The First Year of Marriage
The first year of marriage is hard and barely anyone speaks or writes about it. Marriage is marketed as a wedding in the West and as a continuation of family and tradition for others throughout the world, but that’s not what mainstream media and marketing wants to sell you, and most certainly not your parents, your religion, or even your friends. It’s been done for centuries, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone is able to deal with it at first and it sure as hell doesn’t come naturally to all of us. The first year of marriage is incredibly hard for some, as it is a transitional phase that leads to many changes down the line, both for you and for your spouse.
Many people assume that the first year of marriage is the best – and for some, it certainly is. Others just continue to live their life normally, but there’s some nagging feeling like this isn’t what you expected it to be, but you just can’t place your finger on what’s wrong. The sex may be great, and you guys may get along, because you do – but when that uncertainty sets in, and especially when you consider and deal with the baggage that comes with marrying another person, things can get really rough, really fast. There are new habits to take into consideration, new values and a whole set of family that comes with the package; family that you may or may not get along with and habits that you may find to be annoying. Don’t assume it’s easy for your spouse either, because he or she has to deal with the same new circumstances as well. But sometimes you get a little bluer, a little angrier, a little more disillusioned than you think you should. You’re not alone – but you need to wake up.
I’ve been there. It’s hard, but I can attest that it’s rewarding because marriage changes you and not only changes you, it can make you a better, more realistic person, and you will learn with time to see reality for what it is.
It’s hard, that first year, if you were used to waking up and seeing your parents and siblings but you also have someone who chose to be with you for you – and that’s a beautiful thing. Marriage itself is exciting and tiring, beautiful and surprising, and sometimes we are drunk with this new-found sense of freedom and this new level of the relationship. One must keep in mind though, that that millions of people marry based on tradition, not love, and for them, marriage is a step that is drastically different from what they were used to, and their emotions are everywhere.
Sure, there are plenty of exceptions when it comes to this article – some people are very, very happy during their first year of marriage regardless of how they got married. But I guarantee you that it will hit you at some point, whether you’re 25 or 35 or 40, that marriage is a real sacrifice, and sometimes it can be a bitch. Sometimes, that marriage won’t work either, and that is usually for the best. But don’t automatically assume it won’t work; sometimes, it really is a matter of communication and if both are committed to making it work, it will.
Sometimes people leave in the first year, and that alone is stressful without the speculation by others of what went wrong. This is something that needs to be addressed, sometimes you feel trapped, but you just don’t do what your heart tells you to because of what people think. And it’s so easy to tell someone to fuck what people think, to disregard it and get a divorce and do what makes you happy, but if you’ve been there, you know it’s not that simple. You can’t tell a woman from a traditional society for example, that she should “just go” – she can’t. The same applies to men, who also feel the pressure of marriage but also are having a hard time adjusting. It’s not going to be realistic to assume that another person thinks the way you do, or that you’re always rainbows and sunshine and a pleasure to be around. Marriage is sometimes a shedding of a previous self that entails a whole lot of sacrifice. And sometimes it hurts, and other times, you might even regret what you did – but there is always a way.
If something is seriously wrong with the marriage – I urge you to think of yourself. You do not deserve and should not stand to be cheated on, abused either physically or mentally, or live with an addict who refuses to change. You should however, make sure that if you feel disillusionment, it may all be in your head. What are you expecting out of this relationship? It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes you are wrong, and you justify your actions in your head. Sometimes you yell at your spouse and say things to intentionally hurt them because you are hurt. But this will not serve you well in the long run – you will create a monster known as bitterness that becomes apathy with time.
Always remember, your spouse’s life has changed too. Not just yours.
It’s a sign of growth when you learn to function with your partner as one unit.
Yes, the first year of marriage is hard. But it’s a transition and change does not always have to be smooth. Do you really know your partner before you assume your partner is not for you? Do you really care about the opinion of your partner? Did you really give it your all, and did you really do what is for the benefit of this relationship? You may think you do, but think about how you react when something doesn’t go your way. Did you ever consider something from your partner’s perspective, and did you ever think that they also have feelings and opinions about you as a person? Most importantly, how much would you like you if you were in the place of your spouse? This isn’t however, limited to your first year of marriage, these questions are questions you should think about every so often, to evaluate its health.
So yes, the first year of marriage is hard, but look at the bigger picture; it will change the way it is meant to, and it will get better if it was meant to be. If not, you will find a way but never settle for abuse. Don’t give up on your marriage if it can be fixed; because finding a true partner, a real companion, and someone who actually gives a damn about you is one of the best things you can have to add and enrich your life.