In large part, even if you think you’ve found your perfect match and all the ‘marriage-worthy’ signs are there, most marriages are a leap of faith. There is never any telling how a relationship is going to turn out 5, 10, 15 years down the road. The thing you can do to ensure your relationship is strong and worthy of the test of time? Plan.
Planning a wedding is an exciting experience and a night you will definitely never forget, but planning for a marriage will last you the rest of your life. This means taking positive steps towards uniting as a couple through the good times and the bad. Because there will be both. This article will discuss the best preparation for marriage that leads to healthy, happy, and realistic couples.
1. Discuss finances
It’s going to come up eventually, so you may as well bring it up before you’re actually tied to one another. Have a full round table, so to speak, about the aspects of your finances before you get married. This will spare you both confusion in the future. Ask questions like:
- Will you share bank accounts?
- Will you both work?
- Who will pay what utility/bill?
- Do you have any debt? If so, who will be responsible for paying it off?
- What is your plan for savings and retirement?
It’s important to create a budget as soon as you know you will be married. This will give you an excellent idea of how much you owe, how much you’ll need, and who is responsible for what.
2. Discuss your future
Do you plan on having children? You’d be surprised how many couples do not discuss this in advance. Learning what your spouse expects from the future will help you align your goals. Do you both want to start a family? Perhaps you both want to wait a few years and focus on careers or travel before pursuing parenthood? Perhaps you never want children!
This is an important conversation to have as it concerns your personal time together, your finances, and what type of parents you want to be. Discuss beforehand how hands on you will be, what types of punishment you find acceptable, and how you want to raise your children in terms of religion, electronics, and schooling.
3. Work on your communication skills
If you get into an argument, does one of you resort to the silent treatment? This is a childish and petty response to a disagreement that can be extremely hurtful to your spouse. Are you prone to yelling or name-calling when you don’t get your way? Prepare for a good marriage by working out your communication differences before tying the knot. Learn how to be open and honest with one another.
Learn to communicate better by taking the time to listen and being honest with your partner about your feelings in a non-combative way. Always remember that your marriage mate is your partner in life, not your enemy. Keeping this in the forefront of your mind will make you more respectful to your other half.
4. Talk openly about sexual expectations
Intimacy is a huge part of a marriage that not only feels great, but also bonds a couple together in a special unison. Sex can reduce stress, lower barriers, boost love, cause you to sleep better, and draw you closer as a couple. Needless to say, sex is incredibly important.
Therefore, it is extremely important that you both have an open and honest discussion regarding your realistic expectations for sex throughout your marriage. Not everyone has the same needs regarding intimacy, but it is important to respect both of your wants and needs. Sex is integral to love and bonding for a reason. One should never deprive the other of it, just like the other should not force their mate into having relations when they are not emotionally or physically into it.
5. Hang out before marriage
This sounds a bit strange, at first, but this rule is a great way to prepare for marriage. When you are dating, spend some time doing mundane things such as watching television together and cooking a meal. Get to know your spouse in their habitat when they are relaxing at home. This will give you a better idea of how cleanly, handy, and motivated they are in their day-to-day life.
6. Date after marriage
Once you are married it is important to keep dating. This means instituting a date night each week where you devote time to one another doing things you used to do when you weren’t married. Go out for dinner, see a play or a movie, attend a festival, visit a winery, or plan a day trip. This will keep both of you feeling appreciated. This also gives you the time you need away from your phones and stresses of work to really devote time to one another.
7. Get to know one another’s friends
If you didn’t know them before, you’ll surely want to get to know them now. It is important to keep up with your friendships. You can do this by inviting your marriage mate or fiancé to associate with your friends. These are after all, the people who were closest to you before you started your marriage.
8. Commit yourself to one another in a personal dedication
This may sound like a no-brainer, but marriage is truly a commitment to your partner. Even though one of you has already popped the question and the other has agreed, it is still important to give personal, private vows to one another entailing what you expect from your marriage and all the things you intend to give. Do not say anything that you do not mean.
A marriage should be a solemn vow to stand by one another for better or worse, for the rest of your lives. Not a promise of trying with a divorce handy in your back pocket if it doesn’t work out. Marriage is hard work, but it is infinitely more rewarding than challenging. The best preparation for marriage involves a full heart and an open mind.