wife, you should sympathise with your spouse, but you should also attempt to fulfill his/her needs even if you don’t feel like it at times (because that is what compromise looks like). Sex, for men in particular, is a physical need like eating or sleeping, and it can occasionally cause men physical pain if they do not have that physical release. As the wife, it is your job to provide that release, unless he has a 2nd wife. If a wife is not satisfying her husband, it does not give him the right to seek pleasure elsewhere, and sex should never be used as a weapon or held back for no valid reason. It is important to communicate with your spouse and reach an understanding where both parties feel cared for and that their needs are being met.
6. Don’t Be A Pushover
Marriage is a two-way street, and is built on give and take. In some marriages, the dominant partner can lay down the law and do all the taking, while the other half is expected to give all the time. This may work for some couples, but the important thing is that both parties are happy. If you are unhappy with they way your spouse is treating you, put your foot down and do not allow them to walk all over you. In other words, don’t be a pushover. Marriage works best when it is a partnership. In the first year of marriage, it is important to set the tone for the rest of your marriage. Do not create unnecessary expectations for your spouse, for example, 3 lavish meals daily and a spotless house. If you will not be able to keep it up 5 years into the marriage, don’t do it in the first year of your marriage just to impress your spouse.
7. Jealousy Kills The Marriage
A little jealousy is good, but too much jealousy is a destructive force in a marriage. It is normal to feel jealous if your spouse pays attention to another woman/man, but when you feel jealous at the smallest glances which are most probably innocent, then your jealousy is becoming a problem. Remember, your spouse chose to marry you and to be with you, not the other woman/man that you are feeling jealousy towards. Unless there is blatant flirting or checking out, do not let jealousy ruin your marriage.
8. Do Not Air Your Dirty Laundry
However tempting it may be, do not share your marital problems with your family/friends/workmates. There is no need to share such personal details about your married life, and the only person you should be talking to about your marital problems is your spouse as that is the only person who will be able to resolve the issues with you. Yes it may be comforting to let off steam about your spouse to your nearest and dearest, but they can’t really help you, and it can sometimes cause them to feel happiness at your misery. Again, if there are serious problems like violence, you definitely need to speak to someone and tell the police.
Marriage definitely requires lots of patience. It will take time to really get to know your spouse and become true garments for one another. As with any situation in life, patience is key.
Don’t forget to enjoy your new spouse. The first year of your marriage is a special time, without many worries and responsibilities, for example, bills and babies, and you will not get this time again until retirement probably! Go on holiday, go on lots of dates and have as much fun as you can 🙂