You’re newly engaged and it’s one of the most exciting experiences of your life. You have devoted the last few months of your life to choosing a location, setting a date, and planning a big reception party. But, how much have you thought about what kind of husband or wife you want to be to your spouse?
Planning a wedding is a huge job, but it shouldn’t take precedence over planning for your actual marriage. There are plenty of questions and emotional preparation to consider before getting married.
Couples should discuss their marital expectations so they can be on the same page when it comes to caring for one another and potentially starting a family.
Those who are attending pre-marriage counseling for advice on marriage should take those tips to heart. Here are 5 helpful pieces of advice on marriage that will keep you happy as newlyweds straight into your golden years.
1. Think Beyond the Wedding
When you’re planning for a wedding it can be easy to get caught up in the guest list, table settings, and other superficial aspects of the big day. But, don’t forget about other important areas of your marriage.
Talk to your spouse about your expectations for marriage. For example, how will you deal with money matters? Some couples choose to share bank accounts and pool their incomes together, while others keep their finances separate. The subject of debt should also be discussed.
Another piece of advice on marriage is to talk about your sex life. The sexual aspect of a relationship is usually a big deal to both partners. Because of this, you should communicate openly and honestly about your sexual turn-ons and offs and why physical intimacy is important to you.
Couples should also discuss their expectations relating to sexual frequency.
2. Have a Regular Date Night
Your wedding was amazing, but your marriage is where the real fun begins.
Think of your date night as a weekly or bi-monthly wedding reception. This is a time for you and your spouse to let loose and have fun together.
Many couples have regular monthly date nights to help keep their emotional and physical connection strong. Date night can be as expensive as a fancy dinner in a revolving dining room, as fun and exciting as an afternoon spent riding roller coasters, or as soothing as a night in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine.
Whatever you do on your date night, just make sure you are spending quality time with your spouse talking, laughing, connecting, and building sexual chemistry. This is what will keep your relationship strong, especially for new parents or couples who work excessive hours.
3. Ask the Hard Questions
One piece of advice when you are first getting married is to ask each other the hard questions.
Work: Your careers can change drastically from the time that you first get married to the point where you are celebrating your first milestone anniversary. Talk about your career goals and whether your goals may require you to move cities or states somewhere down the line.
Becoming Homeowners: Discuss with your partner whether or not you want to buy or rent when you first get married. There are pros and cons to each. You should also discuss whether you want to be in a home or an apartment.
Family Planning: Do you want children? You may be surprised to learn you and your spouse have differing opinions on having children or when is an appropriate time to have them. It’s important to discuss family planning as well as contraception methods before tying the knot.
Parenting: Couples planning on having children should talk about what type of parents they want to be as well as what disciplinary actions they are comfortable with.
Faith: Studies show that couples who share the same faith are happier than those who do not. Do you and your spouse believe in a higher power? If so, how will this factor into your weekly routine or parenting styles?
4. Be physically demonstrative in your affection toward your partner
There is a reason why your marriage is sealed with a kiss at the end of your vows. Physical display is very important to a healthy relationship.
Here are just three studies that will convince you that your sex life post marriage will have a direct impact on the overall happiness quotient of your married life. First, sexual activity triggers the release of oxytocin which promotes bonding and trust – both of which are important aspects of a new marriage.
Second, regular physical affection is the biggest predictor of marital satisfaction and may actually increase how often couples verbalize their love for one another.
Lastly, the oxytocin released during physical display of affection may actually make men more faithful and monogamous to their partners.
One strong piece of advice on marriage is to pay attention to the intimacy in your life. Even if you have a busy schedule, ensure you are making time for all forms of physical intimacy. This includes hugging, kissing, and holding hand.
5. Have a Positive Attitude
When it comes to wedding planning, attitude is everything. Even the best plans can go awry, so it’s important to have a positive “roll with the punches” attitude about your wedding day. The same is true of your marriage.
Even the happiest marriage is bound to have exciting ups and trying downs during the course of the relationship. But the way you approach handling these situations will have a strong impact on your life as newlyweds.
Strive to have a positive attitude. When your spouse irritates you, make a mental list of their good qualities. When you have a disagreement, show forgiveness to one another and move on. When things seem down, work hard at building one another up.
When you are planning on getting married, it’s important to think beyond the wedding. Ask each other the hard questions. It may be awkward at first but doing so will help you communicate effectively with your partner. Above all else, always make time for one another with regular date nights. Doing so will strengthen your marriage.
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