There is so much to learn and experience through marriage, from the moment you say “I do.” Over the decades, you will learn more about yourself, one another, and the dynamics of marriage than anyone could ever tell you. Still, it’s helpful to understand certain aspects of this incredible relationship in order to set your expectations before you get married.
Whether you’re dating, engaged, or planning to marry someday, there are a few essential tips you need to know before you walk down the aisle. These simple tips will make all the difference in how you experience this new chapter in your life, so let’s jump right into it.
1. Marriage will be different than you expect it to be.
Humans have the incredible ability to visualize, in vivid detail, how their future dreams will unfold–and that includes their marriages. It’s so easy to dream up the future you’re anticipating. For many of us, marriage is one of the main focal points of our imagination. The problem is, this can set us up for unrealistic expectations when the time comes to start a new life with our spouse.
Think about your life up until this point: did anything you have experienced turn out exactly the way you expected it to? Marriage is the same. Don’t place more weight on getting married than on other areas of your life, which (as you have probably already learned) can be incredibly unpredictable in all ways.
Rather than trying to visualize or anticipate what you think your marriage will be like, remain in the moments as they unfold. Appreciate your new life with your spouse, even if it’s not exactly what you expected. Remember, you’re on this adventure together–and like any adventure, it’s impossible to guess what’s around the corner.
2. You can’t put in a minimal investment and expect maximum returns.
In marriage as in life, you can’t invest the smallest amount of effort and expect maximum returns. That’s a universal concept that applies to life in a general sense. Being married is a team effort. If both of you don’t do your part to make your marriage the best it can be, then the relationship as a whole will suffer.
3. Your marriage will go through difficult seasons.
Life can be hard at times, and you’ll likely face many tough times together. Sometimes, you will struggle in your own relationship. Other times, you’ll be dealing with external forces. Whatever the case, remember that hard times are a part of life.
Being married won’t make you immune to life’s challenges, but it will give you a partner to experience them with. Lean on one another and remember you’re on the same team. When you band together to weather the storm, you’ll come out stronger on the other side.
4. Life isn’t a fairytale, but you can choose joy and love.
In fairytales, the story ends with the happily ever after. While we never see the difficulties that fairytale couples face after they ride into the sunset, we can assure you that they are very real. In real life, that ride into the sunset is the beginning of a journey, and life beyond is anything but a fairytale.
You and your future spouse are embarking on an amazing journey together, and just like any other journey, you’ll run into obstacles along the way. Yes, you will have magical moments in your marriage–savor them. But there will also be challenges you didn’t expect. It’s still possible to choose love and joy, even in the midst of challenges and unmet expectations.
If you need a guidebook for navigating your new marriage, take a look at Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts (and its companion assessment). They’ll equip you with the tools you need to get your marriage started on the right path. Every copy of the book includes a discount code for the assessment, so start your journey here today.
What’s an essential tip you think couples should know before they marry? Let us know in the comments.