So you are thinking about getting married or are engaged? Congratulations! It can be a tremendous relief and very exciting to know you have finally found the one you want to spend the rest of your life with! This is a wonderful time for you, but it is also a time to have your eyes wide open. After all this is the person you are going to be building a life with, sharing finances with, sharing legal obligations, blending families with and maybe adding your own children too.
Here are a few tips and some advice as you navigate this huge transition.
Sometimes couples think because they have lived together that they already have “practiced” being married. This can be a bit of a myth. When couples live together, even if it’s been for many years, there is always the possibility that if things aren’t working out they can break up. A break up is very different than a divorce. You can walk away from a relationship that isn’t working out without getting the courts involved. That usually isn’t true for a marriage. This realization usually sets in after a couple has a first big argument after getting married. Also society treats married people who are married differently than people who are living together without marriage. Couples usually notice this difference from family members after the wedding. This can be a nice thing, if a little bit surprising at first.
Before saying ‘I do’
It’s really important that couples come to agreement on a few issues before they ever walk down the aisle and say “I do.” Learn why this is important. Here are the slippery slopes to watch out for: communication skills, finances, in-laws, the role friends will play in the relationship, religion, sex, and infidelity.
If you have not thoroughly discussed each of these topics with your partner, you might want to make sure you are on the same page before you get married. Another one of those pesky myths is that if you are having some trouble, things will somehow get better after you get married. This is usually not true. Whether you have been dating or living together for a long time, you still may not have seen your partner when they are completely relaxed and being themselves. It is usually the case that behavior changes a bit after the wedding. Sometimes this is for the best, sometimes not.
Premarital counseling can really help prepare you for what is coming next. Your religious institution or a good therapist can help you with this. May you have a long happy healthy loving marriage together!