People are strange creatures. We often prefer to learn from our own mistakes. At work and in our family lives we are sometimes left feeling bruised. Later, looking back on events, we often see that we could have done things quite differently. The author of this article shares her hard won experience of what all couples should make sure they know before they start to think about tying the knot.
1. Unconditional and unending love for your partner just doesn’t happen in the real world.
Your other half isn’t your child. This person is your partner, someone you’re ready to spend the rest of your life with. There is no guarantee that you will love this person every day, month or year, any more than there is a guarantee that he will do the same.
When our relationship came into difficulties, I began to worry that our marriage would fail. What sense was there talking about love when we had treated each other so badly?
A family psychotherapist explained to us there is no such thing as eternal love as it is impossible to stay constantly at the peak of feelings and emotions. Then something clicked in my head; we can stay together and be a happy family even if we’re not burning with love. It’s true we’ll have to stay attractive to each other and work on our relationship even after 5, 10 or 15 years of marriage.
2. The first two years after the birth of the first child can be the most difficult period. Don’t let this time set the pattern for your relationship in later years.
Of course having a child is one of the greatest joys of married life. However, at the same time, it is a difficult and trying period; your whole life and everyday routines are turned upside down, you don’t get enough sleep and even your thought processes begin to change.
Everyone advises you to pay attention to your relationship with your partner, but this is not easy. Yet it is very, very important not to let this difficult period form a pattern for your relations in future married life. Don’t allow your wounded feelings to overcome you; calmly discuss problems as they come up and learn patience. Accept help and support from family and friends and try to be understanding. In no circumstances allow your future relationship to be founded on grievances and anger.
3. You won’t always have an active sex life.
However much you love sex, there won’t be as much of it as you would like. Sooner or later you will find that your libidos are out of kilter. Unfortunately, there is no hot tip which can help you resolve this situation, but one thing is clear; cooling sexual relations are a problem for both of you.
You are not obliged to have sex when you don’t want to, but try to do as much as possible to arouse your desire; go to a psychotherapist, read love stories or exchange sexy pictures. Use your imagination and don’t give up.
If you are the one whose sex drive is stronger, on no account resort to blackmail as that will only make the situation worse. The best thing you can do is find intimacy in other everyday things. Сuddle up while watching films, cook together, call each other more often and make more physical contact- these moments are very important, they are what life is made of.
4. Don’t forget to do little things to lift your partner’s mood.
This doesn’t always mean presents, flowers or fantastic sex, although sometimes it might. Call him your sweetheart and say how happy you are to hear his voice. You could buy him his favorite cookies on the way home, just to give him a nice surprise.
This may all sound a bit soppy. Personally I grew up in a strict family, where tender words were seldom said, but if something will brighten your other half’s day, why not do it? Now I enjoy expressing my feelings and sharing them with him. A happy marriage is made up of thousands of happy moments. So if a romantic thought comes to your mind, don’t stop; go through with it. You won’t regret it.
5. Never act as if you don’t want to work on improving your relationship.
The truth is that no matter how much effort one partner puts into solving one problem or another in the marriage, no matter how many courses of therapy they go to, no marriage can survive without a joint effort.
In most failed marriages only one partner tried to save the relationship while the other person did nothing. Maybe no-one taught this person how to take action. Maybe they didn’t want to invest anything in the marriage. In any event they simply gave up.
There is another, more worrying truth. Sometimes you have to show patience and let your partner drift, allowing him to catch you up at a later date. Sometimes you’ll do too much work and sometimes he will, but overall the balance will be equal. However you look at it, if only one oarsman is rowing, your boat will only go in circles and get nowhere.
6. Never argue about whether going to work or staying at home with the baby is harder.
Don’t even start this discussion; there can be no winner here. Both of you do all sorts of things that the other just can’t see. Both of you are working tooth and nail. You may express your dissatisfaction if some problems come up which seem to fall solely on your shoulders, but try to help each other. Don’t aggravate things by arguing about who does the most. Value the work of your partner, even if the results don’t seem obvious to your own eyes. Say thank you to him. Right now.