'Will you marry me?' Those words can change our lives forever. If it's our first serious commitment we may have been living together for a while and have now decided to progress our relationship to the next level. We may be thinking about settling down, nest-building, becoming more career focused. Getting married will no doubt influence our future choices and decisions and see us becoming an adult.
If it's the second time around we may feel elated at having another chance at happiness, or we may be thinking about getting married to ensure that our partner is safeguarded and properly provided for in their later years.
Things can change after we're married and here are a few tips to support that transition:
- Continue to communicate with genuine love, affection and interest. When life becomes busy it can be all too easy to get into the habit of quickly delivering news updates on your day, becoming a stressed, preoccupied presence at the dining table or spending evenings immersed in your phone. Communicating properly means switching off your phone, listening and then following up with genuine interest in what's happening in each other's lives.
- Keep channels of communication open and share your thoughts, fears and concerns, even when you're tired. It's tough for your partner if they find out about any stresses or troubles you're going through from family, friends or months down the line. Share both the good and the bad news. Agree on a specific, regular time for any deep and meaningful conversations that can't be properly conducted in a normal, busy week. Maintaining open and honest communications is the best way to remain happily married.
- Respect each others opinions and decisions. There may be times when you agree to disagree; you may never fully understand each other's point of view, but respecting their standpoint is what's really important. Each of you is an individual, with your own back story, values and opinions. And even if one of you is wrong it's not always necessary to argue vehemently to prove your point. Give and take are important components in remaining happily married.
- Support your partner in public, being respectful of them, even if you're unhappy about something that's happened. It makes an important difference to the quality of your relationship. Other people may want to offer parenting advice or choose to disagree or criticize your partner. Stand together and be loyal, even if you need to have a conversation later, in private.
- Admit if you're wrong. Relationships can struggle if there's felt to be a lingering, unresolved injustice, especially if integrity or honesty are called into question. If you're wrong be prepared to work to improve the situation. Allow time to sit and discuss the matter, calmly and without rancour. Explain yourself, accept the feedback and try to determine a way forward.
- Share the everyday stuff. Some people love cooking together and it can provide a valuable opportunity to talk, chatter, gossip animatedly together and invest in your relationship. Even gardening, decorating, walking the dog can be done together and become important 'us' time. And sharing mundane tasks means that both are contributing to the smooth running of the household, especially if they have busy, committed lives. Sometimes there may need to be exceptions to the rule. Or it may be determined to be a more constructive use of your time and money to hire someone else to do those tasks for you.
- Allow each other space. It's good to share but it's also good to maintain separate interests and friendships too. Enjoying some independent activities adds value to your conversations and helps to keep the spark alive. Some friends or hobbies may not interest your partner. Respect that and allow each other some space. Those times can provide a break, external stimulus and provide new topics of conversation for when you meet up again later on.
- But equally be prepared at times to join your partner in things that want or need to do. Make the effort to be supportive on occasion if your attendance or input is important to them. It oils the wheels of your relationship and may win you brownie points!
A marriage is often described as a work in progress, evolving, adapting and changing over the years. The best way to remain happily married is to maintain fun, friendship, open communications and mutual respect. When both people feel they are working in the same direction a happy marriage can survive the bad, not just enjoy the good.
Susan Leigh, Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.
She's author of 3 books, 'Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact', '101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday' and 'Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain', all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.
To order a copy or for more information, help and free articles visit http://www.lifestyletherapy.net