Newlywed Rules to Ignore

Ever feel like there are expectations you're supposed to live up to as newlyweds? And if you don't buy into them, you're not doing the whole married thing right? Well, we say forget that. Here are some so-called rules you shouldn't think twice about ignoring.

Rule 1: You have to be Mr. and Mrs. Same Name/Same Account/Same Life
Ignore it. Maybe your friends were psyched when they finally got to use return address stickers featuring their new last name. But there's no set rule on how you two should go about merging—you have to do what's right for you, and that could mean keeping your name and maintaining your own accounts. If you're on the fence, consider using a joint account for all your household bills, while maintaining personal checking and savings accounts for all your other expenses. Just one quick trip to the bank, and you're done. No identity crisis necessary.

Rule 2: Once you're married, you need to put a five-year plan into place
Ignore it. Some couples have their entire future mapped out. "We'll probably move to the burbs by '14, and then we'll have to start thinking about having kids—two girls and a boy—and buttering up to preschools in the area." Alrighty then. Just because pals may have a master plan—including the month they want to conceive—doesn't mean you should, especially since life rarely goes according to plan anyway.

Rule 3: You need to phase out your individual friends and meet new couples
Ignore it. Why is it that as soon as you get hitched, you're expected to be hot on the trail of other duos to befriend? You're still the same people you were before you got married, so don't buy into the pressure to fill some arbitrary couples quota. The individual friends you've had for years—the ones that were with you long before your spouse showed up—are still a big part of your lives, even if they're at different stages.

Rule 4: You should be spending all your free time together
Ignore it. Having quality time together is important, but you had a full life before getting hitched, and you still should now (hello, that's why you found each other interesting in the first place). Schedule more nights doing your own thing or take a short vacation if the opportunity comes up. Yes, your other half will survive -- and may even thank you!

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