You have updated your status from “In a Relationship” to “Engaged”. Yay! Your days are now going to be spent in preparation for your wedding, with lots of details, large and small, to attend to. While preparing for that big event, have you given some thought to what comes after the wedding? Here are some tips to help you navigate your transition from Miss to Mrs.
1. Make sure you ready for life as a wife
Take some time to do a personal check, ask yourself if you are truly ready to commit to this one person for the rest of your life. Some questions you might ask yourself:
- Have you dated enough to know that this is “the one”?
- Do you accept your fiancé exactly as he is, right now, flaws and all? Or do you hope that marriage will make him into the idealized spouse you have in your head?
- Are you marrying because you truly want to, and not due to societal or familial pressure, or because all of your friends are already married?
- When you are with him, is life better?
- Has he seen you at your worst (sick, tired, hungry, angry)? How does he comfort you?
- Have you seen him at his worst? Is he open to you comforting him?
- Do you have any regrets at putting your single days behind you?
2. Make sure your dates include real-life situations
Now that you are engaged, your dates should not be limited to “fun” nights on the town. You will want to see how you both react in real-life situations before you marry, so make sure you travel together, do mundane tasks together, and support each other during the less-pleasant times such as illness, unemployment or care-giving to a parent. Why? It’s important to be able to see all the sides of your future spouse, and not only the “dating” side.
3. Preparing yourself physically for marriage
This is not a “beauty ritual” checklist for your wedding day. Preparing yourself physically for marriage includes a health checkup with an open dialogue about birth control, if that is something you will be using after the wedding. Birth control needs can change over time so this would be a good moment to reevaluate what, if anything, you are using. This would also be a good moment to screen for any STDs, and make sure that your bloodwork looks good!
4. Preparing yourself mentally for marriage
Even with the perfect partner, going from single to married can spark some anxiety, especially if you are used to living on your own. Ongoing discussions with your future spouse about how you will be setting up your married household will be beneficial. If you think you might need some expert help in making this transition, be sure to pull in some outside support from a professional counselor. Marriage counselors are specialized in helping couples adjust to new lifestyles, and can help provide you with tools to ensure that your married life begins on the right foot.
5. Dedicate some time to your friends also
This is good advice for both before and after your wedding, but especially now as you say goodbye to your single days. Plan a weekend getaway or vacation with your closest friends (no spouses or children allowed) so you can enjoy one last moment of friends-only laughter, discussions, and closeness before you become a wife. It’s nice to make this a habit for after the wedding, as well, as it helps to remind you of your individual identity (plus it’s just so much fun!).
6. Be transparent with finances
Part of marriage preparation involves talking about money, so make sure you have plenty of discussions about finances. You should know how much money each other make, and be open about what you have in your mutual bank accounts. You should discuss if you will combine your financial resources and any other assets (real estate) you may have. Talk about a pre-nuptial agreement if necessary.
7. Be close with each other’s family
When you marry, you not only marry your spouse but you marry their family. The best case scenario? You each get along well with each other’s parents. It is to everyone’s benefit, especially any future children, that there is a sense of connection to your parents. If you live far away, set up regular Skype sessions so that communication remains open and you can continue cultivating this important relationship.
8. Sex and intimacy
You may already have a sizzling sex life, and that’s great. Be aware that your sexual life will change over time. The hot sparks that are a part of your early years together are likely to dissipate but be replaced by another kind of closeness; that of truly knowing your partner and feeling completely safe with them. But a great sex life is possible, even well after the wedding, if both of you communicate honestly about your likes, your dislikes, what makes you hot and what turns you off. Your needs will evolve as you grow together, so make sure you stay open to trying out new things to keep this part of your married life enriching for both of you.
As you prepare for your wedding day, make sure you take a moment or two to pull back and focus on the big picture of this journey that you are about to embark upon. The wedding itself is not an endpoint, although sometimes it may seem like it. The wedding is actually a starting point, that landmark where your life as a couple begins. With thorough preparation, you will move forward into this next chapter eagerly, ready to receive all the happiness that marriage can provide.