Marriage is something that many people have dreamed of since they were little children. Although it is an exciting and significant event in one's life, it is far from the only life-changing and life-changing event. As a result, it's best if you don't hurry down to the altar. Even if you've been with your significant other for years, if not decades, this is real.
“Marriage changes everything,” says life coach and author Sarah E Stewart, M.S.W., C.P.C. “You go from being all about me to being all about us,” she says, emphasizing the importance of not losing yourself in the process. How are you going to make sure you don't do it? To begin, check off this list of experiences that will help you mentally, emotionally, and physically prepare for a successful and long-lasting marriage.
Date and Have Relationships
Although not everyone has the opportunity to spend time with other people before saying "I do," relationship experts agree that it can be extremely helpful in determining who is right for you and who is not. Dawn Michael, Ph.D., clinical sexologist, relationship specialist, and author, says, "When you finally get hitched, this will be the one thing you are grateful you don't have to do again, but it is a process that I believe we should all go through." A couple and family psychotherapist, Fran Walfish, Psy.D., agrees, adding that having partnership experience and a baseline of comparison gives you a point of comparison when it comes to your potential spouse.
Live by Yourself or With Roommates
If you’ve been dating your S.O. since college, it might make sense to just move on in together post-graduation, but this may likely be your only chance to ever have lived separately as adults. Stewart explains, "Living alone teaches you so many things." “You learn how to be financially and emotionally independent—paying all of your bills gives you a sense of accomplishment and spending a few weekends and weekday nights alone gives you strength.”
Be financially self-sufficient
Getting a firm grip of your own finances, similar to being able to live on your own, would go a long way toward making you feel ready to marry. “Whether you have a profession or a well-paying job, being financially stable means you will not marry because you feel compelled to,” Stewart says. “You are valuable.” This also means that if you break up or divorce for whatever reason, you will be able to stand on your own two feet.
Engage in a heated argument with your fiancé.
Experts believe that knowing how your partner approaches conflict before getting married is crucial to a happy marriage. “Even the happiest, most compatible couples,” says Dr. Walfish, “have occasional disputes, misunderstandings, and differences of opinion.” “You need to know that your partner is able to engage in open contact without defensive postures, and that your partner has self-examination skills and accountability capacity.” To put it another way, you don't want to marry someone who will constantly blame you for their problems.
Travel Around the World
Before you get married, if you haven't had (or taken) the chance to see and experience the beautiful world around you, now is the time. Of course, you can and will travel with your future partner, but getting the experience of traveling alone or with friends on your own time—experiences that you can carve out for yourself and determine what they mean to you as a person—can help solidify who you are. Dr. Michael states that traveling with a partner changes after you marry, and the places you visit will be decided together. Now is the time to take advantage of your rights and be completely selfish with your travel plans.
Develop a Passive Income Stream or Two hobbies
According to Stewart, not only make you more interesting, but they also give you your own time and space, which will come in handy when you start dating. Finding an outlet to express yourself and alleviate anxiety and stress in your life, whether it's running, reading, writing, yoga, or meditation, will make you a stronger partner and a happier person overall.
Create a Strong Support System
According to Marissa Nelson, L.M.F.T., a licensed marriage and family therapist, getting married changes your social circle because you have less time to spend with the girls and are adapting to married life. “You and your husband can find that you entertain and go out together, probably with other couples, so it's important to nurture your friendships with your good friends.”
Stop Sharing Every Detail of Your Relationship With Others
When you first met or began dating, you might have told your friends and family everything there was to know about your new S.O. However, now that you're serious, it's important to maintain and protect the relationship's integrity. “When you're angry, no more Facebook rants or vague quotes about a battle you're having, and no more asking all of your mates for consensus about whether you're right or wrong in an argument,” Nelson advises. “What happens in your marriage is sacred, and what happens in your marriage must remain in your marriage.” Instead, she recommends venting to a trustworthy best friend or finding a therapist with whom you can confide and develop skills to be a better partner and deal with conflict.
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