In addition to rising temperatures, rainy days, and budding flowers, springtime also marks the start of wedding season. Couples are in the midst of planning the final details of their nuptials, attending to each element of the wedding day with care and consideration. It is an exciting time, to be sure.
While preparing to create the perfect wedding celebration for you and your guests is laudable, it is even more important, perhaps, for you and your to-be spouse to attend just as closely to the state of your relationship with one another. While you check off items on your wedding day to-do list, be sure that you are also checking in with your partner and doing what you can do ensure that your marriage is as beautiful and well planned as your wedding day.
Here are three things that successful couples do before they say “I do.”
- Establish healthy patterns of communication. Can you and your partner apologize when necessary, take ownership for missteps, and listen openly to one another? If you find that conflicts constantly devolve into nasty fights, it is imperative that you seek out the help necessary to build communication skills that allow for a free and smooth exchange of dialogue to occur. Communication issues can become destructive within a marriage, making it important to get on track before walking down the aisle.
- Create transparency and a plan for financial security. Couples who experience financial problems have a tough road ahead of them. Sure, many of us go through times when finances are tight, but secrecy, lying, or just not being on the same page about spending and saving can create wells of anger and mistrust between couples. Before you get married – even if you choose not to join finances – share all you can about your financial state. This includes your debt, savings, income, expenses, investments, and overall habits with and values about money. Make a budget you both can live with. Promise to never keep financial secrets from one another.
- Manage family dynamics. The dreaded in-laws don’t necessarily have to be so dreaded. Be sure to find ways to compromise and understand the unique needs of both of your families. Rather than having these differences divide you two, create ways to integrate your families’ value systems, traditions, styles of communicating, and needs for attention. Establish the boundaries of your relationship, and in doing so, find ways to be comfortable setting limits with potentially intrusive family members. This work will pay off in the end, allowing you and your spouse to interact with each of your families with ease and happiness.
Author: Rachel Goldsmith, MA, MSMFT