Your first year of marriage is extremely foundational. They say the habits you form in year one can dictate the direction your marriage will continue down. Here are some good, practical marriage habits to help keep your relationship healthy and on the right track.
- Have Regular Check-Ins.
I cannot stress enough the importance of communication. When we first got married, my husband and I had regular weekly check-ins where we knew we could be safe and honest with each other. Here are some things you may cover in your check-in’s:
- How can I love you better?
- Was there anything that happened this week you would like to talk about?
- What can I do to better support you in x,y,z?
Regular communication keeps things from building up over time and addresses the issue sooner rather than later. Don’t be afraid to schedule time for these activities – whether it’s weekly check-ins, monthly date nights, scheduled sex, planning ahead of time will help you be more intentional in keeping the health of you marriage a priority when life gets busy.
- Make Goals, Create Vision.
Every six months my husband and I pull out our journal and record. We talk about favorite moments from the last part of the year, things we are learning, things we have improved, and most importantly – new goals we are working towards in the current season. Doing it together keeps us focused on building the life we want together. Goals can help motivate you, giving you something to strive for and encourage you to be the best you can be. Vision brings a shared sense of purpose into your day by day. These two combined can help you create a plan to have a fulfilling marriage that works for both of you.
- Manage your finances together.
I cannot stress the importance of this point. It amazes me how many people bring the “me” and “my” money mentality into their marriages. Doing it together is a great discipline – it allows both spouses to be informed as to what comes in and what it takes to manage a household. Many times marriages often have one spouse in control, and the other that simply follows their lead. Having one spouse in charge leaves room for financial abuse – potentially having one spouse dictating or controlling where the money can go, and deciding what is justified in spending money on a purchase. Regardless of who makes more, you are now one- additional income, but one pot.
As you manage your finances together, you can build financial goals around your life aspirations, and see forward progress on a monthly basis – whether that is debt reduction, saving for a down payment for a house, vacation, a baby fund, etc. Managing your finances allows you to navigate the path you wish to go down versus being limited by your financial circumstances.
- Have Personal Time- Invest In You.
In order to be the best version of you, don’t forget to invest in yourself – your spiritual walk, your health, and continuing hobbies/activities that make you happy. How can you give out, if you haven’t invested inside? You are one, but it doesn’t mean you have to lose your individuality.
For the first year of our marriage I always wanted to spend time with my husband. I realized that I had stopped doing some things that made me happy because he didn’t find interest in them, and I found myself picking up activities he did because I was trying to be supportive, but it wasn’t who I was. It’s good to find things to do together, but don’t forget to balance your together and personal time. You’ll find you enjoy your togetherness more and you will be more intentional with the time you do have together.
And as a final note, keep it simple. Be practical; make steps and routines that work for your relationship. What works for my husband and I may not work for another couple based on their schedules and personalities. Be sensitive to what each of you needs, and develop a plan to make your marriage work.