Last night the season finale of Newlyweds: The First Year culminated with a Watch What Happens Live reunion. I was thrilled all the couples survived their first year of marriage and still seem committed to their unions. As I watched these newlyweds navigate their first year of not-so-wedded-bliss, the floodgates on my own newlywed year burst open. Like them, I was in for a VERY rude awakening 14 years ago.
Under the impression that marriage was going to be rife with unicorns, rainbows, and birds chirping, I envisioned marriage as sweet as my buttercream wedding cake frosting and as sexy as our Hawaiian honeymoon. I could not have been more off the mark. Our sex life waned, our in-law troubles magnified, and our different attitudes toward finances nearly imploded our relationship.
So Newlyweds was a nice refresher course in keeping your marital vows in tact. Here are five marriage lessons from the show to keep in mind.
1. Sex will never be as hot as it was on your honeymoon. Jeff and Blair's struggle to find a balance in their sex life that would appease both of them is a truth most couples grapple with. Always keep in mind that sex can take many forms. As your marriage progresses, your sexual relationship will ebb and flow. The best way to keep your sex life hot is to keep the conversation ongoing. Remember this -- all sex begins in the brain!
2. Try to hold off on starting a family for at least a year after you get married. As Kathryn and John proved, going through your first year of marriage and a pregnancy can be pretty difficult. Not only are you both trying to navigate each other, but now you are saddled with the uncharted territory and stresses a pregnancy can potentially put on a marriage. John had a difficult time "having sex with a fat person." As for Kathryn, I think she braved those nine months with a husband who wasn't all that supportive like a true warrior. I do hope they wait at least a few years 'til their next baby and spend some time getting on track as a couple.
3. Long distance marriage is not for everyone. Poor Kim and Alaska. Kim seemed really excited to finally be marrying her lover and partner Alaska, but their bi-coastal careers took a heavy toll on her. Kim, like so many newlyweds, needed to have her husband close by. She wanted to use that year to truly bond on an emotional level, which can be hard to do when you are thousands of miles away. Bottom line: Before you get married, make sure you are both in agreement on your living situation.
4. Infertility will test the resolve of your marriage and either strengthen it or tear you apart. Having dated for quite awhile, Tina and Tarz were both on a let's-have-a-baby-track once they were married. Unfortunately, they experienced some unexpected medical issues along their journey. One thing I loved about this couple was that when Tina suffered a miscarriage, her in-laws and her husband demonstrated overwhelming love and support. I really believe it was their love that sustained her and helped her to forge ahead. The great news is that these two are now the proud parents of a baby boy.
5. When you decide to get married, resolve to back up this other person for better or for worse and work on all your issues as a team. Your spouse is now your family and, if you make this fact crystal clear, your parents and siblings will follow your lead. When John and Kathryn had issues with John's sister, I feel John could've been more supportive of Kathryn and told his sister to behave herself. On the other hand, the way Blair's family enveloped and welcomed Jeff into theirs was one of the most beautiful and prolific scenes I ever witnessed on television. It was also one of my favorite moments of the season and I think a lesson in the true definition of family.
What's the most important marriage lesson you'd like share with newlyweds?
Image via Bravo