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Adjustments in the Early Years of Marriage

When couples realize marriage is not what they expected, they often think life would have been better in a different marriage to a different person.  That, however, is not necessarily true.

Many couples experience some level of disappointment while adjusting to the first year of marriage.   One reason disappointment occurs is that American culture views a “happy” marriage as one with unending romance.  This romantic view leads to idealizing your spouse and the relationship unrealistically.  A second reason for disappointment is couples fail to see the “red flags” that were prominently displayed prior to marriage.

Spouses may accuse each other of changing after marriage, but more likely, they are now seeing each other without the benefit of “rose colored glasses.”  Once a spouse accepts the other for who they are, a bond that is durable, secure, and rewarding begins to develop.  Here are a few adjustments to try that can keep the relationship on solid ground:

1.    Look at this period as a normal transition that all couples experience and not necessarily as a sign of a bad marriage.  Have the view that the marriage interactions need to change, not the partners.

2.    Concentrate on changing yourself rather than trying to change your spouse.  Talk with your spouse with the intention of giving feedback vs. giving criticism.

3.    Share your feelings with your spouse, but watch how you approach the subject.  “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling like things are different than I expected” can open the door for discussion.  Your spouse may also feel disappointment and the need for change.  Discuss the changes that would make the marriage more rewarding for each of you.   A counselor may be needed to assist you in learning to talk with one another in this way.

4.    Strengthen the marital commitment.  Instead of using energy wishing for someone else (with whom there will be just as many or more adjustments), invest effort in being a better partner.

5.    Pour on the positives.  One of the simplest and most significant things a couple can do is ignore the negative. Instead, shower each other with positive appreciation, praise and affection.  Strong marriages need a balance of five positives to one negative.

A healthy marriage grows as the individuals in it change and mature.  Adjustments are an opportunity to strengthen the connection between you.  Don’t fear change, it can be a good thing..

If we can be of service to help you strengthen your marriage, please contact us at 918.745.0095

Lois Trost, M.S.W., LCSW

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