As we enter into and exist in our adult lives, we begin to prepare for many things— establishing a satisfying career for ourselves, living on our own, purchasing property or our own car. We put much time into the preparations of these occasions but rarely put thought into what it means to be married.
You plan a wedding; it unfolds, and then, is inevitably over— if you’re lucky, it’s on to the honeymoon, and you are still in the honeymoon phase. Then you come back, to your house, your car—to the bills you pay for both—and you come to ask have I prepared for the new future that’s right in front of me?
We had planned the wedding, but what comes next blindsides us—marriage. The real, everyday commitment that we’ve made is here.
The questions below will help you establish, as a couple, a strong, lasting spiritual and emotional bond.
Explore and share these important steps with your partner before and after your wedding; as preparation and continued education are vital to your long-term marital success. Married for a long time? Now is the perfect time to recommit to a happy, healthy relationship.
- Understand your own values. Explore each other’s values such as truthfulness, trustworthiness and integrity
- Be responsible for your words and actions. Communicate clearly and often with each other.
- Develop a caring friendship with your partner. Learn each other’s likes and dislikes, such as foods, entertainment, recreation etc. Know that it is okay that not every interest includes both partners.
- Ask yourself if you have the ability to be a compatible and harmonious couple. Can you laugh at yourself and each other’s idiosyncrasies?
- Consider if you both have the same values around family. Communicate your expectations. Do you want to build connections with each other’s family? Do you want to have children together? Discuss this in advance.
- Explore and discuss how you will manage money. Many couples do not discuss this and later have challenges around how to spend, how to save, etc. If you work this out in advance you will be friends. Money is the #1 reason for arguments in a marriage.
- What are you sex role expectations? Become clear about them and communicate them to your partner.
The better you learn to communicate, the more likely you will feel heard and understood in your relationship. You’ll find peace in knowing that you share similar values and goals, and experience happiness within yourselves and the relationship.