Finding the love of your life is one of the most exciting and joyous moments. Marrying them feels like you’ve achieved a milestone; you are in love, happy and everything is right with the world.
While there is much to be said about the happiness couples feel when deeply in love and when they decide to get married, certain long-term considerations need to be taken into account before actually getting married.
After all, when two people decide to spend the rest of their lives together, it is humanly impossible to foresee any and every conflict that might arise later.
Being wary of any future conflicts is not a sign that you should not spend all your lives with the same person but building a lasting, loving and healthy marriage requires some delicate planning. Most of the planning involves appreciating the possibility that things will get rough sometimes and developing ground rules that will help both the individuals in the relationship cope with a synergy that testifies to their mutual love and compassion.
Some questions that you should ask yourself before getting married are:
1. How well does either person handle stress individually and in unison with the other?
The strategies to cope with stress as an individual are far different when living with a spouse. People are taught to be self-sufficient and the prospect of sharing emotional/physical burdens with another person can be a disorienting experience.
In fact, coping strategies that may be healthy for an individual might not be as effective in relationships because of the inherently co-operative nature of marriage. The involvement of another person in the struggles that a spouse faces could make them feel constrained and lead to feelings of resentment or frustration. It could also be the case that; when faced with some emotional burdens one party completely shuts the other out, which could lead to feelings of insecurity and abandonment.
Developing healthy coping strategies in a marriage requires an appreciation for your partner’s agency while also keeping in mind that sometimes, your troubles may create tensions for your marriage. Couples need to develop the ability to communicate effectively, while also understanding the importance of when to actively assist their partners, when to simply serve as a vent for their spouse’s emotional distress and how to achieve each of those purposes in line with their spouse’s personalities.
2. The role of religion
Religious or spiritual beliefs play a very important role in an individual’s life experience. These ideals decide the course of action that people will take, determine their perception of what the ideal life is; they feature heavily in the relationships they form.
It is important that couples comprehend the importance of religious belief as a component of their spouse’s personalities. These beliefs will serve as a guideline for the expectations each would have from the marriage and the direction the marriage will take. Couples must consider the possibility that some compromise may need to be achieved if some incompatibility does arise regarding the experience and culmination of the marriage.
3. Family relationships
When getting married, both people in the relationship become a part of the other’s family. In light of this inevitability it is important to consider your spouse’s compatibility with the rest of your family.
The better your spouse gets along with your family and you with theirs, you create the room to develop well connected support systems for each other and help them understand you as an individual based on your familial backgrounds.
When starting a family, there’s always the obvious questions of whether you will want to welcome children into it and if you do, how many you would want.
In some ways, getting married and starting a family ultimately comes down to whether you would wish to have children with the person you are marrying. It is possibly the ultimate purpose of the institution of marriage. You and your partner need to come to a conclusion about whether either of you would wish to have children and plan your lives accordingly to support them to create a wholesome family unit.
Azizeh Rezaiyan is a licensed marriage counsellor at the Silicon Valley Marriage Counselling Center in Palo Alto. She specializes in same-sex couples therapy, anxiety treatments and offers marriage counselling comprising of couples’ therapy, sex therapy and family mediation in the Bay Area.