This is a follow up answer to the request for advice about the first year of marriage. Great perspective for anyone in a relationship — so smart and real. Thank you to my 40-something panel for sharing their wisdom.
Pay no attention to studies or authorities who tell you what “should” happen during year one or year six or whatever. If you’re happy, and your partner is happy, you’re good. You and your partner have a right to expect that your individual and mutual happiness are of crucial importance to each other, and so if for any reason you are NOT happy, don’t just soldier on and wait for things to get better. If your partner downplays your opinions or your happiness, that’s a huge red flag. I don’t mean you should worry that if you get angry at each other, you made some kind of huge mistake and it’s time to leave.
Anger’s part of a healthy range of human emotions. You have to figure out your dynamic; some couples argue, whereas others go off into separate corners to cool down and then regroup to speak calmly and resolve the issue. As long as you find a strategy that’s acceptable to both, great. You are a team — each responsible to care for the other, and you are each responsible for speaking and explaining, considerately and thoughtfully, when there might be something that you need to talk about.
Also, congratulations! I hope it’s a lot of fun, and the first of many years. – wife, mom, educator, Los Angeles