Are you getting married? Congrats! And now you are looking for things to know about marriage. Good for you!
Marriage doesn’t come with a manual. I wish it did. Because after the vows have been said, the doves have been released and the dress has been put in dry storage, comes marriage.
And as much as we would like to believe it’s all happily ever after, it often isn’t.
But it CAN be. All you need is some awareness and a willingness to act.
#1 – Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.
One of the most surprising things about many marriages is that after a while communication just stops.
Sure, there are lots of logistical stuff to discuss – when we are coming home for dinner, where the kids’ soccer games are, what time we are meeting the in-laws on Sunday.
But real communication, expressing of feelings, frustrations, hopes, dreams and longings, often stop.
Marriage is a 24/7 commitment. During those days, and years, lots of issues can arise, issues that can be hurtful and cause resentment. Instead of being addressed immediately, feelings are often left unsaid. It can just seem too scary to go there, to share how we feel and not know what the response will be. So we don’t.
And then, before we know it, it’s easier to just not say anything, to do the dishes or spend longer at the office, doing anything to avoid difficult conversations. We do this assuming that the issues will be dealt with eventually. Like after Christmas, after Memorial Day or when the kids go off to college.
If you only take one thing away from this article it’s this: keep communicating. Your marriage, and your life, will be better if you do.
#2– Have lots of sex.
I know newlyweds will laugh now at the prospect of no longer having sex with their partner. “That won’t be us,” they say.
But it very well could be.
We know that anger and resentment can build in a marriage because of unexpressed feelings. For a woman, there is no better libido killer than anger and resentment. And there is no better way to create anger and resentment in a man than the absence of sex.
Intimacy is key to maintaining closeness in a marriage. Touching, kissing, feeling loved and having orgasms are all a big part of this. Marriage without sex is simply a business arrangement.
So push past the anger and resentment and make love with your partner. Or, better yet, kill the anger and resentment with communication and happily make love every night.
You will be happy you did, both in the moment and long term.
#3 – Remember to respect each other.
There is a concept called the “contempt of the familiar.” This contempt occurs when people get to know each other very well. Too well perhaps. We know how the other person looks when flossing their teeth, how they leave their pants hanging on the door, how they slurp their coffee or that they fart in bed.
Perhaps at one time you thought these things cute but now, as time has gone by, they drive you nuts. They might even repel you.
Mutual respect is a key to any successful marriage. Your partner’s mannerisms or ways of doing things might not jive with your own and this can lead to developing a dislike of who they are. And if you don’t like someone it’s hard to respect them.
Have I mentioned yet the importance of communication?
Tell your partner that something they are doing is making it difficult for you to be with them. Don’t just write them off as a lost cause, thinking “if they loved me they would do this differently.” We are all human beings trying to do the best that we can and if you are honest with yourself you know that they aren’t doing any of those things to spite you. They just do them. And can change if asked. Nicely.
Give your partner a chance to keep your respect and allow them to keep respecting you in return.
And sex is way better when you respect your partner. In case you didn’t know.
#4 – Don’t let your extended family get in the way of your new one.
No matter how old we are when we get married, we have many years of experience and tradition with our extended families. Holidays spent just so, toilet paper rolls that roll out on top instead of under, sarcasm that is part of every family get together.