Surviving the First Year of Marriage
Top Ten Tips: Creating a Successful Foundation in your First Year of Marriage
By Cheryl Marks-Young

We have all heard the statement, "The first year is the hardest." Can you picture the person who first said that to you? Did they seem happy about being married or were they proclaiming their happiness through gritted teeth? Does hearing ‘the first year is the hardest’ really make you want to get married if you are still single? Have you witnessed your parents or married friends fighting or complaining about the difficulties of being married?

Are you ready to have that "blissful" experience you think of as marriage and not the one those people complain about? If you are ready to have a fabulous and fun entry into the World of Marriage, then this article is for you. A successful marriage begins with a good foundation and are responsible for creating that foundation. Here are some tips on how you can build the foundation for a lasting relationship:

  • A good foundation starts with the familiar catch-all phrase of "Self-Love." If you both take care of yourselves and take responsibility for your own happiness, then you will be very powerful in creating happiness with each other. Be responsible for yourself and for your actions.
  • A sense of humor in the face of the everyday stuff can be very powerful for your relationship. It allows for creative solutions to otherwise challenging situations. Learning how to laugh at yourself and learning to not take life too seriously can create some very fun evenings that you will both be talking about for years to come.
  • Create an agreement that only one person can be crazed at a time and stick with the agreement. If your partner comes home from a bad day at the office and needs to blow off steam by complaining, give them the space to do that as long as you are not being harmed by the situation. Wait until he or she is finished before jumping in with complaints from your day. This is about making sure that both you and your partner feel heard and listened to and goes a long way in feeling appreciated and acknowledged.
  • Communicate! The caveat here is to communicate without criticism. Your partner needs to know when he or she has stepped on your boundaries. You are BOTH individuals that deserve to be treated well and occasionally you may hurt each other unknowingly. You need to share your needs in a calm and non-critical way and make space for your partner to share their side of the story. If you both can understand where the other is coming from, you will know how to take care of each other in the future.
  • Do not complain to your friends, your family or your partner's family about them. Even though you think these comments might be made in confidence, your partner will feel your criticism. Somehow we all know when we have been spoken about in a critical way. Even if we are not present, we still know. This can be a powerful force on your relationship. Unless you are being harmed in a way that requires the help of friends and family, keep your personal complaints between you and your partner. So, if your partner is sloppy around the house, do not share this with six friends unless you are seeking real help to resolve the situation. If this is the case, then you might want to speak with a coach or another qualified individual who can be constructive and objective in solving your situation.
  • Share responsibilities and use each other's strengths to get the everyday things accomplished. We don't often like to hear this but sometimes other people can do things better than we can. There is nothing wrong with letting your partner wash the dishes if you are the better cook - or taking turns depending on who wants to cook. The same thing with cleaning the bathroom or paying the bills or keeping track of birthdays, etc. There is also the other alternative of doing some of the chores together (i.e., food shopping or laundry). Express appreciation for the hard work your partner did to handle the bills or cook a fabulous dinner. This will go a long way in creating a successful foundation for your marriage.
  • Greet your partner every day with a hug and a kiss and say “I love you” at least once a day. Whether it is the first thing you do upon waking up or the first thing you do when they arrive home at night, this is a powerful way to reaffirm your bond every day. It is also a pleasant way to reconnect with each other. It is also powerful to say "Goodnight" to each other before going to bed.
  • Find something to appreciate about your partner every day and communicate that to them. It can be as simple as a Thank You for throwing out the garbage or telling them you love them in the color shirt they are wearing or simply telling them you love waking up next to them. This communication needs to be honest and sincere and can be extremely powerful in putting a smile on your partner's face when they are having a bad day.
  • Create some quiet time for yourself and your partner to be alone separately and to also be alone together. It is important to spend some time apart to allow each of you to recharge and do your own thing. Read a book or take a walk or go out with friends. Do whatever it is that you love to do when you need to recharge yourself. Sometimes you can be alone while you are both in the same house. My husband sometimes watches TV while I read a book and vice versa. We both do what helps us recharge and we can be together yet apart in the same space.
  • Celebrate and acknowledge your anniversary monthly and do this with other important events (i.e., your first date, your first kiss or whatever makes you smile). You can do this with just an acknowledgement or a card or even an occasional dinner out. My husband and I celebrate the Anniversary of our First Date every year by riding the Staten Island Ferry. Creating a tradition of your own can be very fun and it keeps the romance going.

Cheryl Marks-Young is a professional coach and the Founder and CEO of Creative Blueprints, LLC. Visit her website at:




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