Lessons for Engaged Couples: Making a “happily-ever-after” that will last…..from a Couples Therapist
If you are newly engaged, congrats!! It is such an exciting time, but it can be stressful as you plan for the rest of your life. For years I’ve been a relationship counselor and have had the opportunity to see a lot of different couples. From pre-maritial couples looking to plan their big day, to couples who have been together for decades–they all want the same thing: a great relationship. I have found is that the sooner you get started, the better.
Throughout my work, I have gathered information about what makes couples successful.
I thought it would be useful to create a “cheat sheet” for newly engaged couples who are looking to pave the way for a successful marriage!
1) Set aside time for each other every single day.
Create a ritual at the beginning or the end of the day for just the two of you. Successful couples intentionally create time for each other and invest in one another again and again. Reminder – it’s important to silence your phones and turn off your TV to really connect during this shared time, if only for 20 minutes a day.
2) Communication is key.
Okay, now that you’re engaged your partner is expected to know your needs and your wants? Absolutely not. More then ever you need to make sure that you are communicating with your soon to be better half. Relationship experts John and Julie Gottman talk about the importance of building “love maps” in relationships. Knowing the small things about your partner (what kind of dessert do they like, what are their hobbies?) deepens intimacy and friendship and helps you to stay rooted during stressful times. Never stop being curious about your partner!
3) Have sex (and talk about sex!)
Schedule time for a romp if you find that you haven’t been connecting physically. The grass is greener where you water it, so it’s okay to set some time away for intimacy. Think it should be spontaneous? In the beginning stages of your relationship this may have been common but you’re in a different phase in your relationship cyclw now so it’s important to be intentional about making time for the two of you to connect on a physical level. Talk candidly about sex with your soon to be better half. How to you plan to sustain intimacy throughout your marriage? What are each of your sexual needs/desires? Be specific here. Couples who communicate about sex generally have better sex and intimacy then those who don’t.
4) Discuss finances.
If you haven’t already, sit down together and talk about money management. You may even want to meet with a financial planner to talk about setting collaborative goals. How do you plan to finance big-ticket items? Are you a saver or a spender? How do you feel about debt? Be open and real with each other about credit scores and existing debt.
5) Understand that you are marrying the person who they ARE, not who you want them to be.
Marriage doesn’t turn your partner into Prince Charming overnight. Love them without judgment and accept them for who they are. After all, that’s who you initially fell in love with to begin with! So many couples come to me wanting their partner to do things “their” way or change their annoying habits. It doesn’t work that way. Accept your partner for who they are (even the quirky parts). Criticism and judgment will chip away at your marriage.
For information about “pre-marital” counseling packages, contact 847-919-9096 or info@inspirecounseling center.com . Skype available for those outside of Chicago area.