Same-Sex Marriage Advice for Newly Wed Couples

July 8, 2015 by

Last week, the Supreme Court made history books when it ruled in favor of making same-sex marriage a national right. In honor of this incredible landmark, I decided to write a post dedicated to the thousands of same-sex couples in Portland and across the country who are getting ready to approach the altar.

While there may be distinctions between same-sex and heterosexual relationships, the fundamental principles of love, communication, and appreciation apply to any marriage. Here are some of the most important ones for newlyweds to remember.

Communicate often. Whether you are in a gay, lesbian, transgender, or straight relationship, honest communication is essential to the long-term success of your marriage. It’s important to discuss the small things—such as your day at work or an interesting book you’re reading—as it is the big issues. Constant communication will help you and your partner keep connected, resolve issues, and grow closer. Remember that your new spouse isn’t a mind reader—if you are upset about something, be sure to talk about it. You will never solve a marriage problem by turning away from it or bottling it up inside.

Pick your battles. While it’s important to address problems, concerns, and challenges, not every little thing in your new marriage will be worth an argument. It’s natural to get on each other’s nerves every once and a while, and it’s counterproductive to try to constantly control and influence your partner’s behaviors. Before starting a fight with your new husband or wife, always ask, “How important is this to the context of our entire marriage?”

Fight fair. While arguments are an integral part of any healthy and active marriage—same-sex or otherwise— how you and your spouse argue can determine the long-term success of your marriage. I’ve listed some key tips for fighting fairly below:

  • Keep your arguments private.
  • Approach the subject at hand when you are both calm.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Don’t bring up old grudges, sore points, or mistakes.
  • Do not resort to name-calling or insults.
  • Always keep something you love or appreciate about your spouse in mind—this will help you remain calm.

Don’t get caught up in a routine. It can be easy for married couples to fall into a comfortable routine, but simply going through the motions can leave you feeling unsatisfied and restless. Go on weekly dates with your spouse, try new activities together, and take the vacations you always dreamed of.

Never take your marriage for granted. Just 50 years ago, few could have imagined that legalized same-sex marriage would be a possibility for the United States. Honor this tremendous step for equality and human rights by never taking your spouse or your marriage for granted. Kiss every day. Remind your spouse how much you love him or her often. Show appreciation for thoughtfulness, effort, and sacrifice. You can express love in a powerful way with small daily gestures, from picking up a case of your partner’s favorite beer to giving him or her a foot rub.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Gay marriage may have finally been legalized, but the journey you and your partner are taking together is only beginning. You and your new spouse can build a strong and healthy relationship together, but it will require constant hard work, collaboration, and compromise. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to a Portland marriage counselor, who can provide you with practical tools and techniques for making it through the tough times and relishing the great ones.