Fresh from the wedding, you are excited to start the rest of your lives together. Before you get swept up in playing house and naming your children, take some time to sit down with your spouse and set some boundaries.

Setting boundaries and learning to say ‘No’ to not just your spouse but family members (both yours and his/hers) can be a very tricky situation. It is important to remember that your marriage is something that is worth protecting and talking about boundary setting at an early stage will benefit your relationship in the years to come after ‘I do’.

Saying 'No' to the Single Life

Be prepared for a change in lifestyle after the wedding. Living with your other half goes beyond taking extended holidays together. Give yourselves time to learn each other’s habits and don’t expect him or her to be picking up after you. Your spouse isn’t your helper or your mum, get used to being equal partners and pull your own weight when it comes to household chores or errands. Say 'No' to having your spouse do everything for you and offer to share the load.

It is easy for newly married couples to take for granted the time they have now that they are under the same roof. Don’t fall into this trap! Remember date night? Continue to set aside time for each other where you don’t talk about chores or household issues. Instead, use this time to connect with each other or simply enjoy each other’s company. Say 'No' to friends asking you out if this means skipping out on date night. Make your marriage and spouse your priority.

Saying 'No' to Third-parties

Leave your disagreements and technology at the bedroom door. Preserve your bedroom and marital bed as a safe space where you can press pause. You may find that the argument you had the night before was more trivial than you recall or that you are more willing to hear what your spouse has to say after a good night’s rest. Say 'No' to sleeping separately as that simply fuels the emotional distance and disconnect.

Handling in-laws can be one of the most complicated situations couples face. Set boundaries early on to ensure that both you and your spouse are on the same team before tackling the in-laws with tact and respect. Understand that saying ‘No’ can mean making room to saying ‘Yes’ to something else. If your in-laws continually show up at your house unannounced every Saturday morning, a solution could be asking them to Sunday dinner early in the week. Establishing new routines is the new norm in the life of newlyweds. 

Know Why You’re Saying 'No'

At the end of the day, nobody enjoys saying ‘No’, especially to their loved ones. Be clear about why you are saying ‘No’, leave room for disappointment and hurt feelings and practice. Learning how to say ‘No’ honestly and compassionately, doesn’t happen overnight but the benefits can mean protecting your marriage, giving it time and space to breathe and grow while managing your in-laws expectations.