The party is over, the gown is stored, and the thank-you notes have been mailed. Although this is an exciting new chapter, settling in to married life can bring its own challenges. Here are a few adjustments to anticipate in year-one to ensure smooth sailing for you and your new groom.
Splitting holiday time
If you have been with your guy for several years, you probably have this down pat. However, requests for each family to see both of you at holiday time now that you are ˜official’ may require some finessing. To avoid disappointment, make sure to set the expectations for each family well in advance. Create a schedule for holidays ensuring that time is spent evenly on both sides. If you each celebrate different holidays (and assuming there is at least a civil relationship between the two families) it would be a lovely tradition to share each holiday with both sides. If and when children come along, it will show them a mutual interest in family time.
Combining your finances
If you are heading to the altar and have not yet discussed your individual and eventual combined financial situation, get on it! Money can be one of the most difficult topics of conversation, but you need to know where you stand “ ˜your’ savings will become ˜our’ savings, and ˜his’ debt will become ˜our’ debt. Make sure that you are well aware of each other’s income, savings, investments, debts and assets. Create a detailed plan for the future and make sure to talk about things like joint or separate accounts and credit cards. If you value your financial independence, it might make sense to keep your individual accounts and create a joint account for shared costs. Be sure that you are both comfortable with the arrangement before moving forward.
It is often an awkward transition to acquire a new set of parents “ especially a new set of parents that you must always be polite to! In-law relationships can range from appalling to amazing, but it is best to keep in mind that they are adjusting in the first year too. If you are feeling at all upset with their behavior or the family dynamic, speak up (in that always-polite way of course). It’s best to set the expectations of what you will and will not tolerate early on. At least they can never ask ˜why didn’t you say something?’ years down the road. Hopefully you will be blessed with fabulous in-laws, but if not don’t forget to keep your cool when spending time with them, limit your complaints to your spouse (he cannot change his family after all!), and know that how you live your life is only up to the two of you.