Congratulations! You are now a married couple and together you have many years of love and happiness ahead. However, there are also many obstacles that you will face now and in your future. It is important that these obstacles are overcome as a team with clear communication and flexibility. Many of the hurdles you will face and the way in which you work through them will set the groundwork for your life together. When handled successfully, these incidents can strengthen your relationship and provide for a healthier and happier future. As your local Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach, CA therapist, I have put together a list of three potential obstacles that you may face in your first few years as a married couple and how to successfully work through them.
As a married couple you now have the ability to merge your finances. Many couples begin to take on the mentality of “what’s mine is yours”. However, for some people, this can be a very stressful shift, especially if one member makes significantly more money than the other. Learning how to balance your financial situation can be a challenge for a single person, let alone a couple.
If you find yourselves arguing or disagreeing over finances, it is important that you both take some time to have an open discussion about your viewpoints and values regarding money. Discuss your spending habits both short term and long-term to ensure that you have a clear understanding of one another’s beliefs about budgeting and finances. Questions that can be asked are, “Do you prefer to spend more on a larger scale all at once, such as a big vacation, or more frequently in small spurts, such as a shopping spree?”, “What are your future financial goals?”, and “Do you want to buy a house in the next five years?”. These questions can help you determine both your individual and shared goals. This enables you to remain responsible for your personal spending habits by laying the groundwork for your finances as a team.
As a married couple it is natural that you will be spending more and more time together. However, this can sometimes cause resentment if one of you feels as though your interests, hobbies or friends outside of your relationship are being compromised. To prevent resentment from building, it is important that both of you continue to maintain your relationships and activities outside of your marriage after you are married.
This can be accomplished by setting realistic and attainable expectations for yourselves. For example, rather than having dinner with each other every night of the week, you should each pick a night or two where you plan separate dinners with friends or family members. Continue to participate in your regular hobbies and activities because doing so will allow you to bring a happier self to your relationship. An important part of maintaining a healthy and happy marriage is finding a balance between time spent together and time spent apart.
As you transition into married life, one issue that can emerge is a lack of intimacy. Now that you are married, your priorities shift and sometimes your intimate life can be pushed farther and farther down the list. Your busy schedules can often get in the way of enjoying special time for just the two of you. When you are trying to balance all the distinct areas of your life, intimate connection with your spouse can often be sacrificed.
If you feel that you and your significant other have lost some of the intimacy that first ignited your connection, it is important to actively make the time and effort to bring it back as a priority in your relationship. Doing so may include scheduling a date night where you only focus on each other. Agree to turn off the TV, silence your phones, and take away any other distractions and simply enjoy each other’s company.
The list above includes a few of the issues that my couple’s therapy clients often face in their first few years of marriage. If you find that you are facing similar challenges in your relationship, contact me today by phone or email me and we can start addressing those areas in your relationship that need strengthening. I look forward to hearing from you soon!