For many, the first week on the job is full of uncertainties, adjustments and even mistakes. Joining a new sports team or a band is sure to start off with some failed expectations, missed notes or assignments, too. I’ve worked at companies where I had an awful first week. But my time there ended up being fulfilling, successful and beneficial for everyone involved. The first week of anything new can be hard!

When a couple marries, each person has their own history, experiences, traditions and culture. They also have their own way of thinking, relating and communicating. So, why in the world would it surprise anyone that the first week of marriage (usually during the honeymoon) doesn’t go as planned? I’ve heard some horrific honeymoon stories from numerous couples I’ve worked with over the years. From big arguments and no sex to major disagreements and running out of money (and beyond), these couples’ biggest fear is that their awful honeymoon is a sign that their marriage is doomed from the beginning.

Let’s understand why it’s not the case.

An awful honeymoon doesn’t mean your marriage will be awful, too.

It doesn’t matter whether we lived together, lived nearby or hundreds of miles apart. For many, the wedding day is a game-changer. The day we commit to do all that we can to make our marriage work is when life changes. Often, because of expectations. Sometimes our support circle doesn’t help because we’re in our “honeymoon phase” and they feel they should respect our privacy. The media doesn’t help because it paints an unrealistic picture that all honeymoons are perfect. Ironically, couples don’t help each other, either. Why? Because we think we know all there is to know about being marriedeven though we’ve been doing it for a grand whopping total of 2 days.

Marriage is a journey, and the ceremony is just the beginning. Two people truly functioning in step with one another takes years to get really good at it. Our habits, beliefs and ideas were perfect in our minds until our spouse told us differently. Of course, we didn’t agree with them when they told us. But before the years of learning how to “click” as a couple scare us, we need to know there’s a lot of joy in the journey.

The journey is a process where hopefully each spouse is learning to be considerate, generous and loving toward the other. This process usually comes after we realize that we may have been a little more selfish, inconsiderate and stingy than we thought. When we drop the expectations that both parties already know how to do this well and embrace the journey, we can find joy in learning to do this marriage thing together. Instead of seeing a disastrous honeymoon as a sign that we shouldn’t be together, see it as the first step toward learning how to do marriage well.

 ***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

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