... Then Comes Marriage
Bride- and grooms-to-be often spend so much time planning for their “Big Day” that sometimes they forget that a marriage is really the many decades that come after.
Here, the relationship experts weigh in on the best ways to prepare for life (and keep the romance alive!) post “I do.”
Start with a focused heart-to-heart about your future. According to Lissa Coffey, Ph.D., host of the lifestyle & relationship advice website Coffeytalk, crucial topics to tackle include money, family, sex and, most importantly, how you handle conflict. “Come up with a plan for what to do when an issue arises and there’s no easy answer.”
If you’d like a little guidance while discussing these hot-button subjects, schedule a few sessions with your clergyperson or a premarital counselor.
Sweeties who are waiting until they’re hitched to cohabitate should also chat about a handful of practical issues – for example, morning and evening routines, or cooking and cleaning tendencies, says Coffey.
But remember that it’s OK to have some different habits. Appreciate quirks and cut each other some slack, says Rebecca Dolgin, executive editor for TheNest. It takes time for two personalities to learn how to live in tandem.
You should also remind yourself that a shared life means shared space. “Change your pronouns,” Dolgin advises. “It’s no longer ‘your couch.’ Instead, it’s ‘ours.’” Allow each person’s style and stuff to have a place in your home, and accept that it isn’t necessary to decorate your entire home overnight, she adds.
Couples who are already living together, on the other hand, can likely set aside décor discussions, but may want to plan out a few ways to make their marriage feel like something extra-special and new.
“Actually use your wedding gifts!” says Coffey. “Make waffles in your new wafflemaker, and bring out the fancy china to celebrate being together.”
Dolgin also recommends having a weekly date night, whether that means going to a concert, exploring a new part of town or staying in to watch movies, as well as treating your spouse to sweet surprises, such as bringing him a homemade lunch or leaving a love note in her bag.
Once the years begin to pass, keep the romance alive by prioritizing time to rev each other’s engines, says Dolgin. Take a bubble bath together or have a picnic in bed with strawberries and champagne, and then leave your spouse a note that reads: “Last night was one of the best since our honeymoon.”
Dolgin also notes that maintaining your appearance is key to maintaining romance, so eat well, exercise, dress nicely and keep up on shaving, manicures/pedicures and haircuts.
In addition, keep the excitement alive by finding ways to learn and grow together, says Coffey. Whether it’s traveling to new places, taking a cooking class, or tackling new challenges like running a marathon, the goal is working together and finding fulfillment as a team.
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