Before Ryan and I said our vows, I remember how eager I was to ask newlyweds what marriage was like. I loved picking their brains, and trying to prepare for our first year of marriage. Looking back, there are certain things I’m glad we did before the big day. Today, I want to share some concrete ways you can prepare for your first year of marriage and beyond.
1. Go to premarital counseling. Premarital counseling comes in all different shapes and forms. Ryan and I met with my Uncle Tim, who is also a pastor, and he gave us some incredibly valuable advice that we still rely on today. One of our favorite bits of advice he gave us was to “build each other up”. Ryan and I are super open about our relationship and lives when we are with family, so it just felt natural to share our remarks on each other’s annoying habits. But, when we heard this advice, we realized how little jabs at each other can lead to resentment. We still have to make a conscience effort to build up the other person.
I would suggest premarital counseling for every couple because it gives you a place to ask tough questions, learn how to communicate, and set clear expectations. I have read that premarital counseling can reduce your risk of divorce by a whopping 20%!
2. Determine your love language. You’ve probably heard about love languages before, but have you and your partner actually taken the test to find out what your language is? Ryan and I were a little surprised by our results! His love language is physical touch, while my love language is acts of service. When Ryan discovered this, I started coming home to washed dishes, a clean house, etc. When he does things like this for me, I feel so loved! Determining your love language is a great way to improve communication and figure out how to show your spouse you love them. We were given the book as a wedding gift (what an awesome present!)
3. Ask the tough questions. This piece of advice boils down to communication. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions. You want to make sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to envisioning your future together. What are your career ambitions? Are you willing to make sacrifices so your spouse can pursue their dreams? How many kids do you want? How are you going to discipline them? What city do you want to end up in? How are you going to divide holidays between families? For some couples, all of these questions are super easy, but for others, they may present some arguments. Don’t be afraid to go back and forth with your partner, so you can find compromise and solutions.
I hope you and your future spouse can use these ideas to help you prepare for your happily ever after!