The first year of marriage gets a bit of a bad reputation. Traditionally, it was thought that the first year of marriage was the hardest because most couples would not have lived together until after marriage. The sudden shift from living with parents or housemates, to living with a partner, would be a lot to bear and cause tensions within the relationship. But in modern times, most couples cohabitate before marriage, and so this is no longer the sole reason that tensions arise in the first 12 months after “I do”.
So why is the first year of marriage still considered tricky to navigate, and what can you do to make it more special?
The party is over
Post-wedding blues are a real thing, with 12% of surveyed brides reporting feeling depressed after the wedding day is over. Why? There was so much excitement in the lead up to the wedding. Preparations, family flying in from all over the world, hen and stag nights, the engagement ring - you probably had a good 12 months of thrill and nervousness before the big day. And when the big day is over, there can be a bit of an anticlimax. Because after, nothing really feels different to how it was before the wedding, except there’s no big party to look forward to anymore.
So, what can you do? Well, plan some nice things to do together as a couple so that you have adventures to look forward to. For example, you might plan a big 1-year-anniversary trip together, which could mean many months of saving and planning. You might decide to make some fun lifestyle changes, or take on a big, fun DIY or renovation project together. To make the first year of marriage special and avoid the post-wedding blues, make sure you have something to look forward to after the big day.
The pressure is on
After the wedding, some couples might be thinking ‘what next?’ in terms of big life goals. For many, this means a baby or buying a first home. These two life events are hugely important and come with a tremendous amount of stress, pressure, excitement, disappointment and anticipation. If you begin trying for a baby and it doesn’t ‘work’ right away, you might find that first year of marriage frustrating. Or, if you do go on to have a baby straight after marriage, you might find that too much has changed too quickly, and become worried or tense.
Relieving pressure is a good idea in those first 12 months. After all, you’ve just spent many months planning a wedding which was stressful enough! Come up with a plan together that includes realistic, paced timelines, allowing yourself some breathing space as a couple.
It’s all very real now
Before marriage, leaving the relationship was a smidge easier. Or was it? Many couples suddenly feel a bit more ‘trapped’ after marriage, because it is a contract between two people to stay together forever. Breaking the contract is logistically challenging and expensive. Some people become very worried during this time and can even act out, or rebel against the marriage. But, when you think about it rationally, there is no reason to be worried. These days, getting a divorce is really no different to ending an unmarried long term relationship. While we obviously don’t want you to be thinking about divorce in the first 12 months, it’s good to remember that you are not trapped, you simply made a commitment. And you made that commitment because your relationship was strong and happy enough to do so.
Arguments were ‘postponed’
Before the wedding, there might have been issues that were ‘postponed’ by either person in the couple, until after the wedding. Having that particular argument about that particular subject might not have seemed worthwhile before the big day. If this happens, there can be a small eruption of problems after the wedding day. These were bubbling away for a few months and have simply come to the surface. The good news is, once dealt with, you can go back to normal again.
Finally, the first year of marriage can be the hardest if you have chosen to only cohabit after marriage or if you decide to move into a new home during this time. Moving house is said to be one of the most stressful life events any person can face. In fact, more than half of surveyed Brits said it is the most stressful event they have been through. Doing this immediately after a wedding can be a little much, and cause couples to feel stressed or even quite unwell. If you are planning on moving home after the wedding, try to get as much done before the event as possible, and utilise your wedding registry to get all the bits required for the new home (delivered straight to the new house of course). Ask family and friends to help with the move, and don’t try to do too much too fast.
High Trenhouse Weddings
At High Trenhouse, we offer a full wedding package to make your wedding preparations seamless. We also have a wedding coordinator, full catering and overnight accommodation to take some of the stress off the big day, allowing you to focus on making the first year of marriage memorable.