MISTAKE NO. 1: NOT DEALING WITH DEBT
We know it's not very romantic, but there are lots of financial to-dos the
first year - particularly if you want to set yourself up to buy a home within a
few years. Money is the No. 1 thing couples fight about (and divorce over);
dealing with the touchy topic now is key.
NEXT STEPS: Get your wedding debt out of the way ASAP! Otherwise it will just
be the foundation of future debt. Tell each other up front about your personal
debt - because for better or worse, you just married it! Set up a financial game
plan for your future.
MISTAKE NO. 2: ALIENATING YOUR FRIENDS
Friends are the foundation of a successful marriage, so you need to keep them
as an important factor in your life (the single ones, too). Don't just hide away
with your sweetheart in married land!
Three common ways you might alienate your best pals:
--Ignoring them (it's okay for a month, but after that, get back out in the
--Pressuring them to get on marriage track.
--Always bringing him along.
NEXT STEPS: Make it clear to them early on that they are a key part of your
life. Invite people over, go out with them (and without your spouse), and make a
point to be social, even if your schedule is tight.
MISTAKE NO. 3: NOT HAVING ENOUGH SEX
Sex is incredibly important to a good marriage. But over 60 percent of
newlyweds surveyed were already in a sex rut!
Three key reasons why:
--It's a busy time in your life.
--You're not feeling great about yourself (we'll get to that).
--You're becoming complacent.
NEXT STEPS: Initiate sex, even if you don't feel like it. If you get in the
habit of having it, you'll start wanting it more - and liking it more too!
Schedule sex. It should never be an afterthought. Talk about sex. Face the
issues now, and get comfortable with talking about them. Get in the mood. Try to
keep things a bit sexy between you, and don't underestimate the power of
flirting (send a provocative e-mail during the day - this is our staff-tested
best foreplay formula).
MISTAKE NO. 4: LETTING YOURSELF GO
Yes, we mean gaining weight. Newlyweds put on the pounds starting with the
honeymoon and never make the effort to take these "newlywed nine" off - why
bother? Right - you've already found your mate!
Three key reasons:
--You're not as motivated.
--You love playing house, cooking big meals, and indulging together.
--You're too busy to watch what you're eating or head to the gym.
NEXT STEPS: Make a plan to get fit - together - or at least respect each
other's goals. (Our favorite calorie-burning activity: sex.) Give yourself a
reward - a bikini-clad vacation, perhaps?
Seek support. Motivate each other. Get the pat on the back you deserve,
without the criticism.
MISTAKE NO. 5: LETTING THE IN-LAWS BECOME OUT-LAWS
Fifty percent of couples surveyed have a problematic relationship with their
in-laws. This will only get worse as resentment arises and babies and other
complications arrive on the scene.
--This is a transitional time for your parents, who might try and hold on
tighter when their kids are moving "away" to start their own families.
--This is also a transitional time for you - your parents might be emotional,
but you don't want to make things worse.
--It's frustrating to deal with another family. Let's face it - it's
sometimes hard enough to have your own.
NEXT STEPS: Be very clear about any boundaries right away (example: set up a
schedule for holidays) to avoid false expectations (example: your MIL piles on
the guilt when you don't show up at Thanksgiving dinner). Never badmouth each
other's families - even if your spouse is complaining about his own. It's one
thing to gripe about your own parents, but quite another to hear it from someone
else. Support your partner's feelings, but don't add on to them.
MISTAKE NO. 6: FIGHTING UNFAIRLY
Don't think it's okay to hit below the belt now that you are married.
Disagreements are inevitable, but drawn-out grudge matches shouldn't be. Believe
it or not, there are rules on how to fight fairly.
NEXT STEPS: Pick your battles. Know when to engage in an argument and when to
let it go - without resentment. When you're getting really heated, walk away,
even if it's just to cool down for a few minutes. You don't want to regret
something you say (or do) when you're too mad to think straight. Move on to
making up. That's the best part anyway, right? Skip the handshake and go
straight for sex.
MISTAKE NO. 7: BECOMING OBSESSED WITH THE NEXT STEP - BABY
Newlyweds become so obsessed with the next monumental step in their life that
they forget to enjoy the present. Many couples that expect to have their first
child approximately three years after being married actually end up starting a
family earlier than they expected.
NEXT STEPS: Focus on your relationship. Enjoy the here-and-now time you have
together. Savor the moments when you won't have to be waking up for a 4 a.m.
feeding. Make foundations. Think about when the timing will be right for you and
plan accordingly. If the idea is in your head - even in the far-off future - it
might keep you from over-obsessing now.