The First Year of Marriage: A Survival Guide

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Are you newly married and staring down that first year of marriage? While the honeymoon phase of a new marriage is beautiful, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, as you’re surely finding out! If you are looking for tips for your first year of marriage, you’re in the right place.

There’s a lot of change that happens in a relationship in the first year of marriage, so tips for newlyweds are often all about navigating that change with your new spouse in a way that is healthy and respectful for all involved. Sometimes it feels like major life events should come with a user manual, but since they don’t, we’ve created the first year of marriage: a survival guide here for you.

There are many difficult transitions in the first year of marriage, but so much of it is due to unrealistic expectations. Reading through these tips for the first year of marriage will hopefully help you know what to expect as the honeymoon phase passes and you and yours lay down the foundation of a healthy, fulfilling marriage that will last for many, many years to come!

The First Year of Marriage: A Survival Guide

Household Management in a New Marriage

A couple smiles inside while doing the dishes together.
Figuring out how to divide household responsibilities is an important task for newlyweds.

One of the most difficult transitions of a new marriage can be deciding on relationship roles and household management duties. Are you surprised at what your new spouse is expecting you to do around the house? Are you relying on them to do certain things they’re not doing? It’s important to sit down and have a conversation about how the household chores will be split up so there isn’t any confusion or resentment around this in the first year of marriage or beyond.

If you don’t already know each other’s love language, be sure to figure this out asap! It can help you both feel more heard and understood in the marriage.

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Sex in the First Year of Marriage

Transitioning from an unmarried couple to a married couple can cause shifts in sex drive in either direction! The important thing is to keep communicating with your new spouse about whatever you two are experiencing. Differing expectations around sex, particularly the frequency of it, is a common stumbling block in the first year of marriage, so be sure you and your spouse are having active conversations about expectations and experiences.

Your first year of marriage is the perfect time to build intimacy in your relationship that will serve as a strong foundation for the rest of your married life.

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Paperwork for Newlyweds

Yes, the first year of marriage comes with a surprising amount of paperwork! There’s a lot of paperwork required to merge two people’s lives lawfully, so give yourselves some grace during this transition period. Life insurance, health insurance, renters/homeowners insurance, and emergency contacts are just a few of the documents that need updated in the first year of marriage, and if one of you has changed your name, there’s even more to update like your social security card and drivers license. 

This isn’t a glamorous part of a new marriage, but it is real life! You guys signed up to share it all, not just the fun parts.

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Finances in the First Year of Marriage

A couple sits while looking at bills on their laptop.
Figuring out finances might not be the most fun thing you do as newlyweds, but it is definitely important!

Figuring out finances can be a very stressful part of the first year of marriage, but it is an absolute necessity. This is often worth an official sit down at the kitchen table to sort through what your shared financial life will be. While not common, some married couples maintain completely separate financial lives; if that will be the case for you, outline precisely what will be a shared expense and what will be kept separate. If you are combining finances, now is the time to determine what accounts will merge, what will remain separate, and where bills and debts will come out of. 

If you two find yourselves struggling to navigate these stressors during your first year of marriage, don’t hesitate to seek out a neutral third party who can help!

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In-laws and Outside Influences as Newlyweds

We all know the stereotype of overbearing in-laws, but the truth is that it doesn’t have to be a dramatic interference to have some negative impact on newlyweds. The first year of marriage is especially sensitive to outside influence, so whether it’s the in-laws or friends from your single days, you and your spouse will want to put forth the effort to strengthen and prioritize your new marriage to withstand any pressure from outside influences.

Boundaries are important in any relationship, and once you two marry, it becomes important to have shared boundaries as a couple, too.

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Life as newlyweds should be full of fun and beautiful experiences, but there are bound to be hiccups along the way as you both transition into your married life. While there is no official survival guide for newlyweds, there are certain things that are good to know during the first year of marriage, and those are the things we’ve tried to outline here. 

While you and your new spouse are learning the ins and outs of your shared life as a married couple together, don’t forget to stop and take it all in on occasion. You only get one first year of marriage, after all! Celebrate each new beautiful milestone as you reach it and don’t be afraid to keep reading and learning all you can about marriage. There are a ton of great podcasts and other resources out there for you two to explore together.

Marriage is a beautiful thing and we hope these tips for the first year of marriage help you and yours navigate your lives as newlyweds!

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