Don’t leave the success of your marriage to fate. However happy you are before the ceremony, there’s something about getting married that can rock the boat. Most couples have a great time on their honeymoon, but many find that once back home, things aren’t going as well as they did, before the ceremony. A staggering one in two marriages is set to fail. No one enters into a marriage thinking it will end, yet so many do. The more thought and planning that goes into a relationship, the more successful the marriage will be.
So how can you make your marriage work and avoid the pitfalls? The answer can be found by looking at what effective couples do and applying their secrets to your relationship.
In today’s world, with most people choosing their own partner, the divorce rates are still sky rocketing; it can seem that the phrase “successful marriage” is an oxymoron. There are several factors that head start the demise of “till death do us part”; however, you can greatly improve your chances of marital success by working on: effective communication, setting reasonable expectations, and discussing future goals and responsibilities.
Couples need to put an emphasis and concentrate their energy on addressing the question of whether they are truly compatible with each other? They need to determine if they actually enjoy spending time together, both in a group setting and one on one. It is essential to evaluate if the person they are choosing to spend the rest of their lives with has common interests and hobbies. Assessment of your own communication skills is imperative. Are you able to have a discussion about something you don’t agree on and still be respectful to the other person? As a couple, how do resolve a disagreement? Do you have a plan in place, in case, you do not come to a resolution?
Other important factors in a good marriage are communicating about future living arrangements and establishing each of your roles and responsibilities in the household. Many Indo-Canadian families have the expectation that at least one of their sons will live with their parents. This expectation can cause a lot of tension, if all the details are not worked out ahead of time. Successful couples talk deeply about their expectations, before the wedding and if there’s a serious disagreement – for example, he wants to live with his parents forever and she doesn’t – they question whether to marry. They may come to an agreement about living with the family for a few years and then transitioning out on their own. Regardless of what the issues is, if it is not discussed, it can be a continuous source of stress and resentment.
After the wedding, successful couples talk regularly to ensure that their expectations of married life are being met. If those expectations clash, they keep communicating until they have an understanding and come to an agreement. All households run differently and assumptions should not be made in regards to who will handle what aspect of the household management. In some households, men are used to their mothers cooking and cleaning for them, and once they get married, they expect their wives to continue this role. Although there is no wrong or right answer to which role should be filled by which person, this needs to be discussed ahead of time, so resentment and disappointments don’t occur.
Goals can vary from person to person, so it is very important that you sit down and outline your aspirations. Many people who lack experience in a relationship, tend to assume that it is the natural course to: get married, have children, buy a house, pay off a mortgage and then retire. It is also taken for granted that a woman wants children or that she will give up her career and stay home to raise the kids. Communicating your goals and desires and understanding one another’s needs, will lead to a more pleasant relationship. Sometimes to attain a common goal, sacrifices have to be made. Resentment may be eliminated, if the sacrificing party feels they are partaking in the decision.
During the courting period is when you should begin to get to know each other. Some of you may feel as though courting isn’t an option because you come from a traditional Indo-Canadian household. With today’s technology, there is no excuse. You can get to know someone through email, Facebook and of course, by phone. Explain to your parents that you need to spend some face time with the person to really analyze if you are a good fit for each other. A good talking point may be to remind them of the thousands of dollars that could be wasted on a failed marriage, if you don’t have the time to get to know each other.
During the “getting to know” period, if things aren’t going as expected and red flags are being raised, this would be the time to contemplate whether you are making the right choice of committing to this person. Settling for the wrong person, or thinking that you can alter or change a person’s behavior to conform to your taste, is rarely possible. So much needs to be discussed and agreed upon, before beginning the journey of building a life together.
Setting expectations ahead of time can minimize future arguments. For example, if you would like to raise your children in a particular manner, it is important to have this discussion in advance and agree on your parenting style, before you get married. Many couples think that discussing children, how many to have, and how to parent them before they have them, is absurd. It’s also very common for many to assume that the people they are in love with share their views, so they consider having a conversation, futile. In reality, disagreeing on such major issues often results in setting the marriage up for failure. While no marriage is perfect, and arguing exists in every marriage, the more areas you agree on ahead of time, the better your chances for a healthy marriage.
Misaligned expectations in regards to intimacy, is often one of the biggest factors in an unhappy marriage. Partners need to come to basic agreements as to how and how often they will be intimate with each other. Coming to an arrangement, can increase the trust that couples feel for each other. Many marriages today fail due to differing expectations of intimacy. Not having these crucial talks, can lead to cheating on your spouse, loss of trust and even ultimately breaking up.
If you ask couples that have been married for many years what the secret to their success is, they usually respond with the word compromise. “Give and take is one of the keys to marital bliss”, they will tell you. Giving in isn’t synonymous with defeat, it’s a sign of true love. Another thing you often hear is appreciation. Taking notice of the little things and not taking for granted what the other person does for you. Consideration is another common theme. Thinking about the other person’s feelings and how your actions and behavior will impact them.
Some good advice for couples that are thinking of getting married would be to understand that marriage is sacred and that it is a lifelong commitment. All marriages have their highs and lows. Healthy couples fall in and out of love and they accept there will be difficulties to face; they count on the strong bond and friendship between each other to support them through those difficult times.
There are many factors in determining if a marriage will be strong and only a few have been highlighted here. Couples that are intensely in love and have a strong friendship foundation, generally have the ability to work through their issues.