I LOVE working with couples who are preparing to say I do.
It’s refreshing to see couples who see they need to plan for their marriage while they are planning their wedding. Many get caught up in the thrill of engagement and wedding stuff and lose sight of what goes into having a successful marriage.
One of the questions I ask engaged couples is: “What are your expectations for marriage?”
The answers to this question will help couples get on the same page. It casts a vision of their life together. It also gives us the chance to look at possible problem areas and create ways to prevent 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. 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. These are often 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’re marrying a flawed and imperfect human being. This means there will be disappointments and difficulties along the way.
- Levels of intimacy, passion, and commitment are constantly shifting in marriage. The important part is to be aware of this and be open to talking about it with each other. When you commit to working through issues and tough times, 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 of marriage. I highly recommend you going through a thorough assessment with a therapist before you say ‘I Do’. Talking through some hard topics now will save you from difficulty down the road. Set your marriage up for success!