3 Marriage Tips Every Newlywed Should Know

Happy couple cuddling I was at a cousin’s wedding this past month when someone asked me for a couples therapist’s advice for a great marriage. The question really made me think: How do you teach someone to be a good spouse? Is that something that comes from learning by example, watching your parents for years in their interactions? To some degree, probably. But what about people with less-than-model examples in their lives?

Although many marital problems cannot be solved by adhering to the following three recommendations alone, they can help excited newlyweds as they merge from two individuals to one cohesive unit:

  1. Be available to each other: You can find someone to help clean the house or have groceries delivered, but you cannot replace the special and unique emotional gift you can offer your spouse. You have the opportunity to offer kind words of love, open arms, and perhaps most importantly, an open ear. When you return from a long day at work, you can put down the phone and close the laptop and ask your partner about his or her day. The loving words and unconditional support are things your spouse cannot receive in the same way from another relationship. Make time to listen and to ask him or her about the things that are going on at work or with family/friends. In addition to the words and emotional support, you have the power to offer your body, if you feel so inclined, as a means to comfort and seal the connection. The intimate bond between a husband and a wife is something only you two share with each other.
  2. Love (the emotion and the verb): It’s easy to find faults in people. It’s easy to become fixated on the negative or irritating attributes of someone, especially someone you live with. However, you can make a conscious effort to choose to feel gratitude and loving feelings toward your spouse. Concentrate on your spouse’s strengths and positive attributes and connect those to feelings of love. This will help you to make the connection to physical expressions of love. Men often look to sex as a way to express emotional intimacy, and while that is true of many women as well, some need emotional intimacy to have sex. If you offer your spouse emotional and physical intimacy, you increase the chances that you will both have your needs met.
  3. Keep disputes private and praise public: Children should grow up in an environment where parents demonstrate praise and work out their disagreements privately. Although many people believe they are being “fake” or lying to their children by doing this, there is no need to bring children into marriage issues. This only confuses children and may leave them feeling conflicted about which parent to support. When out with friends or family, do not criticize your spouse. You can discuss your problems with a close friend or confidant, but resist from openly discussing issues in a larger group or public setting. Aside to the ladies: studies have shown that when women sit around together and complain about their husbands, there is a higher rate of divorce. Resolve marriage issues privately with one another or with the help of a therapist. Conversely, you can never give enough praise. Studies have shown that people give less praise than they think they do. You can never give enough. This will make your spouse feel encouraged and loved.

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  • Treena

    September 10th, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    There are many of us who get the whole praise thing backwards!
    We are very apt to air our dirty laundry in public, but very rarely do we tell our spouses just how much we love them, especially in the vicinity of other people.

  • Annie

    September 10th, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    The one about love being both an emotion as well as a verb is something that is sooo important, but you guessed it, we all forget that over time. It is one thing to be in love with someone but it is much harder to show this person those emotions in a deep and caring way day in and day out. It is hard and it is work, but that is love in a nutshell, and if you want to keep the emotions strong, then you also have to keep the work behind those emotions strong as well.

  • Jeffrey

    September 11th, 2014 at 3:52 AM

    Good advice for every married couple, newlywed or not I would say

  • harrison

    September 11th, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    I know that there are many churches who make couples go through counseling before they can get married, but that doesn’t really count because most of those situations that they bring up are kind of silly and don’t really help you figure out how you will react to different things when you are actually in the moment.

    More than pre marital counsling I think that most of us would do better with in the moment counseling and knowing that there is someone that we can go to once it happens. It is easy to talk about how we THink that we may react but it is a lot more real when you wait for it to actually happen and then you have to work through it.

  • Lora

    September 12th, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    The newlywed phase is something that I miss at times and then there are times when I don’t miss it at all.

    You are so close to one another and want to be with each other all of the time, but as time goes on you lose some of that and you sort of want to be by yourself a little more. I do miss that feeling of wanting to be with my husband all of the time but there are a million things that pull us both in all different directions now.

    I would like to tell newlyweds that the honeymoon doesn’t last forever unless you work very hard to make it last. Sometimes you will wnat to and others you will not, but you can’t ever give up on the marriage if you wnat to stay together.

  • derek d

    September 13th, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    We forgot that we have to be there for each other no matter what. I went into marriage determiend not to lose the things that were always important to me but in the mean time I forgot to take care of the things that were important to the two of us together. It was a real challenge to find that just right balance of how to keep my own needs met mixed with how the meet the needs of the marriage as a whole. We are getting there but it can still be tricky to find that balance.

  • Renee

    September 15th, 2014 at 4:05 AM

    Can anyone explain why so many of these things start to go wrong once you get married?
    I mean, obviously most of us have all of this before we get married or else we would never choose to marry this person in the first place.
    So then what happens to make us so lazy that we can’t do the simple things that need to be done to keep the marriage running smoothly?
    Where do most of us go so terribly wrong?

  • niles

    September 16th, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    @Renee- I think that people simply get busy and wrapped in their own individual lives and crises and forget that there is still someone else there at home who needs us too. We get caught up at work, or outside interests and the marriage kind of falls to the bottom of our list of priorities. I think that we too often think that the marriage will just continue to run along smoothly when I think that there are many of us who will confirm that nope, this isn’t how this happens. I want to say that my wife and I are still in the honeymoon phase all the time, but that would be a lie. There are some days when we are and others that I don’t think that we care if we are with each other too much or not. we still try to work on it though when we see days like that looming and try to do better when we see that we need to.

  • Sasha C

    March 22nd, 2016 at 11:46 AM

    This is a great blog post. I have struggled in the past with marriage issues and have now finally gotten to a point where we are happy. There are many pieces of advice I have for married couples. One of the biggest pieces of advices is to seek help and advice. I found a lot of inspiration through Dr Robi Ludwig.

  • Danni B

    January 10th, 2017 at 12:47 PM

    I really like your 3rd tip “keep disputes private and praise public” when it comes to being newly married. My husband and I have been married for about a year now and we have been really struggling lately. We have been thinking about talking with a marriage counselor so we will be sure to keep these tips in mind, thank you!

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