6 Mistakes Newlyweds Make the First Year of Marriage

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We learn as we go. Marriage works that way. No matter how painful the lessons, we appreciate the wisdom that follows them. Our marriage will turn two this year, and the other night over dinner Man and I had a great conversation about our successes and failures from year one. This is a list of some of the mistakes we made that we’ve seen or heard of other newlyweds making also. Can you relate?

Succumbing to baby pressure.

“When are the babies coming?”…“You don’t want to be too old to keep up with your kids do you?”…”There’s no such thing as the ‘right time’!”…We’ve heard them all, hundreds of times — mostly after we got married, but a few times before also. It’s been exhausting coming up with new and polite ways to say, “Please, mind your business.” My husband and I have always been very clear on why we’re choosing to wait, but I’m here to tell you, enough of this talk from your FWKs (Friends With Kids) and you’ll actually find yourselves going, “Wait…what are we waiting on again?” Luckily, we snap out of it before we wind up on a road we’re not ready to travel, but we have seen other newly married couples catching baby fever from their FWKs and throwing their original plan out the window. Let me be clear here: Having a baby is not a mistake. But, I do believe that if you and your spouse decide to become parents because you feel like it’s what all the other adults around you are doing or because your friends and family want you to, you’re making the mistake of putting others’ needs and goals before your own, and that’s just no good.

Ignoring the money discussion.

Money is the root of a lot of evil – this we know – and not discussing it properly with your new spouse can also mean the demise of the trust in your marriage, if you’re not careful. (Trust me, we’ve experienced some of this first hand.) Before the “I do”s it’s easy to justify keeping your finances separate, especially if you’re both very private people. But, when you agree to share a last name, a life, and a home, like it or not, you’re agreeing to share finances too. If you’re resistant to this idea, and you’re juggling a lot financially within your marriage, suddenly you’re using phrases like “my money” and “secret savings” and being very defensive and petty about the earnings you bring to the table. How you choose to divvy out your finances is a decision you must make together – I’m just suggesting you talk about it day one, not the day after you find out one of you has been stashing cash and lying about it. Those arguments are brutal, dangerous, and totally avoidable.

Comparing themselves to other couples.

They have a house but you rent. They can afford a housekeeper, but you can barely afford premium cable. Your last romantic getaway was courtesy of a Groupon deal to Jamaica, and they just posted fabulous photos from their luxurious Turks and Caicos getaway. So you’re living different lives – who cares?! If you let what other couples have turn your eyes green, you’ll be so distracted by trying to keep up with their marriage you could lose track of your own. Enjoy your married friends; don’t envy them.

Goal overload.

This trap is hard to miss. We sure fell in it. On our honeymoon we actually made a list of goals for our first year of marriage. There were at least 15 things on it – most of them a bit more complicated than, say, “get organized”. It wasn’t until we were looking back at the list on our one-year anniversary, and feeling like total failures, that we realized we’d only set ourselves up for failure. That list should have had the three – four tops! – things we truly felt passionate about accomplishing together year one.

Spending more than saving.

The first thing my husband and I did when we returned from our honeymoon was cash all of those wedding gift checks (thanks again everyone!) and start making over our apartment. It was because we wanted our house to “look like married people lived there” (whatever that means!) and settle into the married life we’d always envisioned. We splurged; we’ll admit it. Then, later that year Dog got sick and the vet bill was astronomical. We barely had the savings to cover it. A few months later, Man’s car broke down and the maintenance alert lights on the dashboard lit up like a rainbow. We couldn’t really cover that either. I remember looking up around the living room and thinking, your new alternator is hanging on our walls. (Damn those pricey crate and barrel wall art pieces!) Any way, I digress. We spent way more than we saved trying to keep up with what we felt mature and accomplished married couples should be doing. It was an epic fail, and we learned from it – the hard way. Here’s to hoping you won’t have to. Save, save, save your money, from the start.

Putting friendships first.

Remember that annoying saying you and your girlfriends would always say to each other doing a breakup? You know the one: “Guys will always come and go, but true friends are here to stay.” Well, when you get married, that one no longer applies, and I recommend replacing it with this edited version: “Husbands are here to stay, and true friends will understand.” As a married woman with single friends it’s easy to fear that they’ll accuse you of blowing them off or “changing” because you got hitched. We’ve all seen it happen, and heard them complain about other girlfriends who have done the same thing. The problem is, keeping up with a single girlfriend who still expects to monopolize your Friday nights, like always, may not bid well with keeping things happy at home in your marriage. Balance is everything here. You can enjoy your girlfriends and your marriage – I do it! – but you can’t let one pushy friend cause a rift between you and your news husband because she can’t understand why you can’t “just go to the party” with her all the time.

What mistakes did you make year one? How did you learn from them? Add to my list below.

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61 Responses to 6 Mistakes Newlyweds Make the First Year of Marriage

  1. anna says:

    i think that many people often "relax" soon after the wedding.
    here's a video to illustrate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_10aTIZUa4
    the same is true for men.

    why not make efforts to keep winning your partner over and over?:)
    My recent post Happy Easter!

  2. thehungryegghead says:

    I agree. Marriage is a huge commitment and it involves putting the marriage first in order for it to work out. Hubby and I dated a year, got married the next, and moved the Hong Kong the next year. There were lots of fights and adjustments to be made. =)

    On top of that I am a housewife w/o kids who is not part of the ladies who lunch crowd. So no support groups or people I can really relate to. I guess my blogging is my attempt at dealing with my issues and making blogger friends. =)
    My recent post Temple Street Hong Kong

    • Willie says:

      Wow, my wife and I got married last year and are considering moving to Hong Kong for a year! Good to see someone has been through this.

  3. Amy says:

    We've made all of these mistakes in the first year but thanks to our unconditional love we"ve got over these problems. The most important thing is that we love each other so much!
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  4. great list! I totally agree with "putting friendships first"

  5. Alexander says:

    I think little quarrel is not bad. It creates romances. But going to be divorced is bad.
    What do think abut this?

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    • queency says:

      Me and my boyfriend were seriously in love for three years and we were planning to get marry but one day he came to my house and told me he was no longer interested in our relationship simply because he was dating another rich lady who promise to buy him a car and to sponsor their wedding. And i suffer heartbreak for five months and i was not tired of loving him. One faithful day as i was browsing through the internet, i saw a testimony on how a spell caster helped some one name wizy to get back his wife after two years of losing his wife because he was no longer having a job. through this Email prophetharry@ymail. com So i sent an email to prophet harry contact him for help and surprisingly my boy friend came back with the help of the spell caster and was begging to come back. and now we are happily married. He is the most trusted, loyal ,genuine,honest and real love spell caster of the year


  6. HarlemLoveBirds says:

    I really like this list! For me a biggie was learning not to overshare with my parents about challenges we were having. I think it was coupled with frustration of being both a newlywed and new mom. There were lots of hormones involved. This was a concept we learned about in premarital counseling but for me it was easier said than done!

  7. @Amaimi says:

    Definitely agree with the money section. Being one in marriage should also include finances. My wife and I have gotten into the habit of having financial meetings at least once a month to make sure we're on the same page. The more you are willing to talk about finances the easier it gets.

    • Be the one says:

      We sure fell in it. On our honeymoon we actually made a list of goals for our first year of marriage. There were at least 15 things on it – most of them a bit more complicated than, say, “get organized”.

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  8. Kris says:

    I am so glad I found your blog! I am also just recently married and my husband and I have two dogs. Your list is a really goo one! The baby pressure part is what really gets us. We want children someday, but just not right now. We love our life too much right now to change it with a baby, and our dogs are filling any parenting need we may be feeling right now. Haha
    I just started a blog aobut living with a husband for the first time and having two dogs if you would like to see it. :) http://mylifewith3dogs.blogspot.com/
    My recent post We Are Dog People Who Love Cat Humor

  9. This list is great. I remember at our wedding reception my father in law asked me about when we were starting a family!
    My husband and i have been married for nearly 15 years, and the biggest thing I wish I'd known that first year was that marriage requires effort.
    The same care I put into dating my spouse prior to receiving that ring (which means trying to look cute on a regular basis, putting him ahead of my friends on occasion, planning outings to places he would like to go, calling him "just because" and listening to his dreams without judgment) I needed to continue now that we were married.
    I can only imagine how many of the problems in our early years of marriage could have been avoided if I had continued to "date my spouse" after I said I do.
    My recent post Mommy to the Max – Episode 10: 3 Tips for Disciplining Your Child

  10. Christina Andrews says:

    I like the last one about the friend. It's really true that there are times that you have to change your perspective about boys since you're already married. How many close friends do you have? I hope they're happy for you getting hitched.

    My recent post how to seduce a woman

  11. Lisa says:

    Money is the tough one – on my second marriage and we keep most money separate – makes for a lot less fights. Learned this from a friend of mine whose been with her husband for over 20 years now. Pets too can be a tough issue – hard if one does not like animals and the other does. It's all about compromise!
    My recent post Grateful For Guest Bloggers And The Blog To Go On

  12. Jeremy Love says:

    This is a great post. I totally loved it.
    I've made more mistakes than this, and we are just into our second year of "relationship".

    My recent post how to seduce a woman

  13. Jillj says:

    I'm about to get married, and feel like my fiancé and I have talked about all of the topics and are on the same page. We've more or less figured out finances (although, its always up for discussion), Kids are on the radar, but pretty low right now, and most of the friends have been trained that, while I love them and love seeing them, they come second.
    I'm a little worried I'm missing something, or that all of this is somehow going to get worse once we're actually married. Did any of you talk about it beforehand? And how did that change once you said I Do?

  14. Pingback: 6 Mistakes Newlyweds Make During Their First Year Of Marriage | Black and Married With Kids.com - A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

  15. This is wonderful. My husband and I have been married for just over a year now, and I couldn't agree more with what you've written.
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  16. Great tips…getting married is definitely one big step in your life…
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  17. It's all about her says:

    The first mistake I made after marriage, was not making it official the first night. I can safely say that I have fallen into the percentage of couples who did not get it on after the wedding. I did however make up for it on the honeymoon. We spent one whole day in the bedroom, and I've never lived up to that day since. Yeah there's just not as much time as there used to be.

  18. Advice :( says:

    Advice please

  19. Advice :( says:

    Is it normal to lose passion and intimacy in the bedroom only after 6 months of marriage? Everything else is great ?? normally to tired to make an effort, sex is like once a month.

  20. The MLM Ninja says:

    The only way to avoid real money trouble is to make sure that there is enough money to go around. Mine was unemployed for most of our several year relationship and was finally able to land a job a few months before our wedding and that helped immensely. The baby thing? She wants a baby NOW (I want one too if she wants one) because she's 40 (I'm 45 with a 13 yr old son from a previous marriage, so it'd be nice to have a girl) so we're trying.

  21. One thing that i have learnt for sure is that communication is soooo important. Set that as a priority from day one. Too often a marriages break down because of poor communication.

  22. Frankie L says:

    GREAT advice on the baby issue. We are waiting for 2 years before we have that discussion. I think bonding between a couple is very important first. Great post.

    Also, money is not bad, it is just when people love money more than people that it becomes a big problem.

  23. Frankie L says:

    Oh, going to share this on my FB page too. Thank you again, very good advice.

  24. These really make sense, my first years were hell, mostly because of over working myself and the money issue, it was never enough, we just could not get around with what we had. Its good i had my frinds shoulders to tell me to hang in there and things will get better…
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  26. Newlyweds should also take not of their finances because it is now linked to each other.

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  30. The marriage is totally different than having a relationship so the newlyweds mistake considering both of them same which results them resulting in making mistakes especially during the first year of marriage. Thanks for sharing the article because you have shared useful information that might help all the newlyweds.

  31. What we are supposed to have after wedding? when we are not interested in all these points?

  32. Great post, I think there's always a risk when you start to get into a routine with someone! These tips really help to avoid the bickering that turns into full blown arguments!

  33. We've made all of these mistakes in the first year but thanks to our unconditional love we"ve got over these problems. The most important thing is that we love each other so much!
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  38. There is nothing wrong with you. To be honest, we all have experiences like that at some point in time or another. There will be times when you can't believe you told that chick off and you think of it this way…could it be a mistake? Or when you lay out on the beach…can life get better than this? Or when you're walking down the aisle…did I choose wisely? What will life be like? Should I even have children?

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  40. Stacy C. P says:

    I really like this article… wish I read this before I got married. lol. Marriage is hard. It's amazing but it's hard. My husband has a more demanding job that I do. I worked hard at school getting my BSc & MSc but I have a basic job that I'm not really happy with, most times. I try not to take that out on him. It's not his fault. Sometimes I can't help but feel sad though because I always pictured myself being this amazing career woman who has a very demanding job. Like a super successful woman able to contribute equally financially. Reality is… I make a fraction of what my husband makes, I feel clueless about what I'd like to do with my life career-wise and I have to do the majority of the household stuff (which I don't really like). I got married because I love my husband, I want to spend the rest of my life with him… but I never saw myself as a "homemaker". This is my biggest struggle at the moment. I am trying to deal with it and come to terms with the fact that maybe I am destined to be an excellent wife and (one day) mother. Maybe a super powerful career woman may not be in the future for me… or not yet.
    We've been together for 8 1/2 years, married for 11months now. I am in baby fever mode already. Not totally because of the pressure others have placed on us (we are receiving a lot of pressure) but because i don't want to wait until i am very old. Also, i am really excited to create this amazing person and experience motherhood.

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