So you have met the love of your life and you are getting married – Congratulations! Life as an engaged couple can be very exciting. Somewhere between wedding planning and honeymooning, make sure you take time to prepare yourself for the most important thing – your marriage. The following points will help you and your fiancé discuss the future that awaits you.
You and your fiancé are (and always will be) individuals. Some people are afraid that they will lose their identity when they get married. Expect that you and your partner will have differences – different ways to address conflict, different ways of communicating, different expectations, etc. Although marriage does change some things, it doesn’t change who we are as individuals. Allow yourself and your partner to be who you truly are and celebrate the unique things you both bring to the marriage.
You won’t agree on everything. You are likely to hit many rough patches in the first year and beyond. It is how you deal with these challenges that matters. Remember to “fight fair.” Don’t make assumptions about what your partner is feeling; actively listen to what they have to say; and communicate your thoughts in a constructive manner. Avoid placing blame on your partner and starting statements with “you always” or “you never.” A marriage and relationship education workshop in your area can teach you the tools to communicate effectively and work through conflict.
Have regular date nights. Dating doesn’t end when you walk down the aisle. It is important to spend regular one-on-one time with your spouse. These “date nights” should require that you both leave stressful discussions (whether it be about the house, paying bills or the in-laws) at the door. Simply enjoy each other’s company and keep the romance alive in your relationship.
Alone time is a good thing. You may be so “crazy in love” now that you can’t imagine needing time apart. It’s important to understand that alone time is very healthy in a relationship. It allows you the space to pursue your own hobbies and time with friends. Maintaining a balance of time together and time apart will help strengthen your marriage over time.
Compromise will be taken to a whole new level. This may seem obvious, but often it is difficult for couples to learn to give and take when they’ve spent their lives making individual decisions and doing what they want, whenever they want to do it. If you and your fiancé do not see eye-to-eye on things such as finances, living arrangements or parenting skills, take the time to learn about each other’s expectations. Compromise is not easy but it will allow you to get on the same page and tackle issues together.
“Happily Ever After” is a myth. Now that you’ve met your soul mate, you can live “happily ever after,” right? Wrong. Marriage is wonderful, but it takes work and dedication every day. Have realistic expectations of your spouse and your marriage. Understand that love is not enough for a marriage to succeed.
There is nothing more fulfilling than a happy, healthy marriage. Your marriage is going to be the most important relationship in your life. It will take a commitment to not only maintain, but to strengthen your bond within the first year and every year after.