Getting married is an exciting time! What marriage advice for newlyweds will help keep your relationship strong over time?
Almost all newlyweds start out highly satisfied in their relationship. How does it happen that two people so much in love lose their way? Good relationships go through highs and lows at different points in time. Some couples leave the relationship at their lower points or after the romantic stage wears out. Others, on the other hand, find a way to not only restore their bond but enhance it. They end up making their relationship even better. Couples need to develop the knowledge about relationship stages and relationship skills in order to navigate them successfully.
In historical terms, marrying for love is a recent idea. In most cases, it would have seemed absurd to our ancestors.
When we think about giving marriage advice to newlyweds, we have an egalitarian relationship in mind. And, ideally, we want the relationship to work in the long term as it worked in the beginning. We may be asking too much.
Some people have unrealistic expectations about relationships. Couples might make the wrong assumptions about what makes a relationship work. Here are some examples:
- We want our partner to be our best friend, companion, protector, playmate, and lover.
- We expect our partner to do exactly what we want, when we want it, and to be happily occupied with other things when we are busy.
- We expect our partner to enhance us in ways that go beyond who we are, making us feel wiser, more loving, more competent and never inferior.
- We want to merge with our partner, but we don’t want to be suffocated.
- We demand our partners to know our needs and communicate them with clarity, even when we are not so clear about what we want ourselves.
- We expect our partners to put up with our own imperfections and limitations, even as we have a hard time accepting theirs.
- We want to love our partners and never feel disappointed or let down.
Can love last?
Love is not static. Like rubber bands that stretch and retreat, love travels in natural cycles of closeness and distance. We can grow dissatisfied and move apart, but then affection returns and we pull together again.
Not aware of this process, some people pull away when the good times end and assume the bad times last forever.
Others misinterpret disappointments as loss of love. Couples might get into bad and rigid habits, retreat into affairs, or withdraw completely. Sometimes partners engage in mutual mistreatment. They feel let down. They fantasize about leaving.
What to do?
Marriage advice for newlyweds includes:
1. Check your assumptions and expectations
Review the above list of unrealistic expectations. Take a few moments to think about them and ask yourself how many of these expectations you have. How realistic are they in your relationship? What resonates with you? What can you commit to checking when you feel the expectations creep up?
2. Anticipate the downs
If you can see the ups and downs as a dynamic process, you can understand them as part of the relationship lifecycle. You’ll be more forgiving with yourself or with your partner. And, you can prepare to bear the turmoil and see beyond it.
3. Pay attention
We often hear that relationships need work. In truth, relationships need attention more than anything. When we stop paying attention to the relationship, distance and disconnection may follow. Anger and conflict is often a reflection of distance, not of something wrong with the relationship.
4. Create and schedule rituals of connection
Creating the relationship that you desire takes awareness and intention. Without care, your connection will slip away. Rituals are acts that you repeat on a regular basis. Rituals are habits that are chosen, created and practiced. Create and schedule both daily rituals and rituals for special occasions. This will solidify the sense of “we-ness,” which is so important to weather the ups and downs.
5. Have fun together
The memories of good times are antidotes for the normal disappointments and day-to-day routine of living under the same roof.
6. Learn how to discuss relationship issues
Newlyweds sometimes avoid talking about relationship problems because they think it signals there is something wrong with their relationship. Or, they get into bad communication habits. Learning to discuss relationship issues in a respectful, honest, and direct way is a skill you can learn.
To learn more skills for relationship success, try these relationship exercises.
7. Learn how to support each other in times of stress
Sometimes couples get off track because they don’t know how to respond effectively to their partners struggles. Learning to support our partners in times of stress is one of the most important pieces of marriage advice for newlyweds.
8. If your relationship starts to get off track, don’t ignore it
Some people wait too long to get the help they need. Because they wait, they might break up unnecessarily. You can learn new relationship skills, realign expectations, and disagree productively. Seek help as soon as soon as you feel your relationship needs it.
A few sessions of couples counseling or marriage counseling can help you get back on track.
Want more marriage advice for newlyweds?
Interview successful couples that you know and respect. Ask them the following 5 questions:
- What makes your relationship successful?
- How do you navigate the ups and downs of your relationship?
- How do you repair after a fight?
- How do you forgive?
- What advice would you give to newlyweds?