From the moment you get engaged, you’re thinking about your future. At first, a lot of those thoughts probably focus on wedding planning and what to expect during your big day. However, it’s even more important to think about your long-term future, and what your marriage might look like five, ten, or even fifty years from now.
It’s normal for partners to have differences. In many cases, opposites attract. However, there are some things you should discuss and work out before you walk down the aisle to ensure your marriage starts on the right foot.
While your wedding day might be a big deal, it’s the first day of the rest of your life with someone. When the cake is gone and the decorations are torn down, you’ll be living with that person for many years to come — at least, that’s always the goal. So, what can you do to ensure those years are stable? How can you protect your marriage from the start? Let’s cover a few topics that aren’t always fun for couples to talk about, but are necessary if you want a long-lasting marriage based on trust and communication.
No two people are exactly alike. Whether you and your partner have a lot in common or not, some differences will tend to mean more than others. Two of the biggest subjects couples tend to disagree on are politics and religion.
People with different backgrounds and belief systems can absolutely make a marriage work. However, you have to be able to cope with those differences in healthy ways.
When it comes to political differences, consider finding common ground instead of trying to convince your partner to “switch”. You can have peaceful and productive conversations about politics by:
It’s okay to disagree on political ideas if your partner still has the underlying values you believe in and accept. The same goes for religion. Whether you’re from different denominations or come from completely different religious backgrounds, the best thing you can do is to find common ground. Don’t feel pressured to change your beliefs, but be respectful enough to listen to your spouse’s point of view and try to understand where they’re coming from.
Again, your wedding is the first day of a lifetime together. So, before you say your “I dos,” consider discussing what your future might look like. Make a plan on when you’re going to live together and what you’ll both contribute to your marital home. Then, decide on the kind of life you want to lead in that home.
Things like family planning are essential. You probably know if you want children or not, but what if your partner isn’t on the same page? Unfortunately, this is a matter that dissolves many marriages, so it’s important to understand where your partner stands before you tie the knot.
What about finances? How is the money going to be handled within your marriage, and what are your financial goals? Maybe one of you is more likely to stick to a budget while the other likes to spend more. A good compromise is something like going on cheap date nights or committing to saving a certain amount of money each month.
These might not be issues that are “fun” to talk about before you get married, but if you don’t address them now or you decide to sweep them under the rug, you could end up arguing about them later, or even dealing with major regrets. If you have different plans for your future, consider where you stand, if you can compromise now, and what you’re willing to keep talking about later. Most importantly, stay in constant communication about the things that are important to you. People change and your ideas can, too. However, you shouldn’t completely give up your beliefs or values as a way to “compromise”.
Even the strongest, healthiest couples in the world have arguments. No matter how much you have in common with your partner, you’re going to disagree on some things. Or, one of you might just be irritated and choose to take your frustrations out on the other person.
Whatever the case, arguing doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed, or even that it’s in trouble.
Arguing can be key in a healthy marriage. When done the right way, it can even strengthen your relationship and improve your bond. There are some basic dos and don’ts when it comes to having an argument that can make all the difference in how quickly you come to a resolution.
Some of the biggest mistakes couples make are arguing when they’re extremely angry, bringing up past hurts, and playing the blame game. These things often lead to long-winded fights and can end up causing resentment in the relationship. Instead, focus on arguing in a productive manner by:
If you’re having trouble finding common ground with your partner or you feel like you’re arguing all the time, it might be worth it to work with a couples therapist. Seeing a therapist or counsellor doesn’t have to be a “final effort” to save your relationship. Instead, it can even be a preventative matter to help educate you and your partner on what to do when you encounter a future point of conflict. It’s never too early or too late to get help. Having a professional third-party guide you can improve your connection and communication, and make your arguments much more productive and less hurtful.
When you’re married, it’s important to remember that you and your partner are on the same team. You might have different ideas and different ways of doing things. However, at the end of the day, your goals are the same, and you love each other. By keeping that in mind and working out any potential issues before you get married, you’ll be able to enjoy a stable and loving marriage for years to come.