Unfortunately, dreaming of "happily ever after" as a newlywed can create unrealistic expectations and lots of problems down the road. So much of marriage advice today is too complicated, too pie-in-the-sky, and too out of touch with contemporary marriage.
Over the past three decades we have researched marriage around the world and have discovered the seven deadly mistakes newly married couples often make. These seven mistakes are not complicated to understand. Yet, newlyweds making these mistakes at the beginning of their lives together get off to a rough start.
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The 7 deadly mistakes newlyweds should never make:
1. Never go to bed mad at each other. Going to bed angry is toxic! This is the number one piece of advice from successfully married couples around the world. Don't listen to the "so called experts" who say you can sleep on it and talk about it in the morning when you are calmer. This is just not true!
2. Don't tally or keep score of wins and losses. Couples should never ignore bothersome behaviors, but "keeping score" or holding grudges is not okay. There are no winners and losers in a great marriage. You can't hold grudges and you shouldn't cast blame when things go wrong. Don't be afraid to argue and debate an issue. Just remember to fight fair and learn to argue effectively. It will serve your marriage well down the road.
3. Never lie to your spouse or make promises you cannot keep. Little white lies and broken promises erode the glue that holds marriages together. Even small lies can form a habit of dishonesty in your relationship. Trust is the foundation of any lasting relationship. Dishonesty erodes the very essence of the bond between the two of you.
4. Never make assumptions about what your new spouse likes, dislikes, enjoys, or thinks. Assumptions lead to trouble—and men who order for their wives could end up eating alone. Ask them! The old adage is certainly true that to assume is to make an "ass out of you and me!" And the corollary is, never ignore behaviors in your spouse that bother you. Talk about them. It will strengthen your relationship if you talk out issues calmly and respectfully.
5. Don't get into role stereotypes early in your marriage. Phrases such as "that's a man's job" or "that's woman's work" have no place in modern romances. Early role assignments based on stereotypical roles will only create imbalance and potential frustration later. Take the time to talk about each of your strengths, what responsibilities best fits each person, and how the two of you can share the burdens of life together in your marriage. Think in terms of "us" and "we" instead of "you" and "me."
6. Don't mount up a "butt load" of debt when you first get married. Racking up too much debt is pure poison when it comes to your marriage. Keep the use of credit cards under control. The single greatest cause of divorce and marital discourse is debt and other financial-related issues.
7. Don't assume that marriage is fair, just, and beautiful all the time. Just like life, marriage comes with its ups and downs. If you go into marriage believing it will be like a Hollywood movie with roses, sunshine, no responsibilities, and no setbacks, you are in for a big disappointment. Every successful marriage has to deal with setbacks.
You see, successful marriage is not all that complicated. In fact, if married couples would simply do the simple things that matter day in and day out in their marriage, they would be successful. The problem is, they don't!
If newlywed couples follow the simple advice we have outlined in this article, they will discover what we and other happily married couples have discovered over the decades—a successful marriage is an accumulation of having done the simple things. A great marriage is no more complicated than that!
Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our blog suggests you are highly interested in making your relationship work! And truthfully, we have learned over 30 years of marriage research that there are proven effective ways to ensure a happy and healthy marriage. In fact, as love and marriage experts we took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed throughout the world and put them into our award-winning and bestselling book, Building a Love that Lasts. Today, you can see how you stack up to the best marriages around the world. Take the Marriage Quiz to assess your chances of achieving a successful marriage of your own.
Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz
America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts
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