Any new situation, even wedded bliss, creates the stress that’s a natural part of change. Understanding that you and your new spouse need time to adjust to these changes is an important tool. Habits that you thought were endearing may now drive you to distraction. It’s important to be flexible and to learn how to flow with the changes and problems that may arise. Communication is perhaps the most essential tool in a successful marriage. Keep the lines of communication open between you and your spouse.


Joined in marriage does not mean joined at the hip. Although it’s tempting the first few months to spend all your spare time together, remember that you’re still two different people and you need to make time for yourself. Whether it’s a night out with the girls, or an hour alone to good book, find something to do for yourself.


Arguments are inevitable. How you handle them is critical. Remember to use “I” messages. Instead of saying, “You hurt my feelings when you went bowling without me!” try “I felt hurt when you left without me.” Sharing feelings instead of blaming helps keep the discussion on track.

Try to keep your words positive, even when you’re upset. Try “I’m less likely to worry if you call when you aren’t going to make dinner” instead of “If you would have just picked up the phone and dialed, I wouldn’t be so angry.”

Use reflective listening. After your spouse airs his feelings, try to repeat back exactly what he said. You will have to really listen to him to do this and he will feel that he is heard.


Compromise does not mean that neither of you gets your way. Finding a middle ground where you are both happy is the goal.

If you both feel strongly about something, take turns explaining why you feel the way you do. Understanding the other point of view makes compromise more workable.


It’s easy to assume that once you’re married, dating is no longer necessary. Part of what nurtured the love between you before you went to the altar was the special time you spent together eating out, seeing movies and spending quality time alone. This is especially important if there are children in your home or you have equally demanding careers. Make time for regular quality time together whether it’s once a week or once a month.

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