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By Cate Benson

How to survive and thrive in the first year of marriage

Isn't being in love…lovely? The sun seems to shine a little brighter and you feel as if you and your schmoopie are walking on clouds. Everything they say is funny and witty and the fact that they play in three different softball leagues with their old frat brothers is still endearing. In your mind, he's maintaining his friendships and his bod. And the sex, in a word…it's mind-blowing. How could two people be more in sync? But gradually, the hormones and pheromones dip. Infatuation fades to cohabitation, toothbrushes take up residence in the bathroom and you each have a drawer at the other's place.

Fast forward to 'The Talk' that happens when you are both stone-cold sober, eating your usual Sunday night take-out from the Chinese place down the street. One of you says, "I could see this being one of our forever rituals…Schmoops." Your eyes lock, and the die is cast. Your love makes a beeline to the jewelry store and maxes out his credit card to buy a rock that is as big as his love for you.

He proposes one year to the day after the street fest where you met, and the wedding planning takes off at breakneck speed. Showers are had and the happenings of your bachelor and bachelorette parties are pieced together via your friends' Instagram feeds. Finally, the big day arrives and you swear in front of everyone you hold dear – plus some random women from your Mom's book club – that nothing is ever going to change the way you feel about each other.

It can only get better from here, right? In some ways, yes. But they are not the ones you may think they are. The tips below will help you transition from the crazy-in-love phase to the sometimes-crazy-in-rage phase that we have all experienced as we settle into the everyday patterns of our marriage.

I love you, but seriously?

You never thought this day would come. Your spouses' little eccentricities like humming while they brush their teeth or slathering everything in hot sauce have suddenly become really annoying to listen to and gross to watch from across the table. Ideally, before you get to the point of squirting hot sauce in his toothpaste to kill two birds with one stone, you will realize that those quirks are nothing new.

They were there before you met, and in the fog of love you either did not notice them or you just regarded them as cute. Even you have habits that your partner finds grating, so know that your love for all things puppy related is just weird. The key is to accept one another for who you are, and hope that one of your offspring is born with an aversion to spicy food.

What is yours is mine

This is a great sentiment when it applies to a beach house in Malibu or an apartment in Paris. This also applies to your finances, which may not be as well-appointed as the aforementioned abodes. Your spending and saving habits are a reflection of your family of origin, and getting a spendthrift and someone who still has their tooth fairy money on the same page can be difficult.

The most important thing is to realize that there is room for both approaches to money management -within reason. If you are the type to blow up the credit cards, it might be worth having your more sensible spouse set up a budget that still gives you the freedom to spend and gives them peace of mind that you will have money to pay your cable bill at the end of the month. Give and take is the name of the game, and if you stick to this you will set yourself up for smooth sailing in the years ahead.

Have we lost that lovin' feeling?

Fear not, the love is still there. It is even stronger than it was when you first met! It may just look a little different now. Sex is an amazing way to connect with your partner, and when you have had an argument it can be the best way to make up. When it seems that work and outside stresses are putting a dent in your nightly nooky sessions, do not stress about it. Great marriages are not built on sex alone. You must also have each other's backs when times are stressful; that is a true testament to the love you have for your spouse. A supportive spouse is a sexy spouse, and supporting each other will always send you back to each other once the storm has passed.

Playing together does not mean staying together

Just because you are married does not mean that you have to be welded to each other's hip. You had friends before you met, and it is important to maintain those relationships. True friends are worth their weight in gold, and they have to be tended to just like your marriage. Take time for activities and hobbies with your spouse, but make sure that you continue to do the things you loved before you met.

Everyone loves a couple in love, but it gets a little tiresome when you bring your hubby to your spa day or you tag along to his fantasy football draft party. Maintaining those friendships and hobbies that make you uniquely you are what will sustain you as a couple and keep things interesting. Who does not love being able to brag about a spouse who is a slam poetry aficionado or competitive triathlete?

It is a marathon, not a sprint

The first year of marriage should not be used to predict the odds of having a long-lasting marriage. Use this time to get to know each other: the good, the bad and the just-plain-annoying. The couple you are today is not the couple you will be in five years; so just buckle up and enjoy the ride. You will enjoy being able to look at some of your first-year misadventures in the rearview mirror.

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