The first year of marriage is exhilarating, joyful and difficult. You are both learning to compromise and cooperate on a deeper level. You have big decisions to make together, but honestly, sometimes the smaller, everyday decisions are harder. But the year is full of fun firsts. Every day is still a bit of a new adventure. And while your actual honeymoon might be over, often a sort of honeymoon glow lights your first year of marriage. The second year can be different.
You’re moving to a deeper level of connection, but the excitement of all the firsts is over. The second year of marriage is hard work. You’ve probably accumulated some annoyances. Things you let slide start to pile up. Your spouse’s habits might start to seem more annoying and less endearing. Any big decisions about starting a family or where to live that you put on the back burner might heat up in the second year of marriage. Being aware of the challenges of the second year of marriage can help you navigate them in a happier and healthier way.
Living Happily Ever After
But the second year is not all struggle and strife! You are probably very relaxed and deeply comfortable with each other. After a full year together, you’ve seen that you can work through disagreements. You’ve learned to agree to disagree about certain things. All of this gives you a certain confidence. You’re on solid ground, and you know it. You can build on that and be proactive about meeting the challenges of the second year of marriage.
This is the time to establish good habits in your marriage. A weekly date night is a popular way for couples to get a regular dose of romance. Escaping the day to day hassles of life is important to keep the joy in your relationship. The more you try to build things you enjoy doing together into your routine, the more happiness you welcome into your marriage. Date night is only one thing. What about a nice walk together every evening? Card or board games? Whatever it is you both like to do together deserves time in your schedule. But conflict is inevitable. It helps to accept that and agree to some ground rules to keep yourselves focused on problem solving.
Over the course of your second year of marriage, you can expect to really hit your stride together. Sure, you will have work to do. But you’ll have a growing confidence and skill to work through whatever life throws at you, from children to career changes to aging parents. Take heart. The work you do in your second year of marriage pays off. It’s a bit like work in your garden. If you work hard to prepare the soil and tend it regularly, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful flowers and delicious vegetables. If you find the second year of marriage difficult, you might be encouraged to learn that one survey found that the third year of marriage is the happiest.