The royal wedding is less than a week away. We can’t get enough news about the wedding. We want to know about the location, who are the people invited, what Kate Middleton is going to wear. This is the fairy tale that all girls want to see. Every girl reads fairy tales where the prince saves the woman, and when she gets older, the same message is reinforced through romantic comedies, where love conquers all things. Women learn that love is enough to make it all work.
We spend a lot of time planning the wedding day, the flowers, the venue, the food, and everything else that goes along with the ceremony. The wedding fever is now a $40-billion-a-year business. The wedding shows like Say Yes To The Dress and My Fair Wedding place more pressure on the details of the wedding than the relationship. We spend more time preparing for the wedding day than we do preparing to live the rest of our lives together.
The number # 1 mistake we make is to believe that we will build a solid relationship by being “In-Love.” Being in love is an emotional and obsessive experience. Emotions change, and obsessions fade. Research has shown that the life span of the “in-love” obsession is two years. For some, maybe be a bit longer, for other couples a bit less. After we come off of the in-love rush our differences begin to emerge. The in-love experience runs out, couples fall out of love, and at that point they either withdraw, separate, divorce; and they set off in search for a new in-love experience.
So how can you set a good and solid foundation for your relationship? And if you have been married for a while, how can you improve and enrich your relationship with your spouse? These are the top 4 things you must know to ensure a lasting, loving marriage.
1. You Must Know How To Solve Disagreements. No one ever warned us that conflicts are a normal part of every marriage. There are no married couples that do not encounter conflicts, for one simple reason – we are unique individuals. We have different desires, different likes and dislikes, and different things that irritate and please us. We have to accept the reality that we will have conflicts. Conflicts are not a sign that you married the wrong person – just a confirmation that your partner is human. The key thing in solving disagreement is listening to each other. Create time to just listen to your partner. Then repeat back what you heard your partner say. Then share your thought and allow your partner to then listen and repeat back what you said. This exercise creates an atmosphere of friendship and you are setting the stage for problem solving.
After you have heard and affirmed each other’s ideas, you are now ready to look for a solution to the conflict. Finding the solution means “compromise.” Here are three approaches for compromising:
“Meeting in the Middle.” You can find a meeting place by agreeing to do a part of what each of you desired while each of you also sacrifices a bit.
“Meeting on Your Side.” This means that after you hear each other’s ideas and feelings, one of you decides that on this occasion, it is best to do what the other has in mind.
“Meeting Later.” This approach says, “At the moment, I am not able to agree with your idea, and I don’t see a place to meet in the middle. Can we just agree that for the moment, we disagree on this? And we will discuss it again in a week or month, and look for a solution. In the meantime, we will love each other, enjoy each other, and support each other. After a while, things may look different or new possibilities may come to mind.
2. You Have To Discuss Finances And Develop a Financial Plan. The first stone for the foundation is to agree that after marriage, it will no longer be “my money,” and “your money,” but “our money.” Together you have the responsibility to develop a plan to repay your debts. If you are not ready to share your financial life, you are not ready for marriage. The next step in developing a financial plan is to agree on a percentage of income that you will save, give away, and spend. A simple formula you can use is 10-10-80. You can agree to save 10 percent of your combined income, set 10 percent aside for charity, and the 80 percent can be divided among the mortgage, utilities, insurance, furniture, food, clothes, transportation, medicine, recreation, etc.
3. You Need To Know That Mutual Sexual Satisfaction Does Not Happen Automatically. You probably never anticipated problems in this area. You believe that the two of you have a high level of sexual attraction for each. What more could you need? You thought that this part of marriage was going to be heaven for the two of you. After the wedding, you discover that what is heaven for one may be hell for the other. How much do we really know about male and female sexualities?
While men tend to focus on intercourse, women focus on relationship. If the two of you are fighting and arguing, the female will find it very hard to be interested in sex. Men think that intercourse will fix all the problems. A wife may say: “He speaks to me with intense anger, and thirty minutes later, he says he is sorry and asks if we can make love.” For women sex begins in kitchen, not the bedroom. If he speaks her love language, she is far more open to having sex.
Also, you should know that foreplay is more important than the actual act of intercourse itself for most women. It is the tender touches and kisses of foreplay that bring her to the point of desiring sex. Without sufficient foreplay, the woman may feel violated. And sex is more than intercourse. Sex is a bonding experience. It is the union of body, soul, and spirit.
Finally, communication is the key that unlocks sexual fulfillment. The only way we can learn what is pleasurable to the other is to listen as they choose to talk. We are not mind readers! Ask, “What can I do or not do that would make the sexual part of the relationship better for you?”
4. You Need To Understand That You Are Marrying Into The Family. If you think that after the wedding it would be just the two of you, you are wrong. You are marrying into the family, for better or for worse. When we get married, we become part of an extended family. And life will be much easier if we can have a positive relationship with this extended family. Your relationship with each of these individuals depends on the opportunities you have to interact with each other. Take time to listen to the family, learn to negotiate, and learn their love languages.
Reference: Chapman, G. (2010). Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married. Northfield Publishing, Chicago, Il.
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