This is a good question and one that every couple needs to answer before they think about getting married. In many ways, the relationship you have before you get married will give you some very important indications and clues as to what your life may be like after marriage. Sometimes couples are so “in love” that they rush into marriage thinking that life will always be as sweetly scented as a rose, forgetting that roses have thorns too. By paying very careful attention to your pre-marriage relationship, you will be better prepared for the realities of married life.
Discussions and counseling
One thing which can really help to prepare you for marriage is to go for premarital counselling together. This would usually be with a professional counsellor or pastoral couple who specialize in marriage preparation. Sometimes a DVD series is followed alongside a workbook, covering a wide range of topics. You would get to know each other’s family backgrounds, and talk about some of your life experiences, both the highlights and the lowlights. You would discuss and decide how you are going to manage conflict in your relationship, and how best you can communicate with each other according to your different personalities. You would also need to talk about how you will relate to each other’s families after your marriage (ie. the “in-laws”) and how much time you intend or expect to spend with your respective families.
Breaking off ties with previous partners
If you have had any other premarital relationships with previous boyfriends or girlfriends, it is essential that you break all ties with those people and reassure your future spouse that your heart is now fully committed to him or her alone. If you still have some cherished mementos or gifts which you are keeping, and if you cannot openly tell your intended husband or wife about your previous relationships, then you are probably not ready to commit to marriage.
The quality of your premarital relationship will determine to a large extent the quality of your marriage relationship. The more you can get to know each other before marriage, the better prepared you will be and the less likely to encounter any nasty surprises at a later stage. Relationship enhancement is an ongoing process which should start before marriage and continue throughout your life in order to have the best possible marriage experience.