Getting through the hardest years of your marriage

Most couples don’t initially think ahead about getting through the hardest years of marriage. With all of the excitement around the wedding and honeymoon, it can take a while to let the idea of marriage truly sink in. Although difficult times are inevitable, it’s how you work together as a team to find solutions that can get you through them. 

As challenges slowly begin to creep in, it will require honest communication and hard work to satisfy both your needs and your partners. Obstacles will always arise no matter what. If you can learn to trust each other and work through each challenge together, you’ll become much closer, stronger, and happier in your marriage. 

Main Reasons Why Marriage Gets Difficult

With every new year comes new challenges. However, a few common reasons why marriage tends to get difficult may include:

  • Trust issues – the act of breaking a promise, such as betrayal, unfaithfulness, and lying.
  • Different or unrealistic expectations and priorities – it can be easy to get into small conflicts when couples don’t discuss and set expectations on household chores, parenting responsibilities, and other important priorities from the start.
  • Communication issues – when one or both partners are not being open and honest with their communication.
  • Financial issues – bad savings habits, debt, and overspending can put a negative strain on any relationship.
  • Family issues – overbearing in-laws, a family member getting sick, drama, and other toxic behaviors, can all add additional stress to one or both partners.
  • A lack of respect – when one partner feels a lack of respect or disrespect by their spouse and/or family members.
  • Different sexual expectations – with kids, career growth, and life changes, it’s only natural to have changes in your sexual expectations and needs as well.
  • Selfishness – when one partner prioritizes their happiness over their partner it can cause conflict, isolation, and loneliness.
  • Losing your romantic spark – as the years go by, the initial spark you feel when dating or during the first of marriage, may begin to subside.

Marriage is a commitment and naturally, it requires hard work. If you or your partner are unwilling to address difficulties as they arise, you risk alienating each other, causing more distress and complications in the relationship. Failing to communicate properly can cause your partner to feel lonely and isolated, further distancing you from each other. So, it’s vital to set the groundwork early on in the marriage to communicate and appreciate one another through thick and thin.

Once You Know Why Things Get Difficult, You’ll Be Ready For WHEN It Happens

It’s good for both you and your partner to become aware of these potential challenges now, so you know what to expect. If you can build a strong foundation from the start of your marriage, you’ll be much more calm and ready to tackle any obstacle that comes your way. Be open about your priorities and responsibilities, be attentive when your partner has something to say, and talk openly about life and family dilemmas. A few key elements of a successful marriage include gratitude for your partner, open communication, trust, and honesty, being affectionate, actively listening, and always supporting each other. 

What is the hardest year of marriage

What is the Hardest Year of Marriage?

There is some debate on which year is the hardest year of marriage. Some believe it’s the first year of marriage as you begin to acclimate and fuse your lives together. Others believe the fifth is the hardest due to kids, family issues, and divided attention. Every marriage is unique and different, but most couples find that the first, fifth, and seventh are some of the hardest years of marriage to get through. So, let’s break it down further to discuss the challenges that typically arise within each. 

Difficulties In The First Year Of Marriage

Once the honeymoon is over, newlyweds spend the most time getting very familiar with each other. When you start living together, you begin discussing bills and financials, household chores and responsibilities, priorities, and more. Slowly, you may start wondering “is this what I signed up for?” Some common difficulties may include, unrealistic expectations, selfishness, bills, spending, and overall finances, and spending more time with the in-laws. Communication at this stage is key. 

Problems In The Third Year Of Your Marriage

Around year three, most couples start to discuss big career or life changes, like having kids, buying a house, or managing difficult in-laws. However, this is also the time that couples become more comfortable with each other. This is when couples should be more capable of solving problems together. Once again, it’s important to listen to your partner and communicate. 

How Things Get Rough In Your Fifth Year Of Marriage

If you choose to have kids, then the fifth year of marriage may become more complicated. With the constant demand for attention from your kids, work, and family, it can be hard to dedicate quality time for you and your partner. As life becomes more and more overwhelming at this stage many choose to turn towards divorce. This is a critical time to prioritize date nights, love notes, and other small acts of love and kindness toward your partner. 

Preparing For Year Seven Of Marriage 

Another major obstacle awaits those who make it to the seventh year of marriage. Commonly referred to as the 7-year itch, this is when life becomes monotonous. You become very set in your routine and may run into financial trouble, childcare issues, family issues, or even boredom. During this time it’s crucial to set aside quality time with your partner to honor each other’s needs (and sex life). It’s also important to create space to spend some time apart. Get reconnected with close friends, enjoy a spa day, or pack a picnic to relax and read a book at the park. 

How to work through rough patches in your marriage

How To Get Through Rough Patches In Your Marriage

Every marriage will go through a rough patch at some point or another. If you’re open and willing to stay together, it’s best to put in the effort to overcome each difficult scenario as they arise. However, you can get ahead of it by following some common best practices. So, now that we’re more aware of what can come up at various stages of marriage let’s talk about the various ways to work through these challenges.

  • Always work together as a team
  • Prioritize open and honest communication
  • Invest time in bettering yourself 
  • Set proper expectations
  • Get on the same page financially
  • Be affectionate! Leave small love notes, compliment each other, hold hands, look into each other’s eyes, etc. 
  • Appreciate one another  
  • No complaining
  • Set a weekly date night (and don’t let anything conflict with this)
  • Support one another 

Every couple experiences marriage differently but the hardest years of marriage are typically the first, fifth, or seventh. However, you don’t have to let these challenges get the best of you and your partner. Life challenges will always come and go, so being aware of them and actively making an effort to find solutions together are key. Believe in each other and you will find happiness for many decades to come. When you openly communicate and you’re fully committed to each other, you can make it through any difficult situation together.


About the author 


Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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