Surviving the First Year of Marriage

Top Ten Tips: Creating a Successful Foundation in your First Year of Marriage

by Cheryl Marks-Young

We have all heard the statement, "the first year is the hardest". Can you picture the person who first said that to you? Did they seem happy about being married or were they proclaiming their happiness through gritted teeth? Does hearing the first year is the hardest really make you want to get married if you are still single? Have you witnessed your parents or married friends fighting or complaining about the difficulties of being married. Have you been the recipient of the famous comments, "you just don't know how hard it is" or "the grass is always greener" or "I hope one day you find out how tough it is to be married"? Have you been told you are too "pie-in-the-sky" or too "romantical" about what marriage really means?

Are you ready to have that "blissful" experience you think of as marriage and not the one those people complain about? If you are ready to have a fabulous and fun entry into the World of Marriage, then this article is for YOU.

A successful Marriage as anything else in this world, begins with a good foundation. You are responsible for creating that foundation. I know it seems like it might be a bit of work and it can also be a lot of FUN.

  1. A good foundation starts with the familiar catch all phrase of "Self-Love". If you both take care of yourselves and take responsibility for your own happiness, then you will be very powerful in creating happiness with each other. Be responsible for yourself and for your actions. Know that taking care of yourself is a key component to a good foundation and a key ingredient to a successful marriage.
  2. A sense of humor in the face of the everyday stuff, can be very powerful for your relationship with yourself and with your partner. It allows for creative solutions to otherwise challenging situations. Learning how to laugh at yourself and learning to not take life too seriously can create some very fun evenings that you will both be talking about for years to come.
  3. Create an agreement that only one person can be crazed at a time and stick with the agreement. If your partner comes home from a bad day at the office and needs to blow off steam by complaining, give them the space to do that as long as you are not being harmed by the situation. Wait until they are finished before jumping in with complaints from your day. This is about making sure that both you and your partner feel heard and listened to and goes a long way in feeling appreciated and acknowledged.
  4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. The caveat here is to communicate without criticism. Your partner needs to know when they have stepped on your boundaries or when they have harmed you. You are BOTH individuals that deserve to be treated well and sometimes we make mistakes and occasionally we hurt each other unknowingly. You need to share your needs in a calm and non-critical way. You also need to make space for your partner to share their side of the story. If you both can understand where you are coming from then you will know how to take care of each other in the future.
  5. Do not complain to your friends, your family or your partner's family about them. Even though you think these comments might be made in confidence, the criticism about your partner will be felt by them. Somehow we all know when we have been spoken about in a critical way. Even if we are not present, we still know. This can be a powerful force on your relationship. Unless you are being harmed in a way that requires the help of friends and family, keep your personal complaints between you and your partner. So, if your partner is sloppy around the house, do not share this with six friends unless you are seeking real help to resolve the situation. If this is the case, then you might want to speak with a coach or another qualified individual who can be constructive and objective in solving your situation.
  6. Share responsibilities and acknowledge and use each other's strengths to get the everyday things accomplished. We don't often like to hear this but sometimes other people can do things better than we can. There is nothing wrong with letting your partner wash the dishes if you are the better cook - or taking turns depending on who wants to cook. The same thing with cleaning the bathroom or doing the laundry or paying the bills or keeping track of Birthdays or whatever else needs to get done. There is also the other alternative of doing some of the chores together (i.e., food shopping or laundry). Express appreciation for the hard work your partner did to handle the bills or cook a fabulous dinner. This will go a long way in creating a successful foundation for your Marriage.
  7. Greet your partner every day with a hug and a kiss and say I Love You at least once a day. Whether it is the first thing you do upon waking up or the first thing you do when they arrive home at night, this is a powerful way to reaffirm your bond every day. It is also a pleasant way to reconnect with each other. It is also powerful to say "Goodnight" to each other before going to bed.
  8. Find something to appreciate about your partner every day and communicate that to them. It can be as simple as a Thank You for throwing out the garbage or telling them you love them in the color shirt they are wearing or simply telling them you love waking up next to them. This communication needs to be honest and sincere and can be extremely powerful in putting a smile on your partner's face when they are having a bad day.
  9. Create some quiet time for yourself and your partner to be alone separately and to also be alone together. It is important to spend some time apart to allow each of you to recharge and do your own thing. Read a book or take a walk or go out with friends. Do whatever it is that you love to do when you need to recharge yourself. Sometimes you can be alone while you are both in the same house. My husband sometimes watches TV while I read a book and vice versa. We both do what helps us recharge and we can be together yet apart in the same space.
  10. Celebrate and acknowledge your Anniversary monthly and do this with other important events (i.e., your first date, your first kiss or whatever makes you smile). You can do this with just an acknowledgement or a card or even an occasional dinner out. My husband and I celebrate the Anniversary of our First Date every year by riding the Staten Island Ferry. Creating a tradition of your own can be very fun and it keeps the romance going.

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About the Author

Cheryl Marks-Young is the Founder and CEO of Creative Blueprints, LLC. and Creator of The Perfectionist Guide E-zine. For hundreds more tips on personal & professional relationships and creating a Perfect Life for YOU, sign up for your FREE monthly subscription to The Perfectionist Guide E-zine at or by sending an email to

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