It’s rather difficult to think about the things you need to do for psychological marriage preparation when you’re about to walk down that aisle, and your mind is bouncing between euphoria and unspeakable stress over the flowers for the wedding. Yet, asking yourself and your partner the right questions at the right time can be the deciding factor between happily ever after and the sad divorce statistics. Here are three most important things to do to commence your life together prepared.
1. How do we handle conflict and stress as a couple?
Stress and pressure will only increase as the time goes by, let’s be honest about it. You will have problems as an individual and as a couple, with others and between the two of you. Being compatible when it comes to the way in which you react to conflict and stress is a crucial skill to develop in any long-lasting relationship.
The first days and months of the romance motivate us to show our better nature in many ways. We restrain our temper, show tolerance and support, keep the emotional outbursts to ourselves, not wanting to spoil the moments we share together. Marriage will change this, and all your emotional reactions will eventually become visible.
This is why it is important to consider how you both handle stress and how you react to conflicts. Do you retreat, do you become clingy, do you yell, are you angry or sad? Do you know how to communicate assertively? And, to prepare for a happy marriage – how can you improve these skills as a couple?
2. Do we expect something to change?
Another important question to ask yourself and your partner – do any of you expect or wish something to change now that you’ll be married? What is it? Why? And, importantly – how does the other partner feel about that expectation? Are you on the same page?
Many of us have a more or less conscious expectation that the person we’re marrying will magically change once they say their “I-do”s. They might, or they might not. But, what is important for the future of your relationship and your marriage is for you both to count on that, that none of you will change.
You need to be ready to spend the rest of your life with the person you’re marrying as they are at that moment. Expecting someone to become less self-centred or more responsible, or make any small or big change there is, is both selfish and unrealistic. Signing a piece of paper is rarely the magic wand and you might be up for a disappointment and years of fighting and discontent if you’re counting on that notion.
3. What is our attitude toward the big issues – Kids, money, affair, addiction?
Many couples tend to avoid talking about those things prior to getting married, as they feel that it would kill the romance. The furthest they go is fantasizing about how many kids you would want to have. Yet, you also need to discuss the realistic and less romantic aspect of it all.
Think about these questions thoroughly and talk them through with your fiancé/e. What is your philosophy about raising children, what will you allow and what will you forbid? How will you discipline them? How will you organize your finances? How compatible are you when it comes to earning and spending money? Is an affair a deal-breaker, or can it be surmounted? What would you expect from your spouse if an affair happened? How would you react to your spouse acquiring an addiction? Would you handle it together or would you expect them to fix that on their own?
Marriage can maintain its romantic aura for a long time, but the problems will arise. And that is the point in which your marriage preparation will prove to be a decisive factor in whether these big issues destroy your relationship, or motivate you both to thrive. Don’t be afraid to talk about the problems before they made their appearance – that is a sign of caring about your future wife or husband and wanting to do everything there is for your future together.
Being in the place in your life when you’re planning the wedding cake and choosing the right color for the bridesmaids’ dresses is breathtaking. And you should enjoy every second of it! But, it is also the perfect time to take a moment and consider all the crucial questions about marriage. This short pause in the planning will repay in many years of happy married days and is well worth it.