I LOVE working with couples who are preparing to say I do.

It’s refreshing to see couples who see they need to do more planning for their marriage while they are planning their wedding. Many get caught up in the thrill of engagement and wedding stuff, that they loose sight of all the things that go into having a successful marriage.

One of the questions I process with engaged couples is: “What are your expectations for marriage?”
The answers to this question helps couples get on the same page about what the vision of life together will be. It gives us the chance to look at possible problem areas and try to resolve them before they blow up into an issue.

Here are a couple things to keep in mind as you look at your expectations for marriage:

  •  Couples figure out quickly that “Happily ever after” isn’t realistic. Each person needs to contribute to working on the relationship on a steady basis, and even then it’s important to expect some difficult times and struggles.
  • Most couples come into the relationship with hidden expectations of what married life will be like, which they often have never communicated to each other directly. Be realistic in your marital expectations, and don’t expect perfection.
  • Recognize that relationships go through different phases. The excitement and over-the-top feelings of enmeshment from the beginning days of the relationship gradually transform to a deeper connection and a different type of love.
  • Accept the fact that you are married to (or marrying) a human being who is flawed and imperfect, which means there will be disappointments and difficulties along the way.
  • Levels of intimacy, passion, and commitment are constantly shifting in marriage from time to time. The important part is to be aware of this and be open to talking about it with each other. If you begin your marriage with a realistic mindset that you will commit to working through issues and tough times that arise, your marriage will be stronger and more likely to succeed.

Marriage is an amazing thing! Make sure you are setting it up to being healthy and fulfilling for each other by having realistic expectations. If you are getting married soon, I highly recommend you going through a thorough assessment with a therapist to talk through some hard topics that will save you from difficulty down the road. Set your marriage up for success!