I’ve been married for nearly one year and I can honestly say that while I enjoy being a husband, there are times when the laughs and joy my wife and I felt on our wedding day are not reflected in our relationship. We knew we would have occasional disputes, but there have been times when we’ve both wondered how a day that started out so joyously could evolve into a relationship that seemed so contentious. Thankfully, we’ve begun to find our groove and have learned a few very important lessons about how to create a better relationship along the way. Here are five things every couple should remember.
Marriage doesn’t create character; it reveals it.
1. You can’t play what you don’t practice
The first tip is for couples that haven’t yet said “I do”. Whether seriously dating or engaged, the courtship phase is a great opportunity to begin preparing for marriage, assuming that’s what both people desire. It allows each person to answer two very important questions before getting hitched: “who am I?” and “what do I want in a relationship?”. Marriage doesn’t create character; it reveals it. That’s why a person needs to have a good understanding of themself and their future spouse before getting married. This is why premarital counseling/education is so important. It provides a great opportunity to learn more about yourself, your partner, and how the two of you function as a unit. It’s also a great way to prepare a couple for their lives as husband and wife. Every couple needs a set of relationship tools, whether for loving communication, managing money, or resolving conflict. Get familiar with these tools now so that you can find them when you actually need them.
The specific issue might be unique, but everyone goes through issues in their relationship.
2. You’re not alone
One of the most important things to remember when going through difficult times in the first year, or years, of marriage is that you are not alone. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking your issues around finances, intimacy, quality time, household responsibilities, and conflict are unique to you and your spouse. They’re not. The specific issue might be unique, but everyone goes through issues in their relationship. The reason this can be such a shock is because many of the people closest to us never open up about the struggles they go through in marriage. Whether because of pride, shame or some other reason, they keep their difficulties secret and attempt to paint a picture of marital bliss. In addition to our loved ones, much of the media we consume doesn’t provide a balanced perspective on relationships. Reality shows often focus on the most explosive types of conflict to improve ratings. But it’s likely that minor annoyances and disagreements are the more frequent source of frustration in your marriage. Regardless of what others want to admit or what we see or read, always remember that everyone has issues in their relationship.