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Surviving the First Year of Marriage

With an estimated four in ten US marriages now ending with divorce, the stability of marital harmony has never been more precarious. From these figures, it has also emerged that approximately 43% of these marriages do not last beyond 15 years, and further examination of this statistic makes interesting reading. Of the marriages that do end in divorce with these 15 years, many suffer problems and disruptions to their relationships through the very first year of their existence.

The onset of emotional and financial problems in a relationship within that first year has become a widely known phenomenon, and there are many possible reasons for this. The sudden shift in the relationship status and differences with long term aspirations of the respective partners are all contributory factors, as are the financial issues that can ensue after paying for a wedding and honeymoon. These factors can combine to create irreparable damage to the relationship if not recognized and dealt with efficiently.

Marrying too quickly

There is no doubt that people are going through the established relationship stages quicker than at any other time in history. From meeting to engagement, and then into marriage and separation, the whole relationship cycle can be completed within a couple of years, with the concept of courtship apparently completely outdated. This can be a major contributor to disharmony in the first year of marriage, as it is during this time that discussion concerning long term aspirations and expectations will become more detailed and pertinent.

For example, a couple will spend the months before the wedding planning and conceiving their big day, and modern couples have often not allowed themselves to get to know each others expectations of life or even of their immediate future after marriage. When married, there is nothing further to plan for except the remainder of their lives together, and so it is natural to begin making long-term plans. It is during this phase that different aspirations and expectations will emerge, leading to distress, conflict and in extreme cases separation.

Unreasonable Expectations of Marriage

Expectations also play a part in other issues that can affect a formative marriage. Given the excitement that envelops the early incarnation of a union, and the anticipation that surrounds marriage and the wedding ceremony, it is possible for husbands or wives to find married life a little disappointing. It is all too easy to expect the passion and verve of a burgeoning relationship to last through marriage, but this is an all too rare an occurrence.

Recently married couples need to accept that their relationships will change with certain events, and that there is an inevitable transition from anticipating engagement and marriage to settling into nuptial life. Any insecurities as to the immediate future and uncertainty surrounding an emotive response to the wedding can be detrimental to the long term health of a marriage. Communication is a huge factor is assuaging these fears and managing the transitional first year of marriage effectively.

Financial Pressure

The average cost of a wedding in the US in $20,000, and this is a considerable financial outlay by anybodies standards, especially given the current economic climate. In the search of the perfect components to make their wedding day unique and special, people are spending more than they can realistically afford and creating an economical pressure around the relationship. This is only an obvious factor once the day and the honeymoon are completed and people are returned to their everyday existence.

Financial pressure or debt is one of the biggest contributors to couple disharmony and ultimately divorce, so taking on a project that can induce costs of up to $20,000 and beyond is a potential cause of disagreements once the emotion of a wedding has subsided. It can lead to resentment as to how the funds were spent, and also to disputes as to the best and most effective way of reducing the debt. These issues, if not resolved through unity and clear understanding between the pair, can become prevalent and breed long term discord in the relationship.

Communication and Future Planning the Key

The key to avoiding early disunity in the first year of marriage and beyond lies in communication and a preventative attitude towards potential issues. Talking, and more importantly listening, helps partners to gain a better understanding of each others aspirations and expectations, and also aid conflict solution and problem solving. This is something that needs to be done throughout the relationship, as partners with a better comprehension of each others characteristics are less likely to encounter dispute in the first instance. Living and working as a team prior to marriage is crucial to developing this understanding, and is pre-emptive to the potential of future changes and unrest within a relationship.

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Navaid I. Syed is the owner and CEO of / ExcitingAds! Inc. He is a medical doctor and was born in Mirpurkhas, Sind, Pakistan, on July 31, 1964. He graduated from Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro, Sind, Pakistan, in 1990. He is Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, Philadelphia, PA, USA, certified.

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