Best Advice for Newlyweds
(from a newlywed herself!)
Advice for Newlyweds... quite the broad topic I'd say! If you're a newlywed searching for some advice, you've come to the right place. In my wedded experience of nearly 3 years, here is what I have found to work and not work:
Advice for Newlyweds #1- Chores
For the first little while of your marriage, play it by ear. Don't become Mrs. Chore-Nazi and post checklists on the wall for who has to do what around the house!
Just give it some time and see who naturally gravitates towards certain things that need to be done. This totally depends on your work schedules, the size of your place, etc... so there's no way I can nail it down precisely for you here... sorry!
After some time you'll be able to tell who should be doing what. For us it's like this: Andrew cleans the bathroom and sweeps our place on weekends, washes the dishes every evening, and does a bit of lunch prep.
I do the cooking, grocery shopping, laundry, and take care of paying the bills and organizing social stuff for us. Pretty even split.
Enter the problem: what if your spouse isn't keeping up with his or her end of the "bargain"? You have the choice of reminding them kindly, reminding them again (aka nagging!), or doing it yourself. (By the way, let's assume that they don't have a good excuse for their slacking, such as having to work overtime or studying, etc).
Advice for Newlyweds: Work out the problem. Don't do their chores for them (because it will only build resentment in you), and don't nag too much... no one likes it! If, after talking to them about it a few times, nothing changes (or there's no consistent change), try coming up with a creative way to make your message heard.
For example, if someone isn't doing the dishes like he's supposed to (and they're piling up after a few days), try a little sticky note by the sink.
Can you see the sticky note on the top left of this picture?
If you can't, take a look at the zoomed-in version below:
If the sticky note doesn't work, try something a little stronger like writing him an email about it. It might sound a little lame, but sometimes people need to see things in writing to make it stick. Tell them what you want and why you want it.
For example: "I need you to do the dishes every night because it frustrates me that I cook nice dinners for you and then come into the kitchen the next morning and still see a big mess. We often don't have clean breakfast dishes because they're still sitting there from yesterday. Can you please make sure to work on this because it's driving me a little crazy, and I've spoken to you about this several times now. Thanks, and remember I love you!"
See... easy! Don't be nasty - just say it very directly and kindly. Ask them later on if they received (and read!) your email, and if there's anything they want to talk about. Keep the communication open, and if all else fails, try this friendly advice for newlyweds info on husband training!
Advice for Newlyweds #2- Frequent Little Arguments
Jenny and Jon have been married for 5 months. They get along super well for the most part and think they have a great marriage. However, lately they've been noticing a lot of bickering between them, and want it to stop. Here's the deal:
Jenny and Jon both have to get up at 6am for work every morning, so they've agreed to go to bed at 10pm together every night. Jenny stays up most nights till 9:55 watching cooking shows, realizes it's almost bed-time, and then spends an hour in the bathroom "getting ready for bed." Jon is frustrated.
Jenny and Jon have a busy schedule during the week and use the weekends to catch up and clean their house. They have split the chores fairly, and it's Jenny's job to clean the bathroom. However, on weekends Jenny gets sidetracked with getting her nails done, shopping, going out with friends, cooking, etc. The bathroom only gets cleaned every 3 weeks and Jon is getting grossed out!
Jenny and Jon used to have amazing sex. Now with all of Jenny's late-night cooking shows and weekend activities, it barely ever happens. So Jon brings it up with Jenny and they agree that they'll make time for sex every Sunday and Friday. However, every Sunday and Friday night Jenny curiously has a splitting headache or is "too tired." Jon feels hopeless.
Jon mentions these things to Jenny. She agrees to "work on it" and improves for a few days, but then it's back to the same old- same old. So Jon starts to frequently remind Jenny whenever these issues come up. Finally, Jenny snaps at Jon, "You're ALWAYS mad at me!" What is poor Jon to do??
Advice for Newlyweds: Pinpoint the issues and make a list of them. It may feel like one of you is "always mad," but if you figure out what the re-occuring issues are, you'll have a much better chance of fixing them. Using the above example, Jon could make a list for Jenny like this:
1. In bed by 10pm
2. Clean bathroom on Saturdays
3. Sex on Sundays and Fridays
Jon might choose to email this to Jenny, write it down where she can see it, make it into a little song or mantra, etc... be creative! He might say to her, "Jenny, if you nail this list, I will be happier 95% of the time and you won't feel like I'm "always mad at you."" This will be a great incentive for Jenny.
See how this is a LOT shorter than explaining each item to Jenny in ten sentences? It's punchy and remember-able, and certainly not too much to ask of Jenny!
Advice for Newlyweds #3- In-Laws
Some couples mesh great with their in-laws. Others don't. Assuming you don't and it's becoming a problem, the best advice I can give you is to be kind to your in-laws and don't burn any bridges! Remember, family is usually there even when all your friends aren't... so you definitely don't want to alienate them.
That, however, is not to say that you don't need some personal space to develop your marriage without the constant presence of in-laws. If you feel your in-laws are too involved in your marriage, talk to your spouse about it... they are, after all, his or her parents and they'll know much better "how to handle them" than you will.
Advice for Newlyweds: Get your spouse to call his/her parents and kindly explain that you need space to grow your marriage, and that you're your own family unit now.
Specifically you may want to:
-limit family dinners to once or twice a month
-go on holidays together for only one week (or weekend) a year
-have phone conversations just once a week
Thank them for their support, and let them know that you still love them and welcome their involvement in your lives... just not as frequently!
Advice for Newlyweds #4- Trying to Change Each Other
You may have thought that after your marriage your spouse would change into a more husband-y or wife-y kind of person. But take a step back and evaluate your thoughts here... why would a person change drastically just because you've had a massive party called a wedding? They are still the same person!
Yes, some things may have to be changed now... like maybe your last name and address, but basically you are still the same people you were when you were dating and engaged.
That's not to say that your spouse will never change, but it is to say that changes usually happen slowly. They occur as you live your lives together- not overnight. So... Advice for Newlyweds: be patient, use common sense, and love them as they are right now.
Advice for Newlyweds #5- Thinking in Terms of "Me" Instead of "We"
Before you got married, chances are that you were free as a bird... able to do what you wanted, when you wanted. No need to call anyone to check in, no need to cook for anyone else if you weren't hungry, and no need to run your financial decisions by someone else.
That, my friend, has now changed! If you are married, you NEED to consider someone else in your day-to-day decisions - your SPOUSE!! You can no longer keep living like you are still single, with the only difference being a flashy ring on your ring-finger.
Make a habit of thinking "WE" instead of "ME." This can play out in several ways, but here are a few examples:
Advice for Newlyweds: A little bit of consideration goes a LONG way
- if you're coming home late and your spouse is waiting for you, CALL them!
- if you're not hungry for dinner at dinner-time, check to see if your spouse is hungry before making the decision not to cook anything
- sudden urge to renovate your house? Check with your spouse before coming home with the cans of paint and sheets of plywood
- want to go out for the night (or away for the weekend) with your girl-friends/guy-friends only? Before making plans, check with your spouse to see if the two of you have anything special planned for that weekend, and if they mind that you go away
in all these examples, and many more like them. I'm sure you can think of some from your own marriage so far...
Remember that the point of all this is that you want to develop a GREAT marriage... not to tie you down.
The more you get used to thinking in terms of "we" instead of just "me," the closer you and your spouse will feel to each other, and the deeper your marriage will become.
And that is the mission you want to accomplish!
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