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How To Survive The First Five Years of Marriage and Thrive

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gabby n d.wadeBy Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

If you’re a married woman, you probably know that one of the quickest ways for your life to become chaotic is to let things slip in your marriage. Marriage is very much like a garden that needs to be tended every single day, especially in the early years. When you neglect your marriage, ugly things happen just like weeds start to grow or plants dry out and become lifeless in a garden that is neglected.

Unfortunately, it has become common for many marriages to end in the first five years. Below are six ways that you can fortify your marriage in the first five years:

1. Have his back – This morning, on Facbeook I shared a status update that sums this up well:

If your spouse is in a disagreement with ANYBODY, you must always stand with your spouse regardless of whether they are wrong or right…The discussion of his/her being wrong or right is for afterwards. In the heat of the moment, stand with your spouse ALWAYS….This is fundamental.

Your spouse has to know that no matter what happens, they have your support and protection, even in their absence.
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2. Set up an agreement – Setting up “rules of engagement” is very important, especially in what I call “modern marriages”. In past generations, gender roles were both clear and actually quite rigid so everybody generally knew what was expected of them. Now, we live in a time where we have to clarify our expectations, negotiate them and then write down what we agree to. This helps to minimize conflicts and confusion.

3. Become an observer – Observe your spouse. What makes him irritated or anxious? What makes him happy and excited? While it is ideal for people to say exactly what they want, a lot of times, people don’t, so becoming an observer will give you insight into your spouse.

4. Make pleasing your spouse a priority – Being an observer is great because it sets you up to become a “pleaser”. Making pleasing your spouse in small but significant ways will go a long way towards making your marriage both enjoyable and sustainable. Most people don’t realize that they can be quite selfish and self involved so it is important to make taking the focus off of yourself and finding little things that you can do to please your spouse a priority.
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5. Ask the expert – I often talk about how quickly people will run to their friends, family members and even book stores to look for solutions to their problems with their spouses. While a trusted friend or relative and even a good book (as long as all three are credible and can be trusted to help and and not harm your marriage) may be okay, don’t forget that the expert(on what your spouse wants and needs) is your spouse. Check in with your spouse about what they want and need and be willing to deliver.

6. Have a support system – It always amazes me how much time, money and energy people will spend on mentors, coaches and trainings that address every aspect of their lives except their marriages. Make sure you have a support system for your marriage. It can be an older and more experienced couple or a paid professional with a good track record but something has to be in place. When you join lives with another person, conflict and problems are inevitable and you must have a support system in place to be able to overcome those issues and come out stronger on the other side.
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Nomalanga is a Life Balance Expert. Her speaking and coaching programs help busy women who struggle to balance Marriage, Motherhood and Money-Making™.  Nomalanga is an experienced instructor, author and avid blogger.

To find out how you can book Nomalanga to present at  your next conference or event, click here.