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New Beginnings: A Guide for Recently Married Couples

Just as people change as they age, so do marriages, and some marriage and relationship experts think that long lasting, successful marriages go through three distinct phases. Some of these phases are bumpier rides than others. Couples should particularly be cautious during those “dissatisfied” middle-aged years of marriages. But for those who can weather the bumps (and assorted potholes) of marriage, the good news is the prospect of spending your golden years with a devoted friend and partner.

In interviews with the media, an elderly British couple who wed in their teens and were still going strong after sixty years of marriage claimed that the secret of their success was that “we fight every day”. While experts don’t advocate actual brawls or screaming matches, they do agree that frank, candid conversations in which both partners are equal participants concerning issues are essential to a successful marriage. There are some fairly universal problems that newlyweds (no matter how many times they are married) encounter. If left unaddressed, they can grow to sizes that can severely damage or destroy a marriage. Below are a few examples, and suggestions for managing them before they become unmanageable.

Finances

Employment history. Taxes. Credit scores. Student loans. You’re a team now, newlyweds, so since your individual financial transactions can affect both of you for better and worse, it’s important to make full and honest disclosures to each other on these topics. You also will need to make decisions concerning bank accounts, (Separate? Joint? Both?), tax filing, and often workplace retirement funds and health insurance plans, since it is common in both cases for new spouses to be placed on a partner’s policy. Unless you’re two accountants in love, the best way to deal with all of this financial decision making is to sit down with a family financial planner before or very early in a marriage. He or she is an experienced, neutral money expert who can find the assets and point out pitfalls couples can bring into a marriage here, and help them blueprint both short and long-term solutions for dealing with them.

A Little Pornography Is Good For A Marriage, Right?

Not according to marriage and relationship experts, who say that pornography viewing (especially internet pornography) within a relationship can lead to a loss of trust and intimacy within a relationship, lead to distorted body and relationship expectations within a relationship, and can lead to addiction and its attendant problems (money and relationship losses, etc.). There are many ways to learn how to quit porn available to everyone. This is a problem that newlyweds need to address both as a couple and separately, with individual and joint counseling. The pornography enthusiast especially needs to work on self-worth and sexual issues by joining a support group, coming up with action plans, and identifying triggers.

Property

Because many couples are marrying later now after establishing careers,, their first joint purchase together is often now not furniture, but an actual house to put it in. Or perhaps the marriage is a second one, with one spouse moving into another’s home. Or possibly the newlyweds have been told that only Spouse A’s name should appear on that mortgage “for tax purposes”. Since everything from income levels to the decision to be a stay-at-home parent can affect the ability to purchase homes, and the rights of both spouses concerning property, such a purchase should well researched before committed to, and done with professional financial advice.

If it sounds as though there’s a recurring theme of suggested counseling here that may not seem needed, newly wedded couples will find that seeking such advice while embarking on marriage will provide them with a foundation to build a stable, long lasting marriage upon.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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