IS YOUR SINGLE LIFE AFFECTING YOUR MARRIED LIFE?
You did it. You tied the knot. You found your one and only and created a happily ever after together.
It could’ve been yesterday. It could’ve been years ago. Whenever you made it to Mr. and Mrs. status, congratulations! That is a happy event to celebrate and keep celebrating for years to come.
But even though you made the big decision, did you make the big change?
Married life comes with some significant changes in your everyday. Some are obvious, and some are not so obvious. Some are so subtle that you might miss them for years.
Do you tend to make plans on your own? Remember that even if your spouse is at work or school or home, your plans still affect them too. It’s important for you to have your independence within your marriage, but it’s also important to keep in mind that your life involves more than just one person now. Your spouse may want to come with you to that event your friend just invited you to. Or they might want to know what time you’ll be eating dinner together tonight so that they can plan their to-do list accordingly.
You can find many ways to quickly touch base with your spouse about your schedules. One easy way is to simply give your spouse a call or text if any of your plans for the day have changed. Another helpful tool is a family calendar (whether on the fridge or in an app) that you update frequently and both have access to. You can also have a daily or weekly check-in with your spouse—a time specifically set aside to coordinate schedules and other important information. Making plans as a couple will help you both to feel more involved in each other’s lives and to avoid awkward miscommunications and scheduling conflicts.
One big point of contention in many marriages is how you handle finances as a couple. But it doesn’t have to be a sore spot! Simply look at your finances with the reminder that you’re making money choices for two married people together (and children, if you have them) instead of for two separate single people.A great way to make your finances part of your married life is to keep a budget together. One person may be the main budget operator and updater, but both spouses should always have access to the budget and a mutual understanding of its implications. Again, a daily or weekly check-in time is a great way to stay on the same page of this important aspect of your married life. Talk together about your current needs (including expenses such as mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, insurance payments, weekly grocery expenses, and so forth), your current wants (fun spending money for date nights or other activities, other expenses for hobbies and interests, and so forth), and your future goals.
Once you have a plan that you’ve put together as a couple, stick to it. If you find yourself wanting to buy something, especially something that will be a benefit more for you than for your family (a new set of golf clubs, a cute scarf, the next season of your favorite show streaming online), consult your spouse first to make sure that you have room in the budget and that you’re both OK with spending that amount. The things you spend on don’t have to be boring, but they do need to be mutually agreed upon and understood.
For the rest of your life, you have decided to work as a team in your marriage. Wherever you take a job, your spouse will live with you. Wherever you decide to invest volunteer hours or money, your spouse will be supporting you with their time or funds. In each decision you make, whether big or small, include your spouse in the process. You might think your spouse doesn’t care about the topic or won’t have insights they’d like to share, but every decision involves your spouse starting from day one of your marriage.
Include your spouse in your decisions, asking for their opinions and thoughts. Whether or not they have a strong opinion on the matter, your spouse will appreciate being included in your plans. And if you want your spouse to do the same for you, ask them! Let them know that you want to be included in their decision-making processes as well. Reaching out to your spouse will foster greater trust, support, and love in your marriage.
Some smaller single-life habits may have also snuck into your married life. These habits can be something as simple as how you squeeze the toothpaste tube, how much of the closet you’re taking up, whether or not you steal the covers, if you’re prone to keeping the toilet seat down or up, and so on. The habits may also be things that are harder to recognize such as whether or not you tell your spouse about your day, how much you include each other in phone calls to family members, how much you tell your friends about your married life, and so on. Each little habit can make a difference now that you’re living as a couple instead of as single people with separate lives.
Take a few moments to consider your daily routines and habits. You can even ask your spouse if there is anything you do often that is actually inconvenient for them or makes them feel less a part of your life than they’d like to be. You never know what you’ll hear. Listen lovingly and with a willingness to make changes where possible.
Each small step toward togetherness is another step away from your single life and another strength to your married life.