Jillian Turecki—relationship expert, yoga teacher, and public speaker—understands that the first year of marriage can be incredibly hard. Instead of focusing on what frustrates you about your partner, however, she believes that the “quality of your marriage is in direct proportion to how willing you are to look inside yourself and grow emotionally. The best thing to do is take action toward changing your habitual reactions to stress, and commit to daily practices that keeps the relationship in perspective.”
Ultimately, says Turecki, “You must value the love you share with this other person more than anything else in your life. Remember that it will be painful at times, but it’s an opportunity to grow in ways you never thought imaginable.”
Below, four tips for surviving the first year of marriage for newlyweds who wants to lay the foundation for thriving lives together.
transform your criticism into curiosity. “Over time, you are going to learn a lot about this other person,” says Turecki. “But I promise you this: what you think you know is not all that you know. You are complex. We all are. So before you judge a part of your partner that you don’t like, get curious about what really is going on for them at that moment. Seek to understand them. Commit to listening to them. Ask questions.
And while you’re at it, do this for yourself as well. Blame will get you nowhere. Criticism will kill love. Expectations and rules will limit you and your relationship. So, have more conversations where you share your dreams, and ask to hear theirs. Practice more fun and appreciation every single day. Instead of keeping tabs of what your getting or not getting, give more love.”
accept that you might not like how your partner handles stress. “If you haven’t experienced your lover under extreme stress and pain, chances are you’ll witness this within the first year of marriage,” says Turecki.
“What you see might surprise or even downright scare you, but I promise though that you’ll be scary to your spouse at times, too. It is a masterful skill to be able to manage stress well—remember, like anything else, it’s a skill that takes time. Just because you don’t like how they are handling the pressures of a certain situation, doesn’t mean they won’t change over time. The goal, always, is to focus on yourself. You can still have a beautiful life together.”
get stuck in routine. “It’s a truism.” says Turecki, “When we get used to something, someplace, or someone, we’ll take it for granted. And marriage, by nature, is filled with daily monotonous routine. It’s very important to break them up! Surprise your spouse with a date night every once in awhile.
Appreciate them in your mind and heart as much as you can daily—and be sure to actually share some of those sentiments. Sometimes we forget who we were in the beginning of a relationship. Were you more carefree? More independent? More loving? More sexual? Bring that person back more than you think. This will make you feel more alive, and that feeling will bring excitement and passion back to your relationship.”
commit to growth. “It sounds so obvious,” says Turecki, “but you’d be amazed how many people don’t actually listen to their partner. Instead of waiting for them to stop talking so you can get in your two cents, really open your mind and hear what they are telling you.
Keep checking in with each other. Ask your spouse what their beliefs are. See if the two of you can dispel old ideas that no longer represent your deepest principles. As long as you’re progressing towards a shared vision for a fulfilling life you’ll feel like you’re growing together toward a meaningful future. The goal is for the two of you to to co-create the future you want your marriage to have.”
Jillian Turecki has been studying the art and science of fulfillment for 18 years. She is certified by the Robbins Madanes Center for Strategic Intervention/Coaching under the masterful guidance of Anthony Robbins, Cloe Madanes, Magali and Mark Peysha—known for employing innovative strategic solutions to the most pervasive difficult problems. Jillian is expertly trained in working with the individual, couples, and families, and is sought out for her compassionate, direct, and authentic style of coaching and teaching. Subscribe to her newsletter here for more weekly wisdom and information on future events.