So you’re engaged. Congrats! But did you know the whole point of having a wedding is that you’re getting married?
This might seem obvious, but a lot of people spend countless hours preparing for the wedding event without giving a thought to the actual marriage—which lasts the rest of your life!
FYI, being married is not the same as dating. It’s a good idea to go through pre-marital counseling, which may be available through your church (if you’re not religious, plenty of counselors specialize in relationships). You can also read a book together, such as The Five Love Languages, and discuss your expectations for the future.
Here are six tips to help make your marriage a positive and even amazing experience.
Learn To Communicate
You probably get along well with your partner. Treating each other with mutual respect is obvious, and most engaged couples share core values. This doesn’t mean that you’ll agree on everything all the time. Learn how to communicate. Balance speaking and listening skills; learn how to fight and make up. Express your appreciation in meaningful ways. Find out how your partner likes to discuss difficult issues. Do they like things out in the open, right away? Do they need time/space to process? Figure out the best way to coexist in your household.
Getting engaged is an important milestone, yet committing to a relationship takes much more. Building mutual trust is so important and prevents issues like jealousy or second-guessing. Your wedding vows are more than a ceremonial promise; they are a behavioral promise. Stop flirting. Stop putting yourself in situations designed to help singles meet prospective mates. Does your social life end? Of course not. But a committed person doesn’t entertain thoughts or actions that could even possibly lead to infidelity. Because when you’re married, that’s how much you love your partner. Period.
Think of yourself as a knight. Your marriage is your castle, and it’s always under attack. It’s up to you to protect your relationship. Not all stressors come from people deliberately trying to break you up (although this can happen). Sometimes, negativity creeps in from your family or work situation. Schedules can get crazy; outside commitments can be demanding. It’s important to set boundaries and let others know that you value your marriage. Protect your personal time. Protect your partner’s privacy and maintain their trust. Seek community with people who will support your relationship.
Keep Having Fun
Not everything about marriage is hard. (Otherwise, why would people bother?) Actually, in a lot of ways, being married is easier than dating. For one thing, you get to be together a lot more! Plus when you share resources, you’ll have more money to spend on dates or anniversary celebrations; when money is tight, you can find creative ways to be romantic. Plan adventures. Share special moments. Geek out together. Keep having the fun you had in the beginning, and staying married comes pretty easily.
Prioritize Your Partner
Work and professional commitments take lots of time. Add hobbies, religious activities, family events, and social engagements—your day is pretty full! However, the number ONE person in your life is your spouse. Remember this and stick to it. Always consult with your partner and make their needs a priority. Because when you’re old or sick or just need someone there for you, your spouse is that person. Jobs will eventually end. Kids may or may not stick around. When you choose someone for life, they’ll choose you back. That kind of loyalty comes from putting each other first.
Keep Falling in Love
The magic of your first kiss and that heart-fluttering moment he proposed are just the tip of the iceberg. The true beauty of marriage is that you get to keep falling in love. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Speak your spouse’s love languages. When you invest in your relationship and put forth extra effort, your marriage will get even better. If you’ve ever seen an old couple celebrating their 50th anniversary, you’ll notice the depth of their intimacy surpasses mere words. Make each day together special, as much as possible. You’ll see the difference when you choose love.
Do you have advice for newlyweds? Share your favorite tip!