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Advice for Newlyweds: What No One Tells You About The First 3 Years

Newlywed Adjustment - Marital Problems - Marriage Counseling Plantation FL - Marriage Counselor - Couples Therapist - Couples Counseling - Dr. Chantal Marie Gagnon -

The first few years can be tough. Totally normal!

Newlywed Adjustment

– Guest Blog Post by Pastor Kennedy

In the midst of wedding planning, shinny rings and happy celebrations, very few people give engaged couples the tools and information they need to build a happy, solid marriage. That’s probably why 52% of first marriage end in divorce. But that doesn’t have to be the case! With an open mind and a willingness to learn and try new things, marriage can be a wonderful context for personal growth – one in which your capacity to love and forgive expands, and where your emotional and spiritual muscles grow and get strong. The way you handle the first three years of your marriage will set a foundation for the decades ahead.

Most Divorces Occur in the First 5 Years of Marriage. What’s going on?

After I got married myself, I was talking to a friend about some of the challenges that my wife and I were facing as newlyweds. He casually noted. ”Oh, that’s typical. Those first years are usually tough for everyone.” I was a little stunned! Surely it’s not supposed to be this hard, I thought to myself. Later, after my wife and I successfully worked through those challenges, I realized that my initial expectations of what marriage was “supposed” to be like were wrong.

Couples are often surprised and confused by the challenges of these first years, and without previous preparation for the bumps along the way, couples often conclude that their relationship isn’t working. In fact, the highest rate of divorces occur in the first five years. And in a 2001 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the researchers discovered that the success and happiness of couples in the first two years of their marriage accurately predicted their marriages’ happiness and success over ten years later.

The Secret to Creating a Successful Marriage – Tips for Newlyweds

When two people get married, they begin a process I call “becoming married”. That process requires dealing with unexpected questions and challenges that can easily throw an early marriage off course. If a couple is unprepared for that, disillusionment sets in, and there is a sense of having married the wrong person. This is just a phase, even though it seems very real and feels as though things will likely never change or improve.

That’s why it is important for a couple to be well educated about this phase (by a professional who is both knowledgeable in this area and has lived through it themselves), because it doesn’t mean the marriage won’t work. (An exception to this is physical abuse, chronic adultery and untreated substance abuse. In those cases, seek the assistance of a treating professional to see if your spouse is willing to actively participate in treatment for their issues, and to create an interim plan in which your safety is assured during that treatment phase).

But besides the 3 “A”’s – Addiction, Abuse, and Adultery – most everything else that be worked through to eventually achieve a happy, fulfilling marriage. The keys to that success are:

1) Don’t throw in the towel;

2) Be open to and actively seek new learning and information about marriage;

3) Use each interaction with your spouse as an opportunity for your own personal growth – focus on what you can improve.


Written by Pastor Kennedy McGowan, with Dr. Chantal Gagnon

Rev. Kennedy McGowan is Pastor and Head of Staff at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, Florida , has been a Christian Minister for over 25 years, and is a wedding officiant / wedding celebrant in greater Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Palm Beach.

Dr. Chantal Marie Gagnon is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Mental Health Counselor and Marriage & Relationship Coach in Plantation, Florida.


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7 Responses to Advice for Newlyweds: What No One Tells You About The First 3 Years

  1. Find Out More June 3, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    Thank you so much! This a outstanding website.

    • admin June 3, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

      Thank you! -Dr. Chantal

    • admin September 15, 2013 at 9:27 am #

      My pleasure! Glad you found it useful! I’ll be posting lots more blogs on relationship topics in the coming months, so stay tuned.

      – Dr. Chantal
      (Dr. Chantal Gagnon, Ph.D., LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and life coach in Plantation, FL. Dr. Gagnon offers individual counseling and coaching, marriage counseling, couple’s counseling, and life coaching services. Coaching services are available to clients nationally and internationally via telephone and skype, and for local clients (psychotherapy, counseling, and coaching) her office is conveniently located in central Broward County near Fort Lauderdale, Weston, Davie, Sunrise, Hollywood, Cooper City, Dania Beach, and Tamarac.)

  2. nya mc December 29, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    Thank u so much, u have helped me a lot

    • admin February 28, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

      I’m so glad you found this helpful! Pastor Kennedy’s guest blog post speaks the truth; the first few years of marriage can be a difficult adjustment. But if you stick with it, and learn and grow together, that rough start can be the beginning of a wonderful relationship. -Dr.Chantal

  3. Venus Mosley August 17, 2016 at 10:35 am #

    I’ve been communicating more with my husband thanks to your site. We sit together & really find you very interesting.

    • drchantalgagnon August 31, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

      That’s great! Glad to hear it. Thank of for taking the time to comment. – Dr. Chantal

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