Everything seems wonderful when you’re engaged and preparing to get married. Here are four relationship skills to keep it that way.
You may have only been dating a short time, or you may have dated for years before taking the plunge. You may have lived together, or you may not live together until you get married. Either way, you are at the height of your bliss together, and you can’t wait to start your lives together. Here are four skills to master for a long and happy life together.
1. Good Communication
Good communication is essential to a healthy marriage. If you don’t know how to communicate well, you will cause fissures to form in your relationship that will eventually become cracks and then gaping holes. But communication problems can be fixed in most cases.
What we’re talking about when we say “fail to communicate” is failing to talk about the big things: Your values, your goals for life, your vision for the marriage. In most cases, these are things that will come out while you’re dating, but not always. You can’t assume that your partner wants to have children just because she never said that she didn’t. You should talk about whether you want to have children and how many, where you want to live, how you’ll spend your money, whether you want aging parents to live with you, and so on. Other issues to address include monogamy, alone and family time, friendships, and jobs.
2. Know how to budget
Financial issues are at the top of the list for why couples fight. Financial arguments routinely lead to the demise of a marriage. Overspending at any point in your relationship can lead to serious financial problems that will be a burden on your marriage and cause regular fights and resentment.
You are very likely to overspend before you get married – on the wedding. In fact, you could end up thousands of dollars in debt before you officially begin your lives together. Many couples feel they should “splurge” because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event. But once all the dancing and revelry is over, they find themselves working all the time and eking by as they pay off their debt. Their quality of life is much lower, and they will end up stressed and fighting all the time.
3. Getting along with In-Laws
Your relationship with your in-laws is never going to be perfect. No relationship is. No one has to try to be best friends with their mother-in-law or try to hang out every weekend with their brother-in-law. But poor relationships with the in-laws will lead to serious trouble with your marriage. At first, the problems will be a source for squabbling or regular fights, but they will eventually breed resentment and contempt.
Little problems may not seem like a big deal right now, but they will be later. For example, your future mother-in-law might feel hurt that you don’t include her in the wedding planning, but you think that she’s being too pushy and trying to take over your big day. Your fiancé just wants you both to get along. Over the years, that bad blood may get worse. Your mother-in-law may continue to think that you don’t make an effort with her, and you may continue to think that she’s intrusive and pushy. Your husband may feel caught in the middle, and he may resent you both for a perceived lack of effort or fault.
Pick your battles. Let things go that don’t really matter, and do what you can to bolster your relationships. Having a good relationship with your in-laws will help you have a better relationship with your spouse.
4. Be Honest
Lying is something that many can forgive but that most will be able to forget. If you show an ability to lie even once or even about small things, your partner is likely to be wary of things you say or do, knowing that you have broken trust before.
Honesty is king. It is much better to explain yourself and deal with the argument or ask for forgiveness than it is to betray your beloved’s trust. You may not be able to ever fully win back that trust again – and that spells doom for your marriage.
Things that happen before you are married may seem small and insurmountable, but they aren’t always so. The memory of some things can linger and cause doubt and resentment to fester. Some things, like overspending, can just compound and grow into bigger problems during your marriage. It is important that you give the present just as much importance as your future when you are making decisions. Your future happiness depends on what you do now.