Remember how every Hollywood rom com ended with the guy and girl walking away into the sunset holding hands and exchanging a breathtaking kiss at their wedding? A reason most end with a wedding and not a marriage is because every marriage is unique, complicated and a many-layered story that rarely comes in the ‘one-size-fits-all’ category. So the movie is rarely about marriage, it’ about how it leads to the marriage.
Think of your wedding as a snapshot of a lifetime of togetherness and partnership, which is the marriage. Each marriage brings its own share of responsibilities, commitments, sacrifices, disagreements, disasters, illnesses and a lifetime of braving life’s many curveballs together.
When this is about marriage you need to know these Post Wedding Do’s & Don’t’s’…
1. Don’t put unrealistic expectations on your partner
Let’s face it real people are flawed and imperfect! Many of us have been hardwired to think about marriage as a magical solution to all our problems, it rarely works that way. Start by getting to know your spouse and not try and change too much about them. Support their dreams and walk the talk.
Remember that marriage is not a quick fix to your own childhood traumas and personal setbacks or a stepping board for future success and you will do just fine.
2. Have the ‘money talk’
Money is one issue that can be cause for long-term conflict between partners. Know your partner’s finances and financial liabilities before marrying them. Regularly discuss your savings, joint priorities and work towards financial freedom together. Level with them on finances and keep each other abreast of loans, savings, investments etc.
3. There will be tough times, remember to ‘tango on’
There will be many times in a marriage when you won’t feel in love or ‘all in’ with your partner. Marriages can encounter setbacks ranging from professional to personal ones apart from the normal course of ageing parents, children and finances. A supportive spouse with whom you can share your daily ups and downs and fears wins the race, hands down. Spend quality time with each other. When the going gets tough, rally around each other, be the ‘better half’ and work as a team to get over the hard times.
4. Spell out the ‘deal breakers’
Both of you come from a world of different experiences and backgrounds. Get to know each other’s blind spot and pare down areas or zones or behaviours that are completely “off limits” and one which you must not try to trespass as a spouse.
Both partners should articulate clearly about what would be ‘deal breakers’ for them and why. This is a good way to set boundaries and ‘no-go zones’ in a marriage, so that no partner ends up taking the other for granted in the long run.
5. You have to make efforts constantly to make it work
Like life, a marriage is not always going to be a sunny walk in the park. Just like in your career and other relationships like friends or family, each day will require effort from both the partners for it to work. Find time for each other, find an activity which you both enjoy and make time for it into your lifestyles. Find your rhythm through love, patience and by practising resilience.
6. Communication is key
It’s all about finding the words to your together story. Communication brings understanding and empathy into a marriage. Conversations of every kind should be encouraged so that your partner feels that they are in a ‘safe space’ where they can openly express their feelings. This is something very important about marriage that you should know.
People also tend to evolve and change all the time, so effective communication ensures that the couple is constantly in tune with each other.
7. Carry your independence with you
Complete dependency on your partner after your nuptials is a fantasy that can never last. Remember to be authentic to yourself and cultivate your own passions. Continue having strong bonds with family and friends, as they help us keep in touch with ourselves. Do things that spark your passions, learn things that challenge you and give space to family and close friends. Don’t try to make it all about your spouse, the marriage and kids – take care of yourself first.
8. Remember to pack loads of spontaneity
It’s very easy to get into a comfortable rut after years of living together. But spontaneity is the secret sauce of every successful marriage. Leave plenty of room for surprises and romance. Plan that spontaneous trip or a baby or take up that challenging job in the new city that really excites you- but take your partner along for the ride. Rather than control and plan everything, learn to let go of the reins and go with the flow. Embrace the uncertainty sometimes, it can work wonders.
9. Babies are not magic fixes
It is not uncommon for parents and loved ones to egg a newly-wed couple to have kids. Always remember that it is a mutual decision exclusive to both of you. If there are issues in your marriage, a child can compound that. So work on smoothening out those creases in the marriage rather than going for the age old advice of having a child. The responsibility of a child can put a strain on a weak marriage and not in a good way. Ensure that both of you are ready for parenting and its joys and pains, before you decide to take the plunge.
10. There will be fights, disagreements and ego clashes galore
A marriage without fights is one with a lot of secrets. Long and strong marriages are known to survive the toughest of storms because the couple have developed good coping mechanisms to address disagreements. After a fight, learn to lose your ego, apologise and make up quickly and creatively with your spouse. Respect among the couple is of utmost importance here. Don’t let arguments or blame games settle into resentments which can strain your marriage. It helps to try to empathise and see your partner’s perspective at times.