The Truth About the First Year of Marriage

Want to know what to expect once you're married? Real brides reveal the high — and low — points of newlywed life.

first year of marriage
Photo Credit: Brandy Angel Photography

"Before we were married, we were always so busy it was hard to find time to be together. I assumed that once we were married, it wouldn’t be a problem — like it would magically solve itself. Of course it didn’t, but we problem-solved and decided to make regular dates on Fridays, just the two of us. Now we know we’ll always have Friday!” —Madalyn

Related: 20 Cheap Date Ideas

In our first year, we ended up having to move in with my husband’s parents because we couldn’t afford to rent our own apartment. My dream of having a happy life with my husband was put on hold. We almost never had any time alone together. It was a big disappointment, but it served a purpose by helping us focus on getting our work lives together so we could become independent more quickly.” —Lucy

Our eating habits went way downhill! We’d sit on the couch after work and eat pizza and popcorn instead of having real meals. When I started gaining weight, I knew I had to plan and cook healthy meals — it was either that or get fat! It took a real effort to change our bad eating habits.” —Sara

Related: Healthy Snack Ideas

“We argued over cleaning the house. We lived in a studio apartment, which was bad because we had no separate spaces. I was obsessed with keeping things clean! My husband took a much more relaxed approach and it made me so mad. And he was getting sick of my freak-outs. Eventually we moved to a bigger place, and now he keeps his stuff in his own space.” —Ashley

We had a hard time dealing with the holidays in our first year. We wanted to please everyone in both families, so we ended up going to three Christmas dinners: his parents’, my parents’ and his sister’s. We rolled home about 20 pounds heavier. I realized we had to organize holiday family visits so they worked better for us.” —Gwen

Related: How to Decide Where to Spend the Holidays

Money was our issue. We had to learn to discuss things with each other. Or at least I did. I was used to being single, and I just wanted to buy what I wanted the way I always had. My husband was very mature, and he insisted on our sitting down every month to go over bills. At first I really hated it. But I now think he was right. For both of us, it was a lesson in learning how to strengthen our marriage.” —Mikaela

Related: The Tough Money Talks You Must Have Before Marriage

"In our first year of marriage, I learned my husband was completely incapable of putting any dirty clothes in the hamper — all his laundry fell a few inches shy of the hamper. It drove — and STILL drives — me crazy!!!" —Jessica

“I found out that it’s my job to make plans to see friends. He’ll go along if I say we’re meeting another couple for dinner, but if I don’t do it, he won’t, either. I told him I really wanted him to help out with our social life. But he hasn’t done it yet; I honestly think he’s a true homebody.” —Amy

The low point of our first year was losing my job. The high point was that my husband didn’t! Early on, we had to learn how to depend on each other and it made us stronger as a couple.” —Stephanie

Related: 20 Ways to Make Your Marriage Stronger