Getting married is one of the most exciting times of your life, but it is also filled with stress and a seemingly never-ending list of tasks to complete. Therefore, it’s not surprising that couples want to do nothing more than relax after they’ve said their vows, and this is exactly what they can do with their honeymoon.

However, after the newlyweds return to the real world, there are a lot of additional things that they need to take care of. By paying close attention to all of the legal, social, and emotional things that need to be accomplished, you and your new spouse can start your marriage off on the right foot.

1. Send Thank You Cards

Unfortunately, some couples are drifting away from thank you cards, but this is a big mistake. After all, your guests took time out of their lives to get dressed up, travel to your venue, and spend your wedding day celebrating your love. Most of them probably gave you a very nice gift or card as well, so it is quite simply good manners to send a card that says thank you.

Some modern etiquette guides indicate that it’s okay to send an email or text thank you as well. If you opt to go this route, it is best to send them in a timelier manner. With cards, you can wait up to two months without breaking typical post-wedding protocol.

2. Write Your Wills

Now that you’re married, your spouse is fully protected in the event that you die, right? Not necessarily. In fact, some states split your assets among multiple family members if you die without a will. With this in mind, it is imperative to write a will that clearly states exactly what you would like to have happen with your assets after your death. Be sure to mention anything specific that matters to you. For example, if you want everything but one piece of jewelry to go to your spouse, you need to write this out and specify who gets that item.

3. Do the Name Change Process (if applicable)

If either or both of you will be changing your name, it is important to get the process started as soon as possible. The first step is to put your new name on your marriage license and then wait for a raised seal copy to become available. After this happens, you will need to complete a list of steps to make everything official, including getting a new social security card and driver’s license. Please note that some name changes may require an appearance in front of a judge.

4. Be Aware That Marriage Doesn’t Solve Everything

Are there quirks about your new spouse that have bothered you since day one? Is there one topic that you always argue about? These things aren’t going to magically go away merely because you’re married, although they may seem less noticeable during the happy haze of the honeymoon stage.

It’s vital to remember that the person you were engaged to is the same person you married, and they come with all of the same wonderful strengths and challenges you’re already aware of. However, you do both have the ability to commit to personal growth and change. It is also vital to commit to speaking openly and honestly about your needs, because no matter how well your spouse knows you, they will never be a mind reader.

5. Consider Selling Your Wedding Décor to Build Your Bank Account

It’s easy to get caught up in the allure of keeping your décor for nostalgia purposes, but most of us don’t have a good place to permanently store everything. Also, you put a lot of money into everything, from those chalkboard signs to your table runners, so it’s wise to recover part of that investment. There are several places to sell used wedding décor online, and engaged couples are often ready to snatch up your best pieces.

One suggestion that could make you more money in the long run is to hold onto your décor for about six months before you list it for sale. This will allow you to catch the attention of people who are planning a wedding during the same season that you had yours. For example, fall-themed décor is more likely to sell the following spring or summer than it is at the end of autumn.

6. Write Reviews for Your Vendors

Vendors work very hard during a wedding and they rely on reviews from their clients to help them attract more business. Therefore, one of the very best ways to show your appreciation for a job well done is to post reviews on wedding sites. On the other hand, if a vendor did not meet your expectations, online reviews give you the opportunity to warn other couples before they waste money on a disappointing experience. Either way, writing reviews while everything is still fresh in your mind is the best course of action.

7. Always Show Thankfulness and Appreciation

Psychologists have determined that showing appreciation is one of the best ways to keep a relationship together. If you want to have a long-lasting marriage that is filled with more harmonious times than bad ones, be sure to take a few moments each day to say thank you to your spouse and express your appreciation for everything they do. Yes, this means that it’s best to get in the habit of saying “thank you” even after mundane daily tasks such as doing the laundry. Making this part of your day will infuse your relationship with respectful behavior, which is going to help you get through the bad times.

8. Consider Creating a Relationship Schedule

Many people believe that spontaneity is better than having a schedule, but the reality is that planning some of the little things can make your life together go much more smoothly. As much as newlyweds may want to spend every moment together, it’s important to add some alone time to your weekly relationship schedule. Always remember that a healthy relationship requires some privacy and independence for both partners.

With a relationship schedule, you can ensure that each person’s needs are met for everything from alone time to shared activities. As an added bonus, this will minimize the risk of making plans that conflict with your partner’s basic emotional needs. Examples of things to schedule include a weekly relationship meeting to discuss finances and any issues that haven’t been addressed. This can keep small problems from becoming a huge fight down the line.

9. The Art of Compromise

A marriage takes work and a lot of compromise, and both newlyweds need to be ready to dive into the compromise pool with both feet. By discussing your specific wants and needs, along with airing out small issues during your weekly relationship meeting, you can reach a point where it is easier for both of you to compromise.

The most important aspect that many people don’t realize is that compromising on minor details that don’t matter as much to you can give you room to root more strongly for the things that you feel are non-negotiable. With some respect and grace, you can both be happy with all of your small and big decisions.

10. Fighting is Inevitable

You may believe right now that your relationship will always be sunny and conflict-free, but the truth is that every couple eventually fights about something. Experts say that fighting can actually be a good thing if you learn how to fight fairly and don’t end up doing it constantly. Consider, for example, how much can be worked out if you are willing to argue without name-calling or shaming the other person. Learning how to fight is an essential skill that will provide you with the ability to express your needs, loudly if need be, without causing unnecessary damage to the relationship.

As you move through the honeymoon stage and into the next phase of your relationship, keep in mind that the romance you felt while dating can be kept up by committing to regular date nights. This is one of the many ways that newlyweds can keep their marriage fresh and happy for decades to come.

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