Crisis of the first year of married life: psychologist’s advice
The first year of married life is a difficult period for two people. The new period in which the couple is transitioning into, makes them reconsider the system of values that existed before. Psychologist Marina Kekhter talks about the crisis of the first year of married life.
Reconciliation is a problem of the first year of married life. Some people are able to do this painlessly for the relationship, and some have to overcome a difficult crisis associated with it. It is important to know that everyone is different, lapping will be with each person. This is normal, everyone has their own vision of what a family should look like.
It is possible to overcome a crisis in a relationship if you know the reasons for its occurrence. Psychologist Marina Kekhter will talk about them and give advice on how to overcome this difficult period in the lives of both people:
Question: How many people go to bed on their wedding night?
Answer: two people – the bride and the groom.
The correct answer is: 6 people – the bride, her dad, her mom, the groom, his dad, his mom…(the list can be expanded to include all the adults involved in raising a child, in shaping his views).
This anecdote shows what happens in the first year of married life. While young (or not young) people get to know each other, meet, go to the movies, visit each other-they get to know each other, so to speak, “from the front.” But what is in the “house” of each of them begins to open only with the beginning of life together, and this recognition lasts days, months, years.
The first year of life together, as a rule, is filled with various surprises and discoveries, we learn something new about ourselves, and even more new about our partner. Not always this is new with a “plus” sign. If these discoveries with a “minus” becomes too much for one or both spouses, if the discomfort in the relationship exceeds what could endure the partner – there is a crisis of the first year of marriage.
So why is there a crisis of the first year of the family relationship?
Let’s start in order, of course, with childhood, for there often lie the answers to our questions.
1. The child is born into a family. Everything he receives from the world comes to him through his parents. The way the family is arranged is, for him, the way the world is arranged. He grows up and sees that some things happen differently in other families. His view of the world expands. But he doesn’t know what the model of the other family is from the inside, what patterns of internal relationships make them do things differently. It’s like different states. In every state, people do the same thing: they are born, they learn, they work. But each state does it somehow in its own way, in the context of historical past, lived experience, economic conditions. You could say that each family is a small state with its own internal laws, traditions, and history. When two people decide to create a family, it is like the creation of a new state in which different families meet, with their specific psychological history, their stereotypes of behavior in the family, their ways of solving problems of survival and distribution of roles in the family.
2. A crisis of the first year of a marriage relationship can occur when familiar, necessary and sometimes not realized things suddenly disappear. The simplest example – in the morning no one cooked breakfast, which in one family was prepared for everyone by mom, and in the other everyone ate breakfast alone, when he wanted. It seems like everything is as before – there are people who love each other, but now you have to decide who will be the “cooking mom” and how it fits in with everyone’s personal plans, or how everyone will cook their own breakfast and how it fits in with filling the fridge with the necessary products. And that’s where you have to agree. That is, either accept the scheme of one of the parent families, or “give birth” to their own. And if there is no acceptable idea for two, there may be a conflict of interest. Another difficulty is that we often cannot answer the question of what we want, because we are not aware of many of our habitual actions. For example, maybe I would like to have breakfast at a convenient time and eat what I want, but I am not used to it, and the absence of a familiar ritual – breakfast with the whole family – causes anxiety and discomfort. The human psyche tends to be wary of any changes. Especially when it comes to issues of personal space. So the first step on the way to agreements is to understand what you want. It sounds simple. But my experience as a practical psychologist shows me that what I mostly do is to help people hear their desires, their needs, to free themselves from the ideas of “I should…”, “this is how you should…”, “all people do it….”, and other stereotypical thinking that closes access to a person’s own needs. Often at the end of a therapy session is the phrase, “That’s right, I knew it myself, just somehow I ignored it…” And I can safely say that a healthy selfishness is good for both partners. A man who doesn’t know himself what he wants is hard to give anything in life. No matter what you do for him – he will have the feeling that it is “something wrong…”. The first step to a prosperous family life is to learn to understand yourself. Know what you want from your partner and what you are ready to give him. And try to negotiate this together.
3. Power. This word seems to come from politics… But it has direct relevance to the family. In the first year, the couple comes to a decision about who has the power. You can talk a lot about harmony and understanding, and they should strive for it. But the question of power you have to decide. At least be aware of this. There are many options for the development of events. Consider one of them. If in your parental family one of the parents dominated, and the family had a strong structure and was successful socially – most likely, this family structure will seem “natural and normal” to you. And if your partner comes from a family with a similar power system, everything will be fine at first, but…you are a woman and you got your daddy’s dominant character, and your partner is the opposite, from a female-dominated family where he was protected from all problems (which may be why he chose you). Most likely, your attempts to put him at the helm will not succeed. Firstly, he just does not know what responsibility is and is not ready to make decisions. Secondly, unconsciously you will push away his decision-making, to take the initiative on themselves under any pretext. For example, under the pretext that your chosen one does everything “wrong” (because “so” is the way your daddy does), while expecting that if he loves you, he will surely magically learn to be tough and decisive (like your daddy). But…remain sensitive and understanding, which is how you loved him, as a matter of fact. Disappointment in such a case is assured. And it’s up to you to decide whether you’ll wait until he “matures”, whether you’ll take over everything, or start looking for a system of power, which will be comfortable for both of you, being aware of who you have chosen as a partner and what role in the family you yourself are ready for. So let your parents live as they know how. Your state, your family has the right to create its own constitution, its own rules. But even if those rules come from your parental family, let your acceptance of them be informed by you. Check how they fit you and your partner, how adequate they are to your living conditions, your psychological peculiarities.
How to overcome the crisis of the first year of marriage?
In the first year of life together, one’s daughters and sons, or simply uncommitted people, change their social roles and become wives and husbands, people who have obligations to each other. So there’s a lot to learn about yourself, too. There is no way to answer all the questions in advance: you don’t know yet how you will feel in certain situations, what you will like in your new life and what you will not. The most important thing is to consider your own and your partner’s feelings. Notice I put the word “own” first. Often what leads to the first marital crisis is the desire of one partner to “sacrifice everything for the person you love.” This leads to psychological and moral exhaustion of the giving side and provokes a consumerist attitude of the taking side. Dialogue in the style: “I sacrificed for you” and the answer “and I didn’t ask you” is about the fact that it is useful to ask yourself: why am I doing this for my partner? And the question: does he need it, is he willing to appreciate it? You can understand this at a non-verbal level: how does your partner behave – in response tries to do something nice for you or make it clear that he is not very satisfied and is waiting for new feats? And here you have a trap: if you’ll try too hard to please and receive praise, gratitude or something like that, your partner can use your habit to appreciate the other more than himself, and consciously or unconsciously provoke you to new feats of his dissatisfaction, or conversely, praise. Again, let’s go back to childhood. Getting into the role of “family donor” more often happens with those who grew up in a family where children are not accepted to praise, where they are forced to “earn” love from parents “good behavior”, “good grades”, “good deeds. Where the child is not trained to love and accept himself unconditionally, just because he is. It is important that every child be loved by his or her parents with unconditional love. We are not all lucky enough to have that, so learn to love yourself! Then loving others will be safe for you and bring you joy and satisfaction!
To summarize, the first year of life together is an adventure with many unknowns. The joy of recognition and disappointment go hand in hand. Maximalism, “I want everything and at once” is a good wind in the sails of family life, if it is accompanied by a boat of love, where this sail is securely attached, and a willingness to take up the oars and row if the wind dies down. Some people are happy about this, some people are scared. Some like to discover new sides of life, some are less trained to take risks and seek to return everything “back to square one”, some are able to negotiate without much loss for their ambitions, for some every concession is like losing the most precious part of yourself. Don’t be afraid to be different, try to build something of your own from this different, learn from your partner what he or she is better at (if you need this “something”, of course!). Build your state: a family in which everyone feels most needed, most important and loved! You will get to know each other throughout your lives, just like you do yourself. Appreciate yourself and the one you’ve chosen to be with you! Be happy!
Why is there, how long the crisis of the first year of married life lasts, how to overcome it and keep the family?
The wedding is behind, and lovers, inspired by the holiday, dream about a happy future. And then, as a thunderbolt from a clear sky, difficulties.
Quarrels and scandals for no apparent reason become frequent guests, you no longer want to spend evenings together and plan vacations.
This is how the crisis of one year of life together begins. Why does it come? How to survive it with minimal losses?
What is it?
Any crisis, whether it is an age or a family crisis, is an inevitable stage of development.
Basically, this is a period when the young couple begins to feel dissatisfaction with the current situation and make a decision about whether to keep the family or recognize that there is no point in being together anymore.
Why does a crisis arise at this time? Because lovers take off the “rose-colored glasses” and are faced with domestic problems.
In addition, the solution of these problems often brings up the difference in character, and perhaps some personality traits that the man or woman is carefully hidden. And now they do not represent an ideal image, but an ordinary person, not only with virtues, but also with flaws.
As mentioned above, the crisis of 1 year of marriage is inevitable. It helps spouses to understand whether they made the right decision by creating a family with each other. If the answer is affirmative, and the spouses are able to cope with this difficult period, a new period in their lives will begin.
Symptoms of the crisis period of 1 year of marriage
You can recognize the onset of a crisis period by the following “symptoms”:
- frequent quarrels and scandals, and in most cases for far-fetched reasons;
- insults, reluctance to forgive mistakes, misunderstanding, mutual recriminations;
- unwillingness to accept the spouse as he is – neither a man nor a woman is no longer impressed with the merits and positive traits of the partner, they have become customary, in the foreground flaws;
- Lack of constructive communication and, as a consequence, mutual understanding, all conversations are held in high tones, opinions of each other are not considered.
Another sign of the imminent crisis – unwillingness to be around a loved one. And the more often a person experiences this feeling, the faster the family will disintegrate.
There are several such causes and provoking factors. And they affect virtually all areas of life:
Another reason for the development of the crisis of 1 year in marriage is the wrong motivation for entering into it. Many couples in this way solve the housing issue.
Someone creates a family in order to prove their independence and get away from their parents. And there are those who simply take revenge on their exes. Regardless of the reason, such relationships are doomed to fail.
How long does it last?
It is impossible to say exactly how long the crisis of 1 year of family life lasts. Every family is different. In addition, it is unknown exactly what factor provoked its onset in this particular couple.
On average, according to psychologists, the crisis period lasts from a few weeks to several months. The main thing is not to prolong it and not to transform it into a “chronic” form, as this will definitely lead to a breakdown in the relationship.
Tips for overcoming
It is impossible to designate a specific exit scheme from the crisis period of the first year of life together. Relationships in each family are built in their own way, and what is suitable for one, may not help the other couple.
But there are a number of general recommendations that will help to reduce the manifestations of the crisis and the tension between the spouses:
And, of course, we should not forget about the intimate component of the marriage. In the absence of passion, it must be brought back. Diversity will help in this difficult matter.
This is general advice for both spouses. Separately, we can say about what a woman and a man can do. For example, women should learn to be more accurate in expressing their thoughts and desires, to talk about feelings and emotions.
Men find it hard to understand what’s going on in a woman’s head. So it is better not to accumulate resentment and reticence, and directly tell her husband what worries him. This will help build communication.
Men, in turn, as the stronger sex, should take responsibility for entertainment and recreation. And not just jointly. Maybe his wife has long wanted to go shopping with friends. Why not give her the opportunity? This advice, by the way, also works in the opposite direction.
And, naturally, men also need to learn how to communicate. You should not devalue your wife’s feelings and emotions. Because of her excessive emotionality, she always needs support. And who else but the closest person can provide it?
Features of the development of relationships after
Closer to the end of the crisis period, it becomes clear what will happen between the spouses next. There are only two options for the development of events.
The first is the preservation of the family. If the man and woman understand that this is only a crisis that can be overcome, they can reach a new level of relationship.
They will learn to adapt to each other, accept their partner for who he is, with all his advantages and disadvantages. In addition, they will learn to negotiate, to express their feelings and emotions right away, and not to bring the situation to a critical point.
The second option is breakup. It happens if initially the relations between the spouses were based on sexual attraction and infatuation. There is no place for serious feelings here. And if there is nothing to support the family, it will fall apart at the first difficulties.
The influence of circumstances
The way that the crisis period will pass, is determined by the influence of two serious factors. The first one is children. The birth of a child is always a test for the couple. And it’s not just the number of responsibilities.
According to psychologists, the crisis that occurred after the birth of a child is equivalent to the one that developed after three years of life together. And most of all women suffer from it, because they have to spend more time with the baby.
Because of fatigue, they do not want romance, or tenderness, or entertainment. And it’s good if the man understands this and is always ready to help. And if not?
The second factor – the presence of a stamp in the passport. Before marriage, even if the partners lived together for some time, there was more romance in their lives. They spent more time with each other, spending time together, socializing. In marriage, the situation looks a little different.
Romance, surprises and gifts recede into the background, giving way to everyday problems. Monotony leads to a cooling of feelings, indifference. This is followed by recriminations, criticism and mutual insults.
The result – spouses become estranged from each other, living each his own life. Naturally, it will not be easy for them to survive the crisis.
Mistakes that worsen the situation.
Often, not being able to cope with the crisis of 1 year of life together and the attendant rush of negative emotions, spouses make a lot of mistakes.
Here are some of them:
Another mistake concerns women. Many women are convinced that men just have to read their minds and guess their desires. But, unfortunately, men are not psychics. Their brain is designed so that a hint is useless. You need to be precise about their needs.
How to understand that what is happening is the way to the breakup?
It is not easy to distinguish the crisis from the so-called “beginning of the end” because many manifestations of both are similar.
But there are some factors that tell you that separation is the best way out in this case:
- A person experiences joy when he learns that his partner is going away for a while, for example, on a business trip. The news of their imminent return causes sadness.
- A long separation doesn’t encourage them to call or at least text. All their free time is occupied with friends, entertainment, and maybe even the search for new hobbies.
- The person is not present in the plans for the near and even more so for the distant future. Spouses don’t have joint goals, they look in different directions, and they are not interested in each other’s opinions.
- The number of domestic disputes is increasing. But after them, as a rule, there is no stormy reconciliation.
- Both the man and the woman plan their day, not fitting in with their spouse.
- There is no longer room for concessions and compromise in the couple. In their place came rivalry and competition.
Plus, neither one has the desire to discuss any global issues, because there is the certainty that the opponent will not support.
A few points coincided? This means that there is not a crisis of 1 year of life together in the family. Partners are on the way to separation. The only question is when it will happen.
So, the crisis period in the first year of life together can not be avoided. The question is whether the spouses are aware of its onset and whether they will be able to cope with all the difficulties. It is not easy to do this, but it is possible. Enough to learn to take your partner as he is, and talk to each other honestly.