6. You'll find weaknesses you never knew existed, so enjoy learning to rely on each other.
There will be so many moments in your marriage when the person you will be the most frustrated with is yourself. You'll be stretched and tested in lots of new ways, and that testing will reveal weak spots you never knew you had. In fact, you'll learn about character traits and talents you didn't even know existed. But always keep in mind that the opposite is also true. You'll suddenly find strengths in yourself that you never knew about—several that your new spouse might even point out.
So when you feel overwhelmed and start beating yourself up, stop and instead think of the things you are doing right and be grateful that you have time to improve. If you still feel down, try asking your spouse some of the things they admire in you and I'm sure you'll quickly see you're doing better than you thought. Remember it's your weaknesses and flaws, in part, that made you and your spouse so perfect for one another as you both help bolster one another.
7. Your emotions will be all over the place, so be patient with yourself and your spouse.
Depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems are triggered by stressful life-changing events. And guess what? Moving to a new place, becoming sexually active, building a life with a new person, and becoming part of a new family are all stressful life-changing events that tend to pile up on a person right after marriage. Of course, all of these cause good stress—the kind that motivates us to be better. But sometimes these changes can trigger unexpected emotional responses—in yourself and your spouse. Add on top of that lack of sleep and there will be times when your emotions will overwhelm you and you'll wonder if you can do this.
But trust me, you can. In those moments, you need to realize it's stress and fear and depression that are speaking out, not you. Know that what you are going through is totally normal, though I know it is not easy. Know too that though this is normal receiving professional help from doctors, counselors, and therapists could help you achieve optimal mental and physical health. And most of all, be patient with yourself for feeling overwhelmed, and be patient with your spouse if they're struggling.
Here are some tips that might help you through those tough moments:
Focus on the good—Though all you might want to do when you are frustrated, sad, or in pain is to stew over those feelings, think instead of all the good that fills your marriage, the funny moments you've shared, and the beautiful memories you want to hold onto. Write them down. Be proactive about creating and holding onto the good.
Don't compare—Often, we look at other people's marriages as something we want to model our own after, whether that be the marriage of our parents, someone in our ward, a friend, etc. But there are several inherent problems with that. First of all, often those you look up to have had a much longer time to work on their marriage. It's unfair to pit a first-year piano student against a professional musician. The same is true with marriage. Marriage takes practice, and you're just starting yours. In addition, you don't always know what goes on in other's lives and the problems, tears, and struggles they've had to work through to build the seemingly strong marriage they now have. Finally, and most importantly, you and your spouse are completely different from any other couple and will have a completely different marriage—thank goodness. So be grateful that everything you are going through as a newlywed is helping you build a strong, unique marriage.
Let your spouse know how you are feeling—Don't ever make your spouse guess how you're feeling. Believe me, if you try to keep silent to spare their feelings, they'll probably assume the worst and torture themselves obsessing over what is wrong. Even though all you might want to do is isolate yourself, don't. If you are not entirely sure yet why you are feeling hurt or afraid or sad, that's okay. Be honest. Tell your spouse about your confusion. And when they give you the same courtesy, don't take anything they say personally. Emotions are not always rational, and sometimes we have unexpected feelings for unknown reasons.
Process your emotions—While it's good to let your spouse know about your feelings early on, don't try "correcting" the situation until you've had a little time to figure out yourself and your emotions. Don't try talking things out in stressful moments or late at night—those are the times when your emotions are the most imbalanced. In the heat of the moment, we tend to lash out with blame, despair, anger, resentment, and sometimes even revenge. Get a good night's rest or take a break and reason out why you responded the way you did and how you can avoid that kind of reaction in the future.
Talk it out—Once you and your spouse have had some time to think, ask them how they understood the situation from their perspective. What were they thinking and how were they feeling? You'll find out pretty quickly that most things that offended you were completely unintentional and that overall your spouse's actions are motivated by love and concern for you. Once you understand them better, tell your side of things and brainstorm together how you can avoid those hiccups in the future. Discuss, don't dictate and blame. During the conversation, ask your spouse from time to time to repeat what you said and repeat your own understanding of they have said to you. This shouldn't be approached as a test to see if you are each truly listening. Instead, this allows you to step back and analyze the way you two communicate and hear. Is your spouse feeling blamed or attacked? Does what they hear and understand as the crux of the conversation match what you think? As you begin building communication patterns, this will help you learn to speak with more clarity and compassion.
Forgive often, including yourself—Free up your heart and mind to feel a deeper sense of love for your spouse by letting go and forgiving quickly. Make sure you explain whatever might be bothering you so the two of you can both find a resolution, then just let go. Above all, don't fixate on the mistakes you've made in the past or depressing and frustrating thoughts and feelings you might have experienced. Instead, focus on the future and the person you and your spouse can become.
Get the help you need—Whether that be friends, family, books, or even doctors, be sure to take care of your mental and emotional health. When speaking to others, be sure to never betray your spouse's trust, but be honest and ask for advice. Look for signs of burnout or anxiety and depression in yourself and your spouse and be active in combatting them before they become a serious concern.
For women: Often, hormonal changes that come from different types of birth control can add another layer to balancing your emotional health. Stay in touch with your doctor and don't ever blame or belittle yourself if it's difficult for you to find a balance on your own. Get the help of those who have more experience and actively seek out the best options possible.