- Justin Bieber told GQ his first year of marriage to Hailey Bieber (née Baldwin) was tough.
- Problems in the first year of marriage are unique and common, therapist Jennifer Mann told Insider.
- She said many issues of the issues that pop up in the first year can be solved, and it’s important not to panic.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
“The first year of marriage was really tough,” he told the publication. “There was just lack of trust.”
The two stars — who got married when Bieber was 24 and Baldwin Bieber was 21 — announced their engagement after an on-and-off-again relationship of 10 years. Skeptics previously criticized the couple for how young they were and how quickly they seemed to rush into marriage.
Jennifer Mann, a New York City-based psychotherapist who works with young women, couples, and entrepreneurs, told Insider regardless of how short or how long a couple has been together, getting married can shift their dynamic in unexpected and challenging ways.
“For those who have been with a partner for years, it may surprise you to feel that things feel ‘different,'” Mann, a spokesperson for the Hope for Depression Research Foundation said. “You or your partner may be settling into this year in various ways and you may not always be so in sync.”
The first year of marriage presents a couple with unique relationship and communication challenges
Couples may experience problems in their first year of marriage as they adjust into a new stage of life together. Mann told Insider figuring out finances, how to cohabitate, and determining what role each of you plays in the marriage, puts a strain on even the longest relationships.
“The start of a new chapter can be a time where couples are settling into new roles, creating new boundaries and moving through these transitions as a unit,” Mann said. “With all the newness comes the opportunity for uncharted challenges to arise, making this a time of transition that can feel tough.”
Suddenly, choices have to be made as a unit, rather than as individuals who sometimes coordinate. New conversations around vacations, dinner parties with friends, and family holidays can cause unexpected conflict.
“This shift is one not only you contend with, but your family and friends also adjust to,” Mann said.
“Subtle or not, there is a shift happening and when change occurs, it is natural to experience ups and downs.”
Journaling, chatting to your partner, and going to therapy can help
Mann said it’s important to tackle the problems that pop up in the marriage head-on rather than letting them build.
The first person you need to acknowledge them with is yourself. Mann told Insider journaling can be helpful to work through your frustrations. The activity can also highlight areas in your relationship that need improvement.
The next step is to be honest with your partner.
“It is normal to have mixed emotions about having to take on these new challenges,” Mann said.
“While it may feel daunting, you share this experience with your partner. You can choose to take these on together which can lessen the burden and help to strengthen your relationship.”
If you and your partner feel you need an objective party to help you two work through the emotions after revealing your frustrations to each other, couples therapy can be a great resource.
“Acknowledge that this is an ever-evolving conversation and allow for recalibration and new ideas to be explored throughout the relationship,” Mann said.
“Recognizing what is working, what isn’t, and remaining flexible to adjust as you go, will allow you to find a flow that actually works.”
If you are experiencing difficulty in your first year of marriage, you aren’t alone
While challenges as a newlywed can feel overwhelming, it’s important to remember it’s very common.
“You are not doomed to fail, and remember that ‘the beginning should be the most magical time’ is a myth that is not only not true, but also causes undue pressure on the relationship,” Mann said.
“So before judging what the first year ‘should’ look like, take a breath and show you and your partner some compassion.”
Early marriage problems don’t have to be insurmountable, and conflict doesn’t have to foreshadow the end of your relationship.
“It is natural to face challenges and wins throughout a relationship. Managing the difficulties that arise in your marriage can bring you closer together and stronger than ever,” Mann said.
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