It’s time for a change of pace. It’s easy to get swept up in planning your wedding. Of course the day matters. You want it to be a celebration of your love and future together and a time to bring together all your friends and family. But no matter how large or small your wedding is, how elaborate or simple, there’s one single thing that’s at the heart of it.

Your marriage. Not your wedding, but your actual marriage. When your brand new husband carries you over the threshold, your whole life is going to change. It is going to be the two of you and your relationship should be far more important than just one day.

So what can you do to ensure that you have a happy marriage as well as an amazing wedding?

Respect each other
Don’t make us sing Aretha Franklin at you. But respect is a huge part of being in a happy marriage and it comes in many forms. Respect your partner and their beliefs, respect what they do for a living, respect that sometimes they want to eat cold pizza at 3am. Don’t put them down because of something they’ve done or said, or worse just because you’re in a bad mood. Instead, do the exact opposite. Compliment your partner and treat them the way you’d want them to treat you. Test yourself and start by offering five compliments every day, from small things to bigger things. You will notice a difference!

Spend time together
Remember what drew you to your partner in the first place and what made those weekends together go by in a minute. Prioritise spending time together and try to limit interruptions. Find something that suits the two of you. Go skydiving, have a lively debate about what’s on TV or go out for dinner. If there’s something your partner loves that you don’t, try and take a genuine interest in it. Even nuclear physics can be interesting when it’s explained by someone passionate about it. Chances are his interests will be too!

Spend time apart
Don’t be one of those couples that are joined at the hip. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but this doesn’t apply when you haven’t seen your girlfriends in six months. Having that time apart is good for you. It helps you to create balance in your life and it promises that when you do spend time together, you’ll value it. And who doesn’t want to get excited to see their partner?

Talk (and listen)
You want to be able to talk to your partner. And not about whether you’ve put the dishwasher on or what’s for dinner. You want to be able to have laugh until you cry conversations about nothing at all as well as talk about what matters. For ten minutes every day, pretend that all the housework is done, that dinner’s on the table and you don’t have any cares in the world. Talk about whatever comes to mind, but make sure you keep it positive and fun. Conversations like this, no matter how silly or random they might seem to start, can help to remind you why you’re with your partner. They will spark those memories of when you were getting to know each other and create an emotional connection. Plus, no matter how long you’ve been together, there’s always something new to learn.

Create rituals
Nope, we’re not about to get all spiritual on you. But everyone is prone to developing habits and this is one way your habits can be a good thing! If it’s having a glass of wine together before dinner, going away every three months for a weekend or calling each other to say what you had for lunch, rituals are important. They can help bind your relationship together as they create emotional connection and intimacy. This is also important as your relationship progresses and there’s a family in the picture. It sets the standard of time and space for just the two of you.

Don’t keep score
Think of it this way. When your marriage lasts the rest of your life that is a lot of score keeping. It’s a lot of rights and wrongs and apologies and even the most diligent of you out there is going to lose track. So why bother? When a fight is over, it’s over. When someone has apologised, it’s done. In a marriage, you’re going to see the best of someone, but you’re also going to see the bad things. Don’t keep track, because there’s no benefit. Instead, it will make you focus on the negative and can breed resentment. Which definitely doesn’t have a place in a happy marriage.

Say I Love You
Because you do. And you should say it. They might just be three words, but they are three very important words. If you doubt that, think back to the first time you said it to each other. Instant butterflies right?

Don’t forget intimacy
It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day. It happens and there’s nothing sexy about it. But there should be. Things might have changed from the heady first days of dating, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be some action. Many people will suggest setting aside some time every week, but we don’t think that’s necessary. Just be open to the idea of sex and don’t put pressure on yourself.

Be supportive
Sometimes things suck. Work sucks. Your family sucks. Your friends suck. We get it. The truth is, that even your partner is going to suck sometimes. But that’s not the point. Sometimes, bad things are going to happen and it’s your role to be there. Offer advice if you need to just be there to listen to each whine and gripe and work together to come up with a plan of how to improve things. It should be the two of you against the world, so fight together in the most super hero way you can find. After all, every super hero has a sidekick.

Be friends
We’re not saying that everyone out there should marry their best friend. Your partner and your best friend give you completely different things, but there’s an element of truth in the old idea. You want to be friends with the person you marry. Friends make you laugh and they have your back and know you better than most people. Plus, you like spending time with them and look forward to seeing them. Why shouldn’t you want that with your partner?

Posted in Ever After, Expert Advice, Planning by wedded wonderland

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