Q I was married a few months ago, and while I care for my husband a great deal, we seem to be arguing more than I would have thought. Is this common for newlyweds? I was the first of my close girlfriends to marry, and don’t feel that they can relate to my situation. I feel a bit awkward when people constantly refer to us as “blissful newlyweds” while behind closed doors we argue more than we did before getting married. I’m wondering if you have any general suggestions for newlyweds navigating the early days of their life together?
A Let me reassure you—you are certainly not alone. For many couples, volatility characterizes the first year of marriage, as once the “big day” (or more typically, “days” in our culture) conclude, the differences that may have seemed unimportant before marriage can at times take center-stage.
Furthermore, the early days as a married couple can reveal a disconnect between the projected fantasy of who each partner thought he/she was marrying, and the reality of the imperfect person he/she actually ended up marrying.
I will break my answer into two separate columns (this month and next month) in order to provide tips to navigate some of the most common growing pains newlywed unions tend to face.
Financial disagreements are easily the most divisive and contentious topics for newlyweds. This is one of the many areas I explore with prospective clients during our in-depth Personal Consultation. Financial philosophy can be a sensitive topic, and it is best if the spouses’ respective mindsets and attitudes regarding finances are aligned.
If not before marriage, then as early as possible in the marriage, it is best to define core values with respect to how to spend money. Questions to ask each other include: On what do you most desire to spend money on? Is it visiting and/or aiding family and friends, or entertainment, or investment, or education?
When those value-driven desires guide the budget, the risk of resentment and pointing fingers at each other diminishes.
Being on the same page regarding how to spend limited free time, both as individuals and together, can also minimize resentment.
It can be helpful to balance giving each each other space and time apart to pursue individual interests; and on the other hand, participating, at some level, in each other’s pursuits in the interest of spending time together.
I shall continue with additional tips for newlyweds (or couples to consider prior to the wedding) next month.
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.Jasbina@intersectionsmatch.com.