Newlyweds arguing. Does that seem like an oxymoron? While it might depend on how long you define the newlywed period, we usually associate newlyweds with the honeymoon phase – that blissful time after the wedding when everything seems carefree and happy. You see each other as pretty much perfect, and hearts float around you as you gaze at each other adoringly.
Okay, that might be a bit cliché – and not very realistic. The truth is, the first years of marriage are often quite challenging. As you start your life together and continue to get to know all of the different facets of each other, new issues pop up that may not have had the opportunity to reveal themselves before. Here are four common topics you might argue about as newlyweds.
Roles and responsibilities
Marriage often means navigating new territory when it comes to sharing and managing a household. Who plans and cooks meals? Who does which chores? Who keeps track of appointments and social engagements? These are just a few of the items you’ll face in your day-to-day life together. It’s not uncommon to assume these things will just work themselves out on their own, and sometimes they do. But often, you’ll need to have conversations about what’s working, what’s not, and what makes the most sense for your relationship. Talking about how things were handled in your home growing up can give you insight into the assumptions you’ve carried with you into your own marriage. Be open-minded and willing to make adjustments that better suit your individual skills and interests.
Every couple and family is different, but once you’re “married in,” so to speak, you often end up spending more time with each other’s family. And even if it’s not time physically spent with them, you might notice a big uptick in the mental and emotional presence they have in your life. In-laws being intrusive into areas of your relationship that you deem private? Your spouse not taking your side in a disagreement with their family? Disagreement around where you’ll spend the holidays? These problems present a great opportunity to discuss things like boundaries, family rituals and traditions, and other family-related areas of contention. Your families will likely be an important presence in your lives, so set a precedent early in your marriage to address these issues head on.
Money always has the potential to be a touchy topic. Before you were married, you may have been able to skirt around any major conflicts, but once you’re married, the stakes rise significantly. Money decisions no longer affect just you, and that can be an adjustment. Your spouse might have some money habits that take you by surprise, or you could simply find yourselves at odds over how you want to manage your finances as a married couple. Discussing your early experiences with money and how it was handled in your families can shed light on your money values and attitudes as an adult. It can also help you gain a better understanding of each other in order to align on your financial goals and priorities.
This one has an asterisk, and for good reason: it can affect all areas of your relationship, including the topics above and much more. Whether you’re aware of it or not, you both bring expectations into marriage. When those expectations are not met, whether it’s because they’re unrealized, unspoken, unrealistic, or some combination of the three, some sort of conflict will usually ensue. Although the true cause for the discontent can sometimes be hard to pinpoint, avoid the temptation to brush it aside. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about each other and yourself as you explore your expectations and make adjustments. The ability to discuss expectations is another one that will pay dividends throughout your marriage, not just early on.
Arguing as newlyweds is common. After all, you’re still learning about each other, which you’ll hopefully continue to do as you grow together throughout your marriage. The goal here isn’t to avoid these arguments – quite the opposite! The conversations that flow out of them can actually help you and your spouse explore some really important topics that will have a significant impact throughout your marriage.