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Posted on 04/08/2022

5 Things to Know Before Getting Married

5 Things to Know Before Getting Married

If you're engaged or are considering engagement, you're probably feeling an overwhelming mix of nerves and excitement. Marriage is likely the biggest commitment you'll make in your lifetime. You're getting ready to share your whole life with someone else, and this is no small feat. While you might be tired of hearing advice from married friends or family members, it still is essential that you learn what to expect from marriage. No two couples have exactly the same story, but there are some common patterns and experiences that you should prepare for.

Here are five things you should know before you get married:

1. Marriage is work.

One of the most difficult ideas for many people to accept as they enter a long-term relationship or marriage is that this level of commitment requires an intense amount of work. You and your spouse are living together, making financial decisions together, and sharing virtually every aspect of your lives together. There will be times that one of you frustrates the other, and there will be times where you don't see eye-to-eye on important issues.

Loving your partner shouldn't feel like a chore, but you should expect to put work into communicating, resolving issues, and maintaining the deep affection you had for one another in the honeymoon stage. If you sit back and hope that your marriage thrives without putting effort into improving yourself and strengthening the relationship, you will end up disappointed. In a healthy marriage, both spouses are willing to put in the work because they realize that the benefits of the partnership are worth it.


2. You and your spouse should be best friends.

Marriages succeed when the spouses are best friends in addition to being romantic partners. For many people, their marriage is their main source of overall companionship. Not only should you love your partner, but you should also like them. When you get to come home after work to spend time with your best friend, you'll feel incredibly fulfilled in the relationship.

You and your partner should support each other the way you'd support a best friend, too. Root for each other to win, and celebrate every success. Tell your partner that you're proud of them and that you believe in them. If you are your spouse's best friend and biggest fan, you'll lay the groundwork for a healthy and supportive marriage.


3. The honeymoon phase does go away.

Although some couples say that they're still in the honeymoon stage after decades of marriage, the overwhelming excitement and anxiety about your relationship will most likely fade after one or two years. This doesn't mean that you love your partner any less, though. All it means is that the chemicals in your brain that make you feel intensely in love with your partner will start to decrease. The human brain simply can't handle the overwhelming emotions of the honeymoon phase forever as it's a distraction from other important activities. The genuine and long-lasting love you have for your partner, however, does not go away.

You might not get butterflies anymore or stay up all night thinking about them, but this is a completely normal way to settle into a long-term relationship. Don't try to force the honeymoon phase to last forever, and don't worry if your most intense romantic feelings fade. If you still love and support your partner and feel loved and supported by them, you're probably doing just fine.


4. Your partner's family will become your family.

Some people are blessed with wonderful in-laws who welcome them into the family with open arms. Unfortunately, others struggle to connect and feel truly accepted by their partner's family. No matter the dynamic between you and your future in-laws, though, they will officially be your family when you get married.

This can mean that you're gaining an excellent support system, or it can mean that you're inheriting the stress or dysfunction of a challenging family. If you're worried about your relationship with your in-laws, you have to communicate with your partner about it. This can be an uncomfortable conversation, but an open dialogue about expectations and boundaries for both of your families is key before marriage.


5. Change happens, but you can't force it.

The idea of change is complicated in a marriage. After being with your partner for many years, you can expect that both of you will change quite a bit. As our environments, circumstances, and inner values change, we all become different people over time. For your marriage to succeed, you need to be willing to acknowledge and embrace the changes in yourself, your spouse, and your relationship.

At the same time, you should never expect that the things you want to change will change. For example, if your partner does not want to have kids, you should not go into the marriage thinking that they'll change their mind eventually. If they struggle with addiction or another mental health issue, expect that it will be a lifelong battle. While change is a part of life, people rarely change in a predictable or controllable way.

The more informed and prepared you feel going into your marriage, the better. Reflect on yourself, your relationship, your values, and your goals are you look ahead to your marriage. Communicate with your partner about every little thing, and take your time with major life decisions. Your marriage can be the most meaningful source of love, support, and companionship you could ever imagine, but you and your spouse have to work hard to keep it healthy.

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