After months of planning your wedding and organizing the photographer, bands, venues, desserts, decorations, clothing, and guest lists, your long-anticipated wedding day is here! With months of planning, you have successfully created a day that you will remember forever! Congratulations, you made it to the end!

Now, you enter the next phase, your first year of marriage!

This a new territory in the relationship, and the year will bring struggles. Below are some DOs and DON’Ts to help create a strong first year of marriage and help you enjoy the journey.

DO Talk About Money and Finances:

Talking money is difficult, but IMPERATIVE!

Will you share income and expenses, or are you deciding to manage your income separately? Either way, this needs to be discussed. Talk about your plans for saving to buy a home or the loans you need to pay off, such as student loans or a car loan, along with other savings goals. BE HONEST ABOUT DEBT! Keeping your spouse in the dark creates bad patterns, and often leads to a marriage crumbling. If one of you is better at money management and finances, acknowledge that strength, and let them have the reins.

DO Know How to Fight and Communicate:

Fighting, the right way, is part of a healthy relationship. Accept your spouse’s faults by communicating how they make you feel is important. BUT, fight clean. Nasty comments may be forgiven but not forgotten. Be candid but fair and respectful. You are on the same team.

Your spouse may have habits that are annoying, and if you are not careful, these habits can grate on you. A buildup of annoying habits can cause one to doubt they married the right person. Communication is key. Talk to them, and by opening that communication, listen to what habits may grate them.

DON’T Forget the Little Gestures:

Keep dating each other! Once you are married, don’t forget to flirt, complement each other, go on dates, or surprise each other with a small present. Through stressful times, little gestures are an important way to remember why you are starting a life together.

DON’T Forget to Split Household Tasks:

You both may have expectations of each other regarding household tasks, but, once again, it all comes back to communication. Establish a routine. You cook dinner, they wash and load the dishwasher after. You make the bed, and they take out the trash. Especially if you are planning to have kids, establishing and splitting household tasks beforehand is a MUST.

I may sound like a broken record, but, I’ll say it again, communication is key! This is a large step for your relationship and is a new territory. Talk to each other and give each other grace. No one is perfect. And, most importantly, DON’T keep score. A marriage will not prosper if you are constantly mentally remembering each positive and negative action. It all comes back to open communication.