The truth about the first year of marriage (Part two)

In part one, we mentioned that there are usually unpleasant, unexpected discoveries during the first year of marriage (if your lucky). For the unlucky ones, they get to make these realisations after 2 to 5 years and it is much harder to deal with.

Other than in-laws, money and the scary realisation that you are with this person until death do you part, there are other discoveries that make the first year of marriage tough.

Not everyone wants you to be happy in your relationship

For every happy couple, there is someone out there who wants them to be unhappy. Most of the time it is an ex or a jealous ‘friend’. Sometimes it is people much closer to you like siblings or parents. Occasionally, it is just some random person who you barely interact with.

For those close to you, they will always be quick to point out your partner’s weaknesses and be more than willing to assist you to leave them. They will exaggerate the tiniest mistakes and have dramatic reactions like “That bustard! How could he come home more than 30 minutes later than usual? He must be cheating. You should just walk out. Let me help you pack…” For those who may not be so close to you, they will probably start spreading rumours either about you, or your spouse. Ladies are notorious for this. Some things they say may be true, but it will probably be the kind of stuff you wouldn’t want the whole world to know. They will gladly “assist” you in spreading the word. Others will quickly point out your weaknesses, perhaps in the hope that your significant other will find them highly unappealing and leave you.

Ironically, these will be the people who try to appear supportive & tell you things like “I am happy for you” with broad plastic smiles. So it will be difficult to tell that they are not the best people to interact with or share personal experiences with. Therefore, remember that marriage is about two people. Put your spouse first and be extremely careful who you turn to for advice.

Friendships tend to change

When you get married, life changes. You can no longer be going out late every night or coming home staggering every weekend. You should not  dress in ways that are too provocative. Things change even more when you have children. Now you are parents and you need to set an example for your children. You now have 2 priorities which you did not have before marriage: your spouse and your children. Your conversations change, your activities change, your goals change. This tends to lead you to create friendships with people going through a similar phase in life. All the circumstantial friendships for pleasure will probably die. The only remaining friends will be the true friends, & possibly also the self-interested friendships from which you tend to benefit in one way or another(most probably business-related). It may become difficult at this time to find things to talk about with your high school friend who is single, still partying often and considers their career their priority.

It is OK to get new friends who have similar goals. Sometimes, friendships are for a season, for a reason. Enjoy them while they last, & don’t spend to much time chasing after friends you no longer have much in common with when you start drawing apart. Let things flow naturally.

Understanding & compromise will make you love your spouse more

Sounds cliché doesn’t it? Well, the truth is cliché. What all the magazines and TV shows say is true: you need to strive to understand your partner, accept them, & make compromises to be happy. Partners who do not understand their spouses find themselves always trying to change something about them and getting frustrated when they do not change. Common misunderstandings that tend to arise in marriage are “why do you drink?” “why do you come home late?” “why are you flirtatious with other people?” Often before even understanding why, partners focus on trying to change that habit & almost never succeed. To fully understand your partner, you need patience and prayer. Patience because it could take years (literally) to understand some of your partner’s habits & prayer because you need God’s grace to have such patience. Once you understand them, you need to accept them and then make compromises. Funny enough, many people tend to stop their bad habits when their spouse stops bashing them.

 

The 6 common but unexpected discoveries during the first year of marriage mentioned in part 1 and 2 are examples given by about 12 different couples who were interviewed by Pendotalk. If you go into marriage having these expectations, it is much easier to handle, and possibly even prevent any misunderstandings that may arise. All the best!

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