However happy you are before the ceremony, there’s something about getting married that can rock the boat. Most couples wobble on honeymoon. Many find that once back home, things aren’t going as well as they did before the ceremony. A staggering one in two marriages are also set to fail.
So whether you’re a blushing bride or forty years down the road, how can you make your marriage work? The answer is to look at what effective couples do and apply their secrets to your relationship.
Secret 1: Successful Married Couples get their deal straight
Marriage is different from living together. It’s not necessarily better, but it’s different. Both of you will have different expectations of a ‘spouse’ than of a ‘partner’ – often basing those expectations on what you saw of your parents’ married life. For example, you may have been happy for your man to live the student life before the wedding, but afterwards, you expect him to draw a regular salary.
Successful couples talk deeply before the wedding about their expectations of each other, and if there’s serious disagreement – for example he wants kids, she doesn’t – they think seriously about whether to marry. After the wedding, successful couples also talk regularly to check their expectations of married life. If those expectations clash, they keep communicating until they have understanding and agreement.
Secret 2: Successful Married Couples keep their individuality
However independent you were before, marriage has a habit of sucking you in to being a couple.
Particularly if the marriage involves children, your lives are increasingly tied up together day-to-day. The result is often feeling both dependent and depended on – as though you have someone constantly clinging to your ankles.
Successful couples know that, however much love there is, marriage can bring this trapped feeling. They encourage each other not to be always ‘us’, to take ‘me’ time, to have ‘me’ hobbies and even ‘me’ friends. This way, each partner brings individuality in to the marriage, keeping it fresh and alive.