So…you’re getting married and every day is going to be filled with birds singing and an endless love that fuels your day with sunshine and rainbows???? I promise you this will NOT be the case! Marriage is a beautiful thing... but it is “work”. I remember hearing that marriage is “work” before I got married, and I never understood this statement at all! How can loving my partner ever be work? We have so much fun and he makes me feel So special and SO loved! Marriage, I thought, was just going to be like having a never ending sleep over with my best friend and lover. I can hear the echoes of laughter as some of you read this. Well, you WILL have those moments, but there are some other moments that you will feel like you married the most annoying and idiotic person on Planet Earth. Having these"must haves" will get you through those rough times.
Great communication does not mean that you and your partner are talking nonstop every day, all day. It is about the quality of your talks not the quantity of your talks. Have you taken the time to get to know your partner’s fears, insecurities, and challenges? These are the things that are usually hidden and not talked about until it is too late. You must have talks that discuss the “good,bad and the ugly” because the reality is we don’t live in a land filled with unicorns and rainbows. Your partner WILL get on your nerves and likewise you will irritate them to no end, at times! You can rely on communication to get you through these moments. You must communicate about these topics to truly have acceptance of the things that make up the “bad and ugly” side of your partner.
Patience for Your Partner
It is SO easy to love your partner when they are doing everything right. They are loving, affectionate, thoughtful and spend time trying to make sure you are the happiest you have ever been! This may or may not be your reality every day. So, when you see your partner at their worst…. you must have patience. In life, you may potentially deal with job issues, problems with your children, sickness, money issues, etc. Can you be patient through those times and truly stand by each other? It is so important that you and your partner feel that you can endure these times without feeling like giving up on your relationship.
A “Fair Fight” Mentality
So we have established that we don’t live in the land of unicorns and rainbows. Now, I want you to recall the last argument you had with your partner. Did you really dig deep to say hurtful things or work overtime to be “right”? Conflict is a natural part of being in a relationship. You are not conjoined twins who think or act the same, so you will have times when those differences create a problem. You have to learn to “fight fair” in those moments and handle your difference of opinions constructively. You need to, in those moments, listen to hear their opinion and not just brace yourself for the moments you can jump in and give your side. Interrupting, yelling and name calling are so damaging to your relationship. Truly think, “is this battle even worth fighting”? If so, then you should speak in a way that gets your point across. After you both have calmed downed and your points are clear, validate with words that you understand what your partner is saying. From that point, let go and move forward without resentment or holding on to the argument. If you don’t, buckle up and prepare to have this battle over and over again. Picture the movies, "Groundhog Day" meets "War of the Roses"...not fun.
Lots and Lots of Trust
Do you have to do routine surveillance checks of your partner’s phone logs or social media interaction? If you do, then you are NOT ready to say, “I Do”. “Before you get married, your relationship must have trust," says Jane Greer, Ph.D., relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. Trusting your partner means they can go out with their friends and you are not obsessed with thoughts about what they may be doing. You must feel safe and secure when it comes to your partner. We live in a world full of temptation, in person and online, but someone who truly loves you will not put themselves in a position to bring you pain. If you have doubts or issues with trust, you must work on those issues before walking down that aisle. Where do these issues come from? Is it your past relationships and situations you faced with other people? Never make your current partner pay for the mistakes of people from your past. Identify that you have these issues and work on them before you pack up ALL of your old baggage and drag it into this new relationship.
Greer, J. What about Me?: Stop Selfishness from Ruining Your Relationship Sourcebooks Casablanca: November 2010