I’m sure it must have been a huge shock when my husband discovered that his new bride wasn’t perfect.

By the time our wedding day arrived, we were best friends as well as sweethearts, but that didn’t lessen the impact of discovering we’d have to make major adjustments as we joined our lives.

Paul cringed when I squeezed the toothpaste in the middle of the tube. The soapy washcloth that he left wadded up on the side of the tub drove me nuts. He was a morning person and bounced out of bed at first light. I was a night owl and avoided mornings whenever possible.

The newlywed adjustment period

As we talked to our friends, we discovered that we weren’t the only ones dealing with newlywed shock. What a relief to find that all couples experience a period of adjustment.

Thirty-three years later, we look back on those early days and laugh, but at the time, those adjustments seemed enormous. As newlyweds, Paul and I discovered five helpful marriage principles, which can be summed up as "The Five C’s": compromise, communication, changeability, commitment and cooperation. Young couples are discovering the same principles, and perhaps they will be helpful to you, too.

Compromise

For newlyweds Jeremy and Lydia, climate control led to some interesting moments. He liked the temperature cool in the house and car. She froze and turned the heat on even in the middle of summer. They compromised by buying a space heater she could use in the house, and he made sure she had a jacket and blanket in both their vehicles.

Communication

Kim and Derrick discovered that preconceived notions of marriage affected their first months as a couple. Kim knew that Derrick’s mom always prepared a huge breakfast for her family, and she was determined to do the same for her new husband. She stressed over her lack of cooking abilities, but in the weeks that followed their honeymoon, Derrick breakfasted on fluffy eggs, biscuits and gravy, and bacon or sausage.

When a new medication made Kim sick one morning, she was determined to maintain the image of wifely perfection. So she dragged herself into the kitchen and placed a paper towel on the table. She poured a soft drink into a glass and positioned a cold Pop-Tart on the paper towel. No way was she going to let her man go without breakfast!

Derrick, however, thought his breakfast was hysterical, and he laughed. When she cried, he realized that Kim was putting pressure on herself about something that wasn’t important to him. After talking about it, Kim was able to relax. Now they both laugh about his memorable breakfast.

Changeability

Culture shock affected Robin when she and Nathan returned from their honeymoon. She was a city girl. Nathan was a dairy farmer. Moving to the farm meant adjusting to a new lifestyle, including the not-so-fresh country scent that travelled home with her husband after a long day on the farm.

The fact that both were willing to change their habits to accommodate the other’s feelings made for a smoother transition.

Commitment

Tim and Laurel’s first few months of married bliss took an unexpected turn when he developed a chronic illness that affected his ability to work, leaving the young couple with large medical bills. Their commitment to each other and to their wedding vows brought them closer and enabled them to make it through those difficult days.

Cooperation

Shortly after their honeymoon, Michael and Tiffany discovered that housekeeping chores were an issue. With dual careers, deciding who would do what became a challenge. Cooperation made a big difference.

Yes, newlywed couples have many adjustments to make. Enjoy your newlywed years; they’ll be gone before you know it. Agreeing on holiday traditions, learning to cook, handling money and deciding who will be in charge of the remote control will all fall into place. And you’ll soon discover that the situations that seem like disasters today will become the memories you’ll laugh about tomorrow.


© 2008 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

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