relationship advice for couples getting married
Will you marry me? Probably no other question turns the lives of two people as much as this one. And should the question be answered with yes, the wedding machinery is already rolling: send invitation cards, choose a dress, buy rings, rehearsal dinner, book honeymoon. With all planning, one loses the most important question but mostly out of sight: Will we be happy? Because whether one leads a decades-long, contented marriage or belongs to the third that divorces, does not depend on how spectacular the own wedding celebration becomes.
The New York Times talked to several leading couples therapists and relationship experts about the secrets of a happy marriage. Her insights have flown into 13 questions couples should face before marriage – including how to plan a child, how to deal with debt, how to affect the partner’s parents, and how important sex is to the relationship.
1. How does your family behave when they quarrel? Does it throw plates at them, do they talk quietly, or do they just seal the Scots?
How much our family and upbringing shape us is also reflected in how we deal with conflict, says couple consultant Peter Pearson. Therefore, it is worth taking a closer look at how one’s own parents and siblings or those of the partner deal with one another in disputes, because for a relationship it is essential to survive how one deals with differences. Are disagreements discussed on an equal footing or does one party start to sulk early and bang the doors? These findings can provide many clues to one’s own behavior.
2. Will we have children, and if so, will you change the diapers?
“When it comes to having children or not, it’s important not to just say what the partner wants to hear,” says Debbie Martinez, who advises couples on marriage issues and divorces. Before the wedding, the topic should therefore be discussed honestly and in detail. Do you want children at all? If yes, how many? At what point in time, and how does everyone imagine his or her role as a parent? If you clarify these questions in advance, there are fewer unpleasant surprises afterwards.
3. Will the experiences we have with our ex-partners help or hinder us?
Talking about ex-partners is always such a thing. On the one hand, of course, one is curious and wants to know more about the previous life of the partner. On the other hand, the findings could also provide for frustrations or inferiority complexes. People are very hesitant when it comes to their own past, says Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. An investigation found that people who had many serious relationships are more likely to divorce and, statistically, lead more miserable marriages.
There are several causes for this. So you are experienced after many relationships when it comes to separations, also tends to compare the current partner with former liaisons – usually to his detriment. The best way out is to have a “deep, productive conversation” and to accept that the partner had a life ahead of you.
4. How important is religion to us? And how are we going to celebrate religious holidays?
If both partners have different religious backgrounds, couples should be aware of whether and how everyone lives up to their beliefs. Much more relevant, however, is the question in which beliefs one educates the children. “It’s helpful to have a plan in this matter,” says couple therapist Robert Scuka.
5. Are my debts also your debts? Would you help me out?
Then of course there is the point of contention money. Of course, both partners should know about each other’s financial situation, especially if there is debt. Couples should also be aware of whether everyone wants to be economically independent or whether there is a common account. And if both incomes are extremely different, one should also talk about this fact. In such a case, it might be helpful to set a kind of compensation for both sides, which would be equivalent to a proportional income, Scuka recommends.
6. How much money would you spend on a car, sofa or shoes?
Couples should largely agree on financial matters. If one financial security is important, the other speculates full of risk-taking, dispute is inevitable. A good indicator of whether you have common ideas is the purchase of a car, says divorce lawyer Frederick Hertz.
7. Can you live with it when I do things without you?
In a marriage, one wants to strengthen the relationship with the partner, but at the same time remain independent. This can be about a circle of friends or hobbies that you pursue without the partner. This is good for you, but it can offend your partner and cause tension, says relationship expert Seth Eisenberg. Also, the different expectations in terms of privacy, you should clarify early.
8. Do you like my parents?
To have a good marriage in the long run, it is essential to have a good relationship with the partner’s parents – or at least to be consistent in case of discrepancies. On the other hand, if one partner does not take the other’s problems seriously, that would be a “bad condition for a healthy long-term relationship,” says Robert Scuka.
9. How important is sex to us?
Sex is an essential part of a good marriage. So that there is no lull in bed or one (or both) is not unhappy, one should speak openly and honestly about sexual preferences and ideas. This affects both how, and how often. “If different things are hoped for, you may have to negotiate, so that in the end
10. How far can we go flirting with other people? And is it okay if I watch porn?
It is very important that both spouses know what is allowed in the relationship – and what not, marries the marriage minister Marty Klein. Everybody has to decide where the border runs. For some, the harmless pub flirtation is taboo, for others, sex with strangers is no problem. One should also talk about the consumption of pornography in order to nip quarrels in the bud.
11. Do you know all my ways of saying “I love you”?
That you love the other, should be clear in a marriage. Nevertheless, it does not hurt to let the partner know regularly. On the other hand, there is sometimes some confusion about the way things are done. Couples therapist Debbie Martinez has a tip here as well: She first differentiates between five categories of expression of love – verbal confirmation, time spent together, gifts, small pleasures or physical closeness. Both should indicate in a questionnaire, in which two ways they prefer to show love to their partner, then they should mark, which chooses the partner probably. This little experiment can quickly clear up misunderstandings. Maybe the partner says “I love you” more often than you think – just in a different way.
12. What do you like about me, and do you know what makes me crazy?
Especially at the beginning of a relationship everything is rosy, the partner acts like a soulmate. “It’s just a click,” is the motto of couples, says Anne Klaeysen, who holds a leadership position in the New York Society for Ethical Culture . Unfortunately, it is not quite that easy, according to the expert: “Ideally, a marriage is a lifelong promise, so a ‘click’ is not enough.” Therefore one should also ask oneself how to react when the phase of admiration finally subsides – and how willing one is to work on the relationship.
13. Where do you see us in ten years?
He just does not want to go on a winter holiday, she can not stand his brother’s new girlfriend: even in the best marriages, couples sometimes bother about everyday trifles. It is important that both have the long-term goal in mind, says relationship expert Eisenberg. both partners are satisfied.”