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.