The 9 Hardest Things About The First Year Of Marriage, According To Happy Couples

As a culture, we’re obsessed with meeting soulmates, falling in love, and saying “I do.” The fairytale game is strong. But what we don’t talk about as much is what “happily ever after” really looks like. Even for couples who have been together for years, shared a home, and maybe even had kids—putting a ring on it comes with a whole new set of challenges and joys.To get a handle on the hardest things about the first year after tying the knot, we asked women in happy marriages (from newlyweds to those going on four decades) about some of the biggest hurdles they faced in the first year of wedded blissplus, how they moved past them. Consider this a roadmap to happily ever after for the long run.
Communicating your fears about the future

“Even for a couple that has been together for a long time, lived together, made financial decisions together, marriage changes you. All of a sudden this idea of forever lingers over every decision. It adds a level of intention and significance to every aspect of your relationship. That can be challenging and scary. Communication is key. When something is bothering me and I wonder ‘What if he does that when we have kids?’ or ‘How are we ever going to keep a three-bedroom house clean when we can’t clean the apartment?’ it’s important to express that. It might not be a fun conversation, but ultimately he’s the only one who can put me at ease.” —Naomi N., married six months

Identity crisis

“I’d say the hardest thing about the first year of marriage was dealing with a change in my identity. I felt like people treated me differently after I got married—calling me “Mrs. Andrew W,” for example. My husband was really great at supporting all of my professional goals and that kind of offset any weirdness I was feeling at my identity as a wife.” —​Ashley W., married two years

Learning to ride the waves

“Relationships are insanely difficult—I think the most important piece of a successful relationship is recognizing that there will be ups and downs. I have no idea why but sometimes I find my husband intolerable for no reason whatsoever and yet a week later will be madly in love with him (more so than even the early days). Whenever I’m finding him less than desirable, I remind myself that I’ll come around again and that it’s incredibly important to remember the long game, not the short one. I also recognize that you can love someone without liking them for a period. Understanding this difference is critical to surviving a marriage.” —​Kaitlin S., married six years

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