Marriage is one of the biggest commitments you’ll make in a lifetime. The essence of marriage is that it is a covenant, a commitment, a promise of future love, and as with any big commitment, it’s best to be prepared as fully and completely as possible.
There are also some specific things that all partners should experience together before they actually decide to go into it for long haul. So let’s take a look at 11 things which you should experience before getting married.
1. Travel Together
As someone who has traveled a lot, both on my own and with my former partner, I think it’s essential to travel with your partner before you get married. When we travel, we step out of our comfort zones, and in doing so, we reveal to our partner a different side of ourselves. You can to see how each other reacts when they’re stressed, lost, or when you’ve missed the last train back from Pompeii and are basically stuck in the middle of nowhere.
2. Have a pet together
If you’re marrying someone, chances are you might want a family too someday. Start small – get a cat or a dog. If you disagree over which brand of pet food they eat and whether the animal can go on the bed, imagine the wars you will have over baby rules.
3. Experience a financial stress
We’re not advising anyone to get into debt, but have a tricky month where things are a bit difficult. Money worries are the top reason for marriage breakdowns so you need to practise how you will overcome these things as a team first.
4. Work Together To Become Skilled Communicators
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When you can both share your feelings honestly and clearly ask for what you need, the marriage is more likely to last. When you can do all this, you’re setting yourself up for a long and happy marriage.
5. Discuss Family Planning
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Having a child changes your life. Talk about if and when you want to have children. Making sure you are in agreement ahead of time will save a lot of potential problems down the road.
6. Acknowledge Your Shortcomings
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None of us are the perfect partner. Many of us didn’t have the best role models growing up for how to have a happy and successful marriage, either. So acknowledge where you fall a little short or could improve as a partner. Then make a commitment to work at getting better in this area.
7. Make Peace With Each Other’s Friends And Families
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Marriage is one of life’s most challenging relationships. It’s important to have a network of supportive family and friends with whom you can share marital joys and challenges. That being said, if you have not already, try to make peace with your partner’s friends and family ― at least as much as is within your control. You are not marrying them, but your partner finds them to be important. It is a gift to your partner for you to encourage their relationships and for you to be interested and involved with the other people in their life.
8. Set Weekly Marriage Meetings Even Before The Wedding
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Start having weekly marriage meetings while you’re still engaged. Weekly marriage meetings are short, gentle conversations with a simple, loosely structured agenda that includes expressing appreciation, coordinating responsibilities, planning for dates and other fun times and discussing concerns. The meetings foster more intimacy, romance, teamwork and a smoother handling of issues. Instead of holding grudges or drifting apart, couples who hold marriage meetings get to reconnect every week and prevent small concerns from growing into crises.
9. Address The Hot-button Topic That Is Finances
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Establishing a plan and agreeing on money management can prevent a lot of potential disagreements down the road. Many couples join their finances once married, while others keep individual accounts. Transparency is critical when it comes to money in a marriage. Financial health is a reflection of the health of your relationship and how well you communicate and function as a team.
10. Don’t Ignore The Difficult Issues
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All couples have challenges and problems they have to face. Happy marriages aren’t any different, but what makes these couples different is that they address their issues as opposed to ignoring them or pretending they don’t exist.
11. Go To Premarital Counseling
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Some couples are hesitant to go because they think they do not have issues, or are afraid that counseling will dredge up issues that they didn’t know existed. By going to premarital counseling, you can clarify, with the help of a trained professional, the expectations for the marriage and agreements on when to seek outside help. Think of premarital counseling as a preventative ‘check-up’ for your marriage, where you can return in the future if the relationship needs attention.