You’ve said “qabool hai” to the person of your dreams. You’ve found ‘the one’ and promised your life to them, for ever and ever. And you’ve also eaten the wedding cake, exchanged shiny diamond rings and sauntered off in an ornate luxury vehicle or a horse-drawn carriage towards the rest of your life.
No matter how you and your significant other marked the occasion, you guys are now married and the first year of marriage is marked by some truly magical moments. It’s a time of discovery, connection and the fuzzy feelings of new love.
But it is also often filled with hurdles and challenges unique to those first 12 months. Compiled from The Huffington Post, here are some tips you can try out to make the first year even better than you had imagined. And if you’re not married yet then even better! These are things you can work on before you decide to tie the knot.
1. Create your own traditions
From holiday traditions to weekly routines, you probably come from families with slight differences. Melding together two sets of traditions can be challenging and lead to fights. What you guys need is to realise that as a married couple, you now have to create your own traditions. These can certainly be modelled after pieces from each of your families. However, agreeing to create traditions unique to your marriage and family can alleviate the pressures that come from the tug-of-war that can ensue in year one.
2. Take photographs of every first
The first year will set the tone for your marriage and give you resolve to weather the tough moments that are come later. These are the moments you will reminisce about so try and document everything. Take pictures of your first Eid together, the first dinner you host, everything. Document the big moments but take pictures of the small moments too. Having the pictures from the blissful first year can spark some of the magical feelings later too.
3. Schedule a regular phone-free evening
Our lives are busy and noisy. Set aside one evening a week to be technology-free, even if it’s just for a few hours. This allows you to really focus on each other and builds depth to your connection. Taking a few hours to focus solely on each other helps continue the relationship-building process and ensures you keep the feelings alive.
4. Set aside time for friends
You should always set aside time to pursue your respective interests. Take a few hours a week to spend time with your own friends and enjoy our individual hobbies. Maintaining your identity in a marriage can be a challenge and, if not done correctly, can lead to resentment and feelings of being lost. By scheduling time apart, you are likely to become more appreciative of your relationship.
5. Discuss chores and expectations
Talk out the details of our household responsibilities as this will have help avoid conflicts and encourage you to work as a team. Express about your individual expectations for chores, plans to split the work and ways to keep checks and balances in the system.
6. Talk about financial goals
In year one, you should outline and focus on long-term goals and how you will achieve them. Don’t be nearsighted. It’s easy for love to blind you to your long-term goals. The blissful feelings can lead to impulsive spending and big short-term splurges. By making sure you’re on the same financial page for the long haul, you can avoid some major conflicts down the road.
7. Keep separate banking accounts
This might not work for every couple but keeping the accounts one had before they got married, they can maintain a sense of financial independence. You should still keep each other informed about major financial decisions or purchases, of course. However, you don’t have to checks-in with your spouse about small, day-to-day purchase or ask for permission.
8. Create a bucket list together
No matter how much you try to preserve your individuality, marriage will merge your lives together so why not make the most of it? Create a bucket list of things you want to do as a couple and keep the list somewhere you can reference it. Make the list long so you’ll have exciting new things to try for years to come. This will keep those first year feelings lingering long after the first anniversary.
9. Find joy in small moments
Don’t define your first year by the impossible standards society sometimes deems acceptable. The first year isn’t always a fairytale; it will be filled with rosy moments but also some difficult ones. There will be times your romantic evening ends in a screaming fight with tear-stained cheeks and abandoned dinner. Maintain a realistic attitude towards your relationship and you’ll likely fare better.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st , 2016.
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