Marital Growing Pains

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Q What are some of the growing pains a newlywed couple could face?

A Spouses are well-served by being on the same page. Some of the most common complaints from newlyweds  revolve around division of labor and in-law intrusiveness.

Division of labor within the household is no longer as clearly prescribed by gender as in the past. Discussing what the two of you envision as a well-functioning household, and then determining which partner fulfills which roles can minimize the risk of wrong assumptions. It’s possible that roles may shift or be shared over time as circumstances change. Besides, some couples may organically fall into their respective roles (whether it be because one person most desires that role, one person is best-suited to that role, or having that responsibility taken care of is of most importance to one person).

In many cases negotiation of household roles (ie bill payer, cook, housecleaner, primary breadwinner) can be helpful in minimizing the risk of day-to-day frustration.

One of the many life-enriching aspects of marriage is the golden opportunity to welcome new family members into your life.  Relationships with parents-in-law, sisters-in-law, and brothers-in-law can be extremely  life-enhancing for a couple.

That said, in-law issues can be a source of considerable marital conflict if spouses are at loggerheads with respect to how much family input both partners desire and need.  While ours is widely described as  a “family-centric” culture, what that means exactly in terms of expectations can vary greatly from individual to individual. Redefining boundaries with parents may be warranted, and in such a case the couple is well-served when each partner assumes the responsibility of communicating such boundaries to their respective families of origin.

In addition, if one of the partners feels continuously disrespected and/or hurt by the behavior of his/her new family members, his/her partner’s decision to dismiss or ignore the issue out of fear of “rocking the boat” can result in detrimental feelings of lack of support (and potentially even deleterious feelings of abandonment and betrayal) by one’s partner.

Finally, I think all spouses are well-served by a willingness to communicate their needs and desires openly, clearly and directly with one another, cutting slack for the non-essential rather than overreacting, and liberally showing each other appreciation and respect.

Wishing newlywed (as well as to-be-wed) readers a shared life of love, laughter and fulfillment!

Jasbina is the founder and president of Intersections Match, the only personalized matchmaking and dating coaching firm serving singles of South Asian descent in the United States. She is also the host of Intersections Talk Radio, a monthly lifestyle show. www.IntersectionsMatch.com.[email protected]

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