What Fights are Common During the First Year of Marriage?
1. What goes where?
Whether a couple has lived together for years or is cohabiting for the first time, after a wedding there is bound to be some restructuring of the space. Couples living together for the first time may have some major projects to undertake as they merge spaces together. Couples who have lived together for a while may need to make space for wedding gifts and setting up for the next chapter of their married lives together. Many couples who pride themselves in getting along well may surprise themselves getting so angry over furniture and decor. It may be important to explore the deeper meaning behind each person’s desires for the space they share. I encourage couples to go beyond a debate about aesthetics and functionality, and talk about what their vision and attachment to certain items means for them. What is special about this item you just have to keep? Is there enough representation of both of you in the space? Once each person feels heard and considered it may be easier to figure out how to best honor each persons things and ideas for their home.
2. That Wasn’t Supposed to Happen (right before, during, or right after the wedding)….
Weddings can be full of mishaps, small or large, hilarious or tragic. Such a big event with high stakes can set up a chance for partners to surprise each other, and that may not always be in a romantic way. I’ve worked with many newlywed clients whose main issue is something that happened surrounding their wedding that was unexpected and unintentionally hurtful. Often during the wedding is not the time to really hash it out, so they need to process it in their first years of marriage. It is important to see these missteps and misunderstandings as opportunities to better connect and understand each other next time.
3. Timelines Have Changed
Hopefully before getting married, the couple has talked about major life decisions such as whether or not they want to have children, where and how they want to live, job decision,s and more. The experience of planning and celebrating a wedding, however, may change things a bit. Most likely big life goals may stay the same, but timelines may have shifted. Reeling from the sticker shock of the wedding may push things back for one person, whereas the other person may want to speed things up after talking with lots of friends and family. It may be important to take some time and space from the wedding and live your lives together for a few months to a year before exploring any changes to your plans. With some space from the wedding daze, you two can feel more grounded in reality as you make new plans, or realize that the originals were closer to what makes sense.