If you just got married and are still in the honeymoon phase of your relationship, then you are probably feeling really great about the future and looking forward to the day you start a family. Perhaps you have that nagging feeling that marriage isn’t all that it seems, or that there may be trouble ahead. If so, don’t fret. Even when your relationship is on solid ground, you’ve been warned that things change as you become more settled, especially after you start having children. Thankfully there are ways to avoid common relationship mistakes that often creep up during the honeymoon phase.
Discuss the Issues. You know you have issues. Whether it’s money, religion, or decisions about when to have children or where to live, it’s likely that you have some idea that you and your spouse isn’t necessarily on the same page. Sometimes people advise you to just be patient and let the problems work themselves out, but this is usually not wise. When it comes down to serious decisions, you’re better off discussing them now rather than having someone decide for you later on, or having them blow up into a relationship-jeopardizing fight. There’s no reason why your relationship has to be threatened by a disagreement over a significant issue. You have plenty of time to work out the pros and cons and find a compromise. Just remember, you have to start now.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. When it comes to more minor issues, like your annoyance about the way he brushes his teeth, you should take a page out of self-help books and don’t sweat the small stuff. There is no possible way to be in a relationship where the other person doesn’t do little thins that annoy, frustrate or get on your nerves. However, remember, you do things that naturally aggravate him too. Since these small things are not big deals in the grand scheme of life, take Anna’s advice and let it go.
Money Talks. In an ideal world, you and your spouse would’ve talked about money in detail before you ever got married. In the real world, people tend not to discuss money, even with the person they are about to marry! This is a big one, since unless you are both independently wealthy, there are bound to be times where money is very tight. How will you handle the situation when it arises? Will you be on the same side of table on things like debt, credit cards, risk, retirement, vacations and other issues? The only way to find out is to sit down and make a budget. Creating a budget isn’t just about battling for control over finances. Instead it’s a starting point for getting to know each other better. Maybe your spouse has little tolerance for debt, but you feel more comfortable with a higher debt level. Perhaps she wants to spend on lavish vacations, but you would rather settle for a weekend away. Discussing money doesn’t need to be scary, but it will be if you put it off too long.
Have Constructive and Calm Conversations. One reason to work on your communication skills is to avoid having everything spill out later on in a terrible argument. Many couples like to avoid conflict at all costs. This has the unfortunate effect of making both parties resentful and letting grievances pile up. Don’t do that. Make plans to have periodic check-ins where you discuss what’s going right and what needs a little work. Take the time out to do this over a quiet dinner or cup of coffee. Make sure you give your partner full attention. There are few things more infuriating than trying to discuss a serious issue while your partner won’t take his eyes off of his phone or the game on TV. Be respectful and calm.
Don’t Drag Your Families and Friends Into Your Arguments. It’s natural to need some support and friendship outside of your marriage. In fact many couples find it essential. But try to avoid letting your friends and family watch you fight. There will be pressure for them to pick sides. The same goes for sharing too much with your family and friends. There is always the risk that you will turn them against your spouse, and that means you won’t have an objective ear in your corner. Others can’t fight your battles for you. What’s worse is when your family has limited time with your spouse. They may only view him through your eyes, when your fights are at their worst. This can have disastrous consequences.
Share the Love. This one is by far the easiest thing to do. Celebrate the good moments, even if they’re small moments. Tell your spouse you love them. Don’t make your check-ins and discussions all about serious things or problems, or else you will both begin to dread talking to each other, and you will clam up. Make it your goal to find something positive about your relationship every day – and share it! You will be surprised at how much better your spouse will feel when you offer compliments, love and support on a daily basis. Give it a try!