After you’ve stowed away the white dress, unwrapped all the gifts, and proudly gotten used to wearing your ring on your finger, you expect the effects of honeymoon bliss to carry over into your new life together. But is it really the happy beginning you expected? Here, learn about the many issues that newlyweds face, and how to weather the first, formative years of your married life.
Issue No.1 : Dealing With Your In-Laws
Before Marie Bustamante married her husband Ralph, she already knew that connecting with his mom would be a problem. “Since he was the only child, his mom felt the need to decide for him often,” she explains. While Ralph tolerated it, even ignored it at times, Marie couldn’t, especially when her mom-in-law would decide on things that involved them as a couple. “It was exasperating, at the very least.”
“It is important to take a step back and find out who your new in-laws are, what they value, how they relate to each other, and their relationship with your spouse. During these early stages, it is very important to be open and respectful in this process.”
They’re Part of His Life, But So Are You
It’s True What They Say that you don’t just marry one person-you marry the entire family and all their idiosyncrasies. “Difficulties arise when a spouse remains socially and emotionally attached to either parent marriage. Each spouse should know that being married makes each other “the principle confidante.” “Each must be sensitive to the other’s relationship with his or her family, but at the same time realize that the couple relationship is more important than any other relationship.” If you find it difficult to relate with your in-laws, talk to your husband about how you should both deal with each other’s parents.
Showing Respect to the In-Laws
Having counseled countless married couples, shares some tips to newlywed on how they should relate with each other’s parents while still showing loyalty to each other:
1. Plan Out Holidays. Deciding which family to stay with on holidays can be a burden if not planned well. Try to map out a fair and feasible plan with your husband. This way, you value each other’s family traditions, and along the way, you may be able to establish your own traditions with your new family unit.
2. Don’t Run Home To Your Parents. “Each time there is a conflict in the marriage, if one runs home whether figuratively or literally, that is sure sign that your first loyalty is still to your family and not your spouse.”
3. Don’t Mistake Your Parents For Loan Officers. Part of starting a new life together is breaking free from the purse strings that your parents have been providing for you. As much as possible, make it a habit to work financial problems out with each other, instead of asking your parents for money.
4. Give The Process Time To Work. Don’t get impatient when change doesn’t happen right away. Both you and your husband are adjusting to each other and each other’s families, and those in themselves may already be a lot to absorb on your first few years together. Understand that loving your spouse’s families, as in all relationships, takes time and a lot of compromising.
Issue No.2 : Family of Origin
The summer after their wedding, Annalyn Flores volunteered to organize her family’s annual out-of-town vacations. She was surprised to find out, however, when her hubby Eric didn’t want to help out. “He explained to me that since parents didn’t get along when he was younger, family vacations were more a source of stress than relief for him,” she says. “It even came to a point where he didn’t want to go! I felt bad because I had gotten used to going on vacations with my family, and I wanted ours to follow the same tradition.”
“To us, our marriage is interesting if we have other things going on. We value our individuality and [having different backgrounds] makes us interesting-which is what we fell for in the first place.”
Share Stories with Each Other
One Of The Problems that many newlyweds don’t foresee encountering in their marriages is that of conflicts arising from their family of origin. “We are profoundly affected by the attitudes and actions of the family we grew up in. The milieus in which you and your husband grew up in are entirely different, and getting married is basically taking those two different backgrounds under one roof, and trying to make it work. It can range from something as simple as holding annual vacations with your family, to things as complex as child-rearing styles, practicing religions, and resolving conflicts. “Find out who your partner is by digging into his past and looking closely at the family he grew up in.
Accept Each Other’s Background
The road to acceptance entails knowing more about your husband’s family values and traditions. Here are some ways you can do so:
1. Spend More Time With Your Husband’s Family. Doing so makes you privvy on a very personal level to their family culture, and all the things that they value most as a unit (apart from the advantage that they also get to know you better).
2. Listen To Your Husband’s Stories About His Childhood. Whenever your husband launches into another story about how he grew up, take heed. This will clue you in on the practices he and his family might have shared, and his views on important matters, like how children should be raised.
3. Sit Down And Have A Heart-To-Heart. Set aside some time for you and your husband to discuss where you’re coming from and how you should proceed from there. “Share the experiences that shaped your self-esteem and built your self-confidence. “This will allow you to talk about similarities and differences between you and your partner, thus giving you the freedom to set your own rules and values independent of your family of origin.”
Issue No. 3 : Finances
Used to spending her money on the cheap as a way of “saving,” Katwo Puertollano had to change her money sensibilities after marrying Nico, who would rather spend on one big thing than the little one things. “Now, I rarely buy anything on a whim, understanding the wants versus the needs,” she shares. “I would rather have that one expensive bag than four or five that break in a few months.”
Your “Money Talk” List
Take the list with you the next time you and your hubby sit down to talk about your financial situations.
1.Your Individual And Joint Net Worth Statements Net income, assets, properties (see “A Word of Legal Advice” to determine what is his and what is yours)
2. Saving Percentage How much you should regularly set aside for future endeavors
3. Expected/Fixed Expenses Rent/mortgage, bills, utilities, loans, debts
4. Variable Expenses Leisure Expenses like vacations, dining, entertainment
5. Who Handles What? Which spouse will manage your joint accounts, assets, investments, and properties?
Discuss Money Matters Regularly
Differences In Financial Mindsets among married couples are one of the biggest sources of pain in a marriage. “Over 50 percent of failed marriages have money as one of the root problems. But instead of feeling daunted by the prospect, as with many things, communication is key. Be honest about each other’s spending and saving habits, discuss your net worth and list your liabilities. “Management of money in marriage requires constant dialogue. “The goal is to have the couple begin or continue a process of gaining information about their material resources so that they can maximize them.”
A Word of Legal Advice
Unless you and your husband entered into a pre-nuptial agreement before you got married, all properties you both obtained before or during your marriage becomes conjugally owned, as stated under the regime of absolute community of property under the Family Code of 1988. “The only exclusion is property obtained via inheritance, for this forms part of each spouse’s exclusive property.”
If you weren’t able to discuss joint and individual ownership of assets and properties before you got married, you may still do so. An informal agreement between you two will suffice, unless you want to make things official with a notarized post-nuptial agreement. “This is highly recommended, especially if you have a lot of properties to manage. “However, if you trust each other as spouses well enough, then you can opt for absolute community of property. That is to say that having a pre-nup doesn’t mean you don’t trust each other as spouses. You’re just being responsible.”
Issue No.4 : Sex and Intimacy
After their exciting honeymoon, Krista and Bernard De Leon were shocked to find out they had different sex drives as soon as they got back to reality. “My husband wanted to have sex often, and I didn’t,” she remembers with uneasiness. “While we didn’t verbally argue about it, we would be cold to each other for days, just because I didn’t give him what he wanted, and he wouldn’t understand that I needed to get in the right mood before doing it.”
“A truly dedicated lover works at their art, and realizes that art is no less valuable for having to be worked at.”
Talk about “It”
Though Sex May Seem Like an instinctual activity, it also requires a lot of work. Acknowledging the fact that you and your husband have different sex drives is essential to understanding that there are different ways you can be intimate with each other, not just through intercourse. “You can’t assume that your ‘conditions of love’ are applicable to, or accepted by any other party. “You can’t assume that these won’t be changed quite unpredictably.”
And while talking about sex makes you or your husband uncomfortable, it’s important to be straightforward about what you want in and out of the bedroom, and vice versa. “Everyone is different and everyone has their own desires,” says Nico Puertollano, who’s been married to Katwo for three years. Being in constant communication with his wife about their wants and needs in bed have nourished their sex life even after the honeymoon. “From my experience, being open and honest to your partner about what you want is good.” Then, as always, allow each other some room to compromise. “Desire will be strongest in situations where it’s awarded the most space and encouragement.”
Issue No.5 : Conflicting Expectations
Sometimes, people’s goals change, as Ryan Castro discovered when his wife Les suddenly indicated a desire to build a house. Before their wedding, he had the impression that she also wanted what he did-to eventually live and work abroad. “I got confused,” he shared, “because everything I had been doing up’ til now were working towards that goal. Now, she’s adamant about building our house, that I feel kind of left out, even hurt that she wouldn’t consider I want.”
Your Love Language
If you want to go deeper into understanding you and your spouse’s expectations, particularly in the area of emotional communication preference, try out this assessment test created by marriage and family life expert. Your hubby can take it, too.
Personals Goals vs. Couple Goals
It’s Important That You And Your Spouse share with each other your dreams and aspirations, so that you will know firstly whether or not they are compatible. You also identify which goals are negotiable and non-negotiable, to make compromising together a little easier. “There will be some dreams so strong that neither of you can put aside without great pain,” she says. “You can live with these differences if you learn to love one another’s dream.” Perhaps, you had your heart set on becoming a housewife, but his income may not be enough to support the lifestyle you both crave. Or, he had planned on a jetsetters’ life for both of you and you crave to only stay in one place. Realize that your personal goals may be different from the goals you and your husband may work towards as a couple, so talking it over thoroughly may help thresh out differing issues.
Who Does What?
Determine early on in your marriage about the roles you will assume at home, so that both of you can manage your expectations.
1. Will your husband earn both your keep, or would he rather hold the fort while you work? Or will you both be working, even when you decide to have children?
2. Who will do which chores-washing the dishes, doing the laundry, putting things back in order, etc.? Or, will you prefer to hire helper/s, and which spouse will manage them.
3. Who will have the last say when making decisions? Or will we always follow the unanimous decision rule?
4. Who will do regular accounting of expenses, and manage the budget, investments, and properties?
Going Into Parenthood
You’re so ready to have a child, and he isn’t? Plan this next phase of your relationship carefully so as to avoid resentments, which often affect the way you raise your child.
If he’s not yet ready, try to see where his unwillingness is coming from (e.g., possibly a family of origin issue) to understand better his side of the argument. If both of you are ready, decide when you would like to have children, how many you would like to have, as well as how many years there should be between them.