Although it's common to experience a honeymoon phrase during those first few weeks of marriage, experts agree that the first 365 days as husband and wife are often the hardest. With that said, fighting now doesn't bode badly for the rest of your years. Crystal Bradshaw, LPC, a psychotherapist specializing in relationships, says that disagreements during the first year of marriage—especially during the first six months—is a rite of passage for every couple, even the happiest ones. "When couples fight during their first year of marriage, it's often a stress response because they are facing new challenges for the first time together," she explains. "This new coupling requires partners to be there for each other in ways they maybe haven't experienced yet." While there are any number of things that you two could fight about, there are five topics that cause the most arguments during the first six months of marriage.
The One Where You Thought Your Spouse Should "Know You Better"
Your spouse knows how you take your coffee and that rubbing your head helps you fall asleep. But as much as they try to be tuned-in to your thoughts, feelings and emotions, therapist Meygan Caston explains they're not—in fact—mind readers. This type of disagreement usually stems from a lack of communication, where you expected your partner to anticipate what you wanted instead of expressing your needs. "It's so important to talk early and often before resentment and anger build. We often have unrealistic and unmet expectations that leave us disappointed and frustrated because we didn't communicate them," she says. Though it might not feel like the most romantic of rituals, Caston suggests setting a weekly "marriage business meeting" where you touch base on everything.
The One Where You (Unsuccessfully) Try to Change One Another
If you went into your marriage thinking that something you didn't like about your partner would change as soon as you said "I do," this is a fight you'll have over and over again. As Caston explains, you and your lifelong partner are different and that's a great thing. The more you can come to peace with your differences, the less you will fight over the small issues that creep into everyday life. "You have to learn to let the differences go. Lean on each other's strengths, and forgive each other's weaknesses," she says. "Once you can accept your partner's differences, then you will be able to appreciate and respect them. This is the most important lesson for your first year—and beyond."
The One Where You Think You're Already a Boring Old Couple
If you find that you two are staying in more than ever before, or just settling into a standard routine, don't let that worry you. Technology makes certain things easier (like staying connecting throughout the day), it can also pull you away from your partner when you should be leaning closer to them. Caston suggests setting some ground rules for screen time so that your date nights don't become Netflix binge nights. "Get creative with your time together; go out to dinner, take walks, play a board game, or work out. You will both be surprised at how much fun you can have together without all the distractions screens bring to your marriage," she says.
The One Where You Think You're Married, So That's It Folks!
You probably don't need to pull out all of the bells-and-whistles every single night of your marriage, but surprising your partner with a little romance from time to time ensures that you're fostering an intimate bond. Caston says taking the extra step to maintain passion and intrigue will help diminish your fights. The more you make your quality time a priority, the more you both know you have a safe place to retreat to together.
The One Where You're Arguing Because You Need Alone Time
When you're not spending some time doing the things that bring you joy—like grabbing dinner with your girlfriends, attending a lecture or reading, or indulging in a spa treatment—you lash out at your partner because you're unhappy with yourself. To be better in your marriage, make a better you. "Read books, go to seminars, work out, create space in your schedule for down time so you can recharge your batteries. It's essential that you always work on being a better spouse than you were yesterday," Caston adds.