The wedding is over, the suit and wedding dress have been folded away and neatly tucked into a box. The honeymoon phase is over also and the candlelight dinners have reduced or even stopped taking place. What next? You are beginning to settle in together and facing reality.
I know you must have read several books and journals, gotten several pieces of advice for newlyweds from both family and friends both single and married (laughs, like they have the manual of how marriage should be run). This isn’t bad but the starting point as I always emphasize is in seizing the moment, looking out for what works for you and implementing it in your marriage.
Welcome to the beginning of a new phase of life. Permit me to say that this decision will directly affect and determine the success of every other area of your life. It’s a journey, one you have never undertaken before. Happy ever after will only end as a cliche if you don’t work it out. That’s why we will be exploring advice for newlyweds with some guide to a successful marriage.
The first year of marriage is usually looked upon as a trial and error period because most couples hardly ever know what to expect until they get hit by reality and begin to learn and I lean in the process. There will be a lot of surprises which will bring about some changes and adjustments.
If you can get the first year right, which I choose to call your foundation, then as you put your best into it, you could enjoy many more years together.
I vividly remember lying in bed after I returned from my honeymoon wondering if marriage was just all about two naked bodies lying in bed (that was practically my honeymoon experience). I wondered what next? I was eager to begin to take care of my man, fix his meals, clean the house (you know the woman chores and all).
It didn’t take a week for me to see that marriage was way beyond that, it involved sharing space, being tolerant, smiling and choosing to let go sometimes in order to let peace reign. I found out a whole lot and I will be sharing a few of my first-year experiences shortly.
Don’t forget that I’m an avid book reader and I devoured virtually every book I could lay my hands on before I got married. Yet, there was so much the books never told me. You will not be reading some conventional advice for newlyweds as you read along, instead I will be sharing heartfelt marriage lessons handed down to me from my parents and also those I learnt by experience.
Follow me as we look at some funny advice for newlyweds.
1. Close Your Eyes, Ears And Mouth
As strange as this may sound this is one advice for newlyweds that you should never let go of. When my dad told me a few days before my wedding, I didn’t quite understand until I had a funny experience I will be sharing shortly.
After my honeymoon, I had a few days more to return to work and so I decided to take myself out since I was bored staying alone at home. My husband had long resumed work from leave. And while I sat in a restaurant, I saw an Ex who came to have lunch with his girlfriend.
Yes, I was married and I was happy, but seeing both of them together made me feel bad, I saw the way he treated her from afar, the way he guided her with his arms, allowed her to walk beside him while he put his hands on her shoulders. All I saw was pure care and romance and funny enough I began to wish I was his lady (crazy right).
This brings me to the first advice for newly wed which is to close your eyes, ears and mouth. After marriage, you are going to come in contact with so many people you should have married or people you even look at as being better than your spouse, but not to worry, one thing is sure, you are married to your choice and you only need to work together.
So learn to keep your eyes shut from looking elsewhere and feeling that the grass is greener there, tend your own garden. Also, close your eyes to the way your spouse relates with members of the opposite gender, you may be tempted to get jealous. Tell yourself you won, you survived despite the competition.
Close your ears: you may be tempted to get sweet compliments from an Ex luring you into thinking you made the wrong choice but don’t fall for it. If they meant well, you should have been with them and not who you are with presently. On the other hand, close your ears to negative comments and advice when it comes to your spouse.
That is why I advise couples not to share their issues with a third party, when your differences seem irreconcilable, go for marriage counselling for newly weds. Take every negative thing you hear about your mate with a pinch of salt, don’t dwell on it but at the same time don’t ignore red flags.
Lastly, close your mouth. After you have seen and heard, do not be quick to speak so you don’t spark up disagreements between you and your mate.
Be slow to speak. You are still in your first year, you only dated and may never have had the opportunity to stay together, now you stare in each other’s faces always, so do well to watch and understand each other’s emotions and temperament so you will know issues you can bring up at a particular time.
2. Take It Slowly
While you are excited about your union, sometimes you may feel drained and unhappy. I bet you may have had several misunderstandings by now and you are wondering if this is the same person you dated. It happens but don’t be too hard on yourself, take it slowly on each other, don’t expect perfection.
Some days are going to be great, other days will feel like a drag but learn to take it one step at a time. Don’t try to achieve some feats in a day. As long as you keep moving, it’s okay, you don’t have to run always or be on the fast lane.
If you are good with your intimacy level, it’s okay, you may need to try some more to master your strength for house chores and also be supportive to your spouse, it takes time, don’t be too hard on yourself.
As long as your eyes are on your commitment, you will eventually make it. Don’t try to take too much on yourself else you will be exhausted, master your areas of strength, concentrate on them while you pick your weaknesses and begin to work on them gradually.
Don’t begin to question yourself or your partner if you are doing fine or just counting the days, you may get hurt. Just enjoy the process and as each day unfolds, get ready to face it with all you’ve got. You cannot know all there is to know about being a good spouse in a day, it takes time. Keep moving, as long as you don’t stop, you are on track.
3. Be A Good Listener
Everyone always has something to say but can you take a pause and listen to your partner. Can they know they have your ears regardless of how tired you are or what they want to talk to you about? Can you be open to listen to whatever you may want to talk about even if it’s to vent or just talk? By doing this, you are sending a signal that you are always available for them and they are a priority.
This will make them talk to you about anything and not hold back. But when they are talking and you try to speak at the same time, you will miss the mark. While they speak, watch out for non-verbal cues, try to maintain eye contact with them, watch their eyes, their jaw, do they feel uneasy?
You can make it easier for them by touching them, a neck rub, a tap on the back or a foot massage will reduce tension and make them free to talk to you. Will they always be right? Never, even when wrong, don’t judge them, remind them that they are humans and some slips and falls are expected sometimes.
4. Master Each Other’s Love Language
My man is very outspoken and as such is very extravagant with words. I think this was one of the ways he was able to catch me (laughs). I am not too outspoken but I can mouth a few love words.
During our speaking years, my man would buy me love cards, scribble some love notes also to me, send text messages and even mails and I reciprocated them (don’t forget that my relationship was a long-distance one). The moment we got married, he remained consistent and I experienced how loving and romantic he could be
I would hear the word “I love you” several times a day and I would manage to respond by saying “you too”. On this particular day, I discovered his mood changed and when we got talking, he explained that he’s human too and he needed me to respond the same way he tells me he loves me.
I used to think it was a lady’s thing to always seek affirmations and constant reminders of being loved, but I was so wrong. My man needed me to up my game by mouthing I love you to him several times a day, not just over the phone or SMS.
I learnt that his way of giving and receiving love was almost like mine and I needed to understand him better to be able to respond to him that way. This is one of the things that will make your journey through marriage a blissful one.
When you understand each other’s love language and basic needs and try meeting them, then you are well on your way to enjoying your marriage.
5. Do Not Turn Off The Heat Of Romance
Old couples will always say when bedtime together dies, then other things will suffer. You need to constantly try to appeal to your partner’s senses. It’s not news that getting intimate is one of a man’s basic needs and expressing love and showing care is that of a woman’s. Balance things up by tilting both ways.
Cuddle sometimes hit some unusual connection, explore each other’s mouths and bodies, Take some time off and turn off your phones so you can concentrate on each other.
This may not be possible always but like a friend will say, learn to give 100 percent on a daily basis, it may not be everyday but whenever you have the opportunity, please give your best to your partner.
Fill up your love tanks, don’t let it go dry and empty due to routine. Don’t get over-familiar with each other and forget dating. Still play as you used to in your dating days, kiss and touch often even if you are not going all the way to the bedroom. Try to reach a connection with your mate.
6. Never Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Remember you are a team now. Gone are the days when you had to do things all by yourself and ask for help when you needed to. Let your mate know you need them. You don’t have to be self-sufficient all the time. Give your mate room to assist you and make you happy else you will get worn out and weary by stress.
Say thank you.
7. Learn To Be Appreciative
In my early years, it wasn’t so easy as I got to discover that my man hardly ever got angry with me and it got me angry. Imagine being angry and my man will sit there looking at me or get busy doing something else. I’d begin to shout and even throw tantrums like a child yet he will say you are human babe. I don’t need to react to your shortcomings, I’m learning to manage you.
Sounds lovely and romantic, I will just sit and begin to wonder if he’s human. And so after times like that, I’d sit back and just begin to thank him for his understanding nature.
Be grateful you are not single anymore, you are not just hooked but taken by the love of your life. It’s worth being grateful for. Learn to say thank you even for the little things like a neck rub, a cup of tea brought to you in bed or even assisting with house chores.
8. Makes Decisions To Settle Fights And Disagreements Before Going To Bed
Never go to bed angry at each other. This is one advice for newlyweds I know that a lot of couples have been told at one point or the other, but have you been able to practise it?
9. Talk About Your Expectations And Plans Together
Work towards strengthening your bond and begin to make future plans together.
10. Learn To Compromise
You will not always have your way all the time, so do well to negotiate and meet in the middle with your spouse. Learn how to compromise in a relationship. Give up rights to be right and win with your spouse not against them. Discuss areas of need and agree jointly on how to meet them considering each other’s ideas.
Even though it’s only the beginning, you can determine what the latter years of your love story will look like. Marriage is the only institution where you are given your certificate in the very beginning. Make your happily ever after work, write your own love story and inspire others. What advice for newlyweds were you given when you got married?
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