Welcome to The First Years of Marriage Newsletter! We talk about the conversations, challenges, and changes that begin once the honeymoon ends. Advice from experts, mistakes from me (Jen Glantz), and things you’re going to want to know as you continue to ask yourself this question - “I’m married, so now what?”
What Should Be Equal in a Marriage?
A lot of arguments I have with Adam all usually have the same punchline.
“I’m tired of being the only one who _____.”
What’s inside that blank space?
I’m tired of being the only one who sets goals for our relationship.
I’m tired of being the only one who plans vacations.
I’m tired of being the only one who wants to go on fun and interesting dates.
I’m tired of being the only one who researches your love language to understand you better!!!!
You get the hint.
Your list might be different. You might be annoyed that you do allll the chores around the house or that you’re the only one who brings up the tough but important convos.
Maybe you’re finding that you feel like you’re the only one keeping this marriage afloat.
All of this made me think:
What kind of equality should their be in a marriage?
Should everything - from finances to chores to planning dates - be 50/50?
This is a huge huge huge topic and there’s no one size fits all answer - EVER!!!!!
But - I figured I’d start the convo by asking some experts.
So pick something in your relationship that you feel isn’t balanced or stressing you out.
Does this expert advice below help?
(Let me know!)
Beware of Uncommunicated Expectations:
If you’re getting frustrated because you feel like you’re the ONLY ONE WHO ________ (fill in the blank), perhaps it is because your partner expects that and has no clue that you’re upset that they don’t help out or take on that task.
Linda Williams, a MSW, says that uncommunicated expectations lead to disappointment every time.
“Accept that any behaviors you have put up with over time will take at least twice that
amount of time to change,” says Williams.
So what can you start communicating now so that the resentment doesn’t keep building? Hmmmmm..
One-Time-at-the-Right Time Rule:
If you’re ready to dive into the convo about what you want to make more equal, Williams recommends doing it at the right time. So what does that mean?
Here’s a tip:
“Discussing expectations while you are frustrated, anxious, or angry will
result in no results. Take time to pull yourself together and schedule the
discussion at time when things are even-keel,” says Williams. “For example, discuss and negotiate all chores so your partners is empowered during the discussion. Come to terms and agree on the outcome and hold each other accountable to that agreement. That way you will have that discussion one time, at the right time, and will
no likely have to revisit the same challenge.”
Start With Fair & Go From There
If something in your relationship is bugging you and you feel like it’s alllll on you, it can be complicated to know exactly how to change that.
Dr. Niki Martinez, a LCPC, says the best place to start is to set a fair division, equanimity and boundaries from the start.
“You can always loosen the reigns as you go along, but you can not tighten
them back up if you start by setting no expectations,” says Dr. Martinez. “They are important to have, and it prevents fights and misunderstandings, as everyone knows what is expected of them, and what they have agreed too.”
Make Sure Both People Express Themselves
One more important tip from Hilary Silver, a LCSW, is when communicating about these new expectations, boundaries, or equal division of (FILL IN THE BLANK), is to make sure both partners are expressing themselves fully during the initial agreement phase, meaning they share what they think, feel, need or (don't) want to have happen.
“One partner may be more dominant, demanding, outspoken or enthusiastic than the other, but there must be room for both partners to share their desires,’ says Silver. “When both partners are heard, it's like they both have 'skin in the game.'Often one partner will attempt to avoiding what could seem like confrontation or conflict by by pleasing the other-- by going along with their partner and agreeing to something he or she doesn't wish to do. Later on however, they may be unhappy with the arrangement and this can lead to failure to follow through and resentment (for both partners).”
Hope these tips were helpful. Keep scrolling for a new love list!
Love you (for as long as we both shall live),
This Week’s Love List:
Best Lessons Learned During the First Years of Marriage: I asked strangers for their advice. Here’s what they said was what they learned during year one.
We Have This Book: It’s a lot of fun to dive into - especially early on in a new year.
There you go, friends! That’s the newsletter for this week. Leave a comment and share what you think!
Ps. If you’re new here, HELLO! Welcome. It means a lot that you’re reading this. Here’s where you can scroll through a bunch of other newsletters on all different important topics - from post-nups to love language.
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Love you (for as long as we both shall live),