Traversing the road to marriage is an exciting time for engaged couples, or those that are seriously dating. The days, months and even years leading up to the day you say, “I do” present opportunities for you both to decide what kind of life you will create together. If you develop healthy relationship habits now, you can set yourselves up for building a strong and lasting marriage.
These are four surefire ways to learn how to stay married, before you get married.
1. Stay Attentive to Each Other’s Needs
When love is new and you’re starting to get to know each other, nothing else stays on your mind more than your sweetie. Your focus is doing whatever you can to please and make them happy.
Keep that mentality after you get married. Always stay in tune to each other’s needs. One of the biggest lessons you’ll learn in marriage is that it’s not about you. Once you learn each other’s love language, you will need to practice them daily.
2. Schedule Time to Be Together
While my husband and I were dating, we had a set date night. It didn’t matter if we went out to dinner or a local café for coffee and pastries; we were diligent about keeping our weekly love appointment. This has proven to require the most effort to maintain over the years, but whenever we falter in this area, I notice a change in how we interact with one another.
Do what works best for your schedules (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly), but be sure to make it a priority to stay connected. It is during these times that growing together takes place.
3. Keep Your Relationship a Duo, Not a Group Project
As you work toward designing your life together, there will be times that you’ll need to reach out to other couples or even professionals for support and advice. That is totally fine and you should start building that network of support now.
But when you start to let any and everybody into your business, that’s when it’s time to pump the brakes. Your relationship has nothing to do with other people and everything to do with the two of you. Get help and guidance when you need it, but be discerning with where you get it from. More people will want to see your marriage fail than succeed.
4. Focus on Intimacy and Not on Sex
Sex is an important part of marriage. A healthy sex life isn’t built solely on the act itself, however it’s built on intimacy. My husband and I abstained from sex during our courtship. With sex off the table, we were able to foster a climate of intimacy between us.
Effective communication is your starting point with enhancing intimacy. Showing affection is a huge part of it, too, but communication is where it all begins. Allowing your mate to feel heard is one of the best ways to show your love for them. Eliminate distractions, put down your phones and look each other in the eye when you talk. With enough practice, your sense of togetherness will expand in ways you can’t imagine and will often play out in the bedroom!
Overall, what I have learned about making marriage work is this: You have to work together to grow together. Click here to share that!
I share these tips with all of you as a short list of principles to master while you’re still dating and as a reminder to continue to do after the wedding.
BMWK – What would you add to this list?