Newlyweds typically fall into one of two categories during their first year of marriage: They're either enjoying extended honeymoon bliss or experincing the toughest year of their lives. We've asked five veteran brides to share their best advice to get through the first 365 days of marriage, no matter which side of the spectrum you're on.
Handle Conflict and Be Healthy
Recent bride Brittany B. says it's so important to pick and choose your battles. "Are you really going to go to bed angry because you can't agree on what soap brand to buy?! Not worth it," she says. "Fight about things that actually matter. And while we're talking about conflict," I'd recommend for every couple to attend counseling during your first year of marriage. Best money I've ever spent. You can go together or separately, but take the time to sort out your emotional baggage and unresolved issues in a safe setting. Be healthy for your partner and deal with the tough stuff on the front end."
Listen and Communicate
"Listening to your spouse is so important, you need to listen intentionally," says Kelsey N. "In the midst of an argument, everyone is trying to be heard. Whether they are using words or not, everyone is speaking. Show each other grace—you're both trying to figure out this new stage of life. It's like they say, communication is key!"
Don't Try to Be the Pinterest-Worthy Wife
You can't always get dinner on the table or a fresh load of laundry done at the end of a long day, and that's okay. "Don't put so much pressure on yourself to be the perfect wife. I realized that being a happy and kind wife was more important than being the 'picture-perfect' one," says Madison C. "Yes, house chores are important, but being compassionate to your husband and to yourself is essential. Continue to tell yourself that there will be days where you will get everything done, but on the days when you get nothing done, it does not change your worth as a spouse or a woman."
Don't Let Date Nights Become a Thing of the Past
"Build a weekly date night into your schedule and guard that time closely," Taylor O. says. "Dates don't have to be extravagant either. Sometimes our date night was getting dressed up and trying a fun new restaurant. Other times, it was cooking at home together with a movie or playing catch in the backyard. Just have fun together! Laughter is a huge part of our marriage."
Love Each Other Well
"My advice is simple and yet profoundly important. Love is not a feeling. Love is a commitment and an action. Be mindful to treat your spouse with love and to act upon that, even when you don't feel like it," Callie D. advises.