4 Practical Pieces Of Advice For To-Be-Married Couples
At a romantic getaway, he takes out the ring from his pocket, kneels down on one side of the knee, and here comes the question – “Will you marry me?” Without hesitation, while shedding tears of happiness – you say “YES!” He gets up, thrilled, he hugs you and both of you dive into the moment of love, as though other things don’t matter anymore…
This is the beginning of a new journey. Both of you are about to elevate onto a new phase of life, a phase called MARRIAGE. It is a lifelong journey; everything you do, they will be by your side. They will be your lifelong partner, your best friend, your closest buddy, and your family. Moving onto a new journey may bring insecurity – What if things don’t work out? What if their family doesn’t like you? What if you can’t seem to get along with them?
Despite the “What if”s, I’ve been there, done that. As a future bride who just got engaged last year, the journey of being engaged and preparing for marriage has been smooth for me (thankfully) up to this point. Many may feel overwhelmed, insecure, stressed, uncertain. These feelings merely signify how important this new phase is to you, and it is completely normal to have mixed feelings. However, this will also be a good opportunity for you to get to know each other more. Let’s be practical – so how do we overcome these feelings and enjoy the road of marriage with our significant other?
1. Speak what’s on your mind.
Elizabeth Bourgeret, the renowned author and creator of the Leading with Love movement, said, “Communication is the lifeline of any relationship.” I couldn’t agree more. The purpose of us embarking on a relationship is to learn more about a person. We can’t do that without proper communication. Feelings of uncertainty and insecurity may affect one party of the relationship. So, it is important to talk about these feelings and make sure your partner understands you and supports you along the way.
Without communication, barriers will form between the two of you. This results in severe arguments, regrets and the worst-case scenario, parting ways because “we are not suitable for each other”. Don’t want to have kids after marriage? Communicate. Want him to help with household chores? Communicate. Feeling uncomfortable with her male friends? Communicate. Let them know how you feel, but put yourself in their shoes. Eventually, misunderstandings can be prevented. It is a universal rule that applies everywhere – whether it is within a relationship, friendship or family. Communication definitely plays a major role in getting the right message across and letting the other party know how you feel.
2. Discuss your lifelong plans & decisions together.
Unless if it is an unexpected circumstance that you had to get married to your loved one immediately, during the moments of selecting the ring, buying it and kneeling down during the wedding proposal, you may have gone through several things in mind. For example, “I plan to get a new house after marriage” or “I plan to work hard for a promotion so that she can have a better life”. Marriage is a lifelong journey, and it is about to affect the rest of your life. There is no turning back (because turning back comes with legal consequences). Therefore, it is important for both of you to sit down, plan well to anticipate various possibilities. Anticipate any risks that may come your way, think about solutions together, and you shall overcome problems together.
Among all issues, financial issues can be the main reason why spouses argue with each other. In fact, according to CNBC, it is the main cause of stress in relationships. Do you plan to have the wedding and honeymoon locally or abroad? Do you plan to move into a new house together? How much from your salary should you reserve as household funds? To resolve these questions, it often requires you to put on your thinking cap and kickstart your financial planning. Try having an Excel sheet with proper records of your financial capabilities and commitment. Believe me, it comes in quite handy.
3. Get ready for your lives to be intertwined.
As the popular saying goes, “When you marry someone, you’re also marrying their family”. While I don’t personally like to agree on this, it is inevitable that you cannot separate your spouse from the family they came from. Likewise, we wouldn’t want ourselves to be separated from our parents and siblings. Both families, strangers to each other, are now connected through you and your spouse.
Make your significant other feel that they are a part of the family. Ensure that you include them in any decisions you make, especially when it affects your spouse significantly. It is fine for your parents to come over and stay with you occasionally – but make sure you include your spouse and their parents into consideration. It is fine for you to bring your parents out for dinners but do ensure that your spouse is collectively agreeing on the date and time and is well-informed of it.
As you get married, you’ll also most likely join in their friendship circles too. It is unavoidable that married couples are often invited to attend gatherings, weddings, and occasions together. Thus, it is now your role to ensure that your partner feels included, and is aware and well-informed. Try not to place them into a position of embarrassment and loneliness while you enjoy the moments happily with your friends. The key to inclusion is to always remember that you won’t be meeting your friends and family alone. Your spouse is now a part of you, and it is your responsibility to include them and keep them informed of what you are doing.
4. Don’t forget your ‘me’ time.
Having said all the above, while marriage invites another person into your lives, we must all remember that we’re individuals on our own as well. No matter how much we are in love, or how many responsibilities we have, having some personal time and space ensures that our mental health is taken care of. “Love yourself before loving others” applies here. Do not forget about self-care sessions, individual spaces, and quality ‘me’ time regularly. The time away from your partner allows you to focus on self-care and personal development. When you meet again, both of you will have stories to tell and to learn from.
Living together under one roof makes this difficult. However, with proper coordination and cooperation, you and your partner can work out routines that focus on your personal time and matters. It can be as simple as a one-hour break on your own while listening to your favourite music. It could even just be a stroll at the shopping mall alone, buying things that you love. A short break away from each other will make you appreciate each other even more. The art to forever is to balance connection and to walk through the journey of life as two connected people.
Marriage is a lifelong journey, and a happy marriage is a lesson to master – some couples master the art of happy marriage within a few years, some don’t get to master it at all, some part ways in between, while most of us learn to master the art along the way. It is a lifelong journey of learning, getting to know each other better, and spending the rest of your life with them. As we get old together and look at each other, we will feel that the journey is worth it and we are glad to have each other by our sides.