When you’re in a relationship, you spend months and sometimes years getting to know your partner and building a life with them. You have likely found peace, love, and joy in the relationship you have with each other and now, you both may be considering taking your lives to the next step into marriage. While this is a big decision that will take some time and consideration, many of us in love would argue that, “when you know, you just know.” So to set you and your partner up for a successful marriage, here are some quick tips to keep in mind now to create a beautiful transition into marriage in the future.
1. Discuss Values
A very important part of establishing any successful relationship is to truly delve into what is of value to the both of you. It’s important to lay everything out on the table because what you may believe is a universal value, may be less important to your partner. While these topics shouldn’t be brought up on the first date, they are important to include in the casualty of dating as they don’t hold either partner to any unrealistic expectations. However, if you wait until marriage to explore each others’ values, you run the risk of you or your partner feeling unfulfilled or disappointed in the difference in expectations. To help you get started, here are some common topics to think about:
- Where will you live once you are married?
- Do you prefer rural, suburban, or city living?
- Will you live in an apartment or a home?
- How will you navigate the holidays? Will you visit both families or one family every other year?
- How do you feel about your partner maintaining friendships with people of the opposite sex?
- What roles do you plan to take on within the marriage? (Cleaning, cooking, finances, etc.)
- Will you have children? If so, how many and how soon?
- What type of parenting styles do you plan to take on?
These are only a few of the many questions you and your partner can discuss, however, they are great starting points to get you both on the same page.
2. Set Goals
Once you have gone over some topics you consider to be important, you should always set goals keeping you and your partners’ values in mind. For example, if you are planning to move once the two of you are married, it’s a good idea to set a date or time period in which you’d like to move. You can utilize a goal planner to create small, achievable goals on a regular basis that will ultimately help you to move into your dream home at the right time. Not only does planning ahead of time help establish some structure to achieve your goals, but it inspires true partnership within your relationship to work together toward each one.
3. Talk About Money
Adjusting to marriage can be challenging for anyone. However, with proper planning of finances, you’ve already defeated half the battle. As newlyweds, you will likely be venturing into new territory when it comes to joint finances; making it so important to discuss your ideas and plans for the future ahead of time.
You can start by hashing out how your accounts will be handled and your thoughts on distributing income between the two of you. If you both have decided on investing in something as large as a house, you should begin to plan out what you can afford in a house now, in order to give you both a greater chance at financial freedom in the future. You may want to start by bringing up the topic of money during casual moments of conversation as it can be a difficult talk to have. However, over time, you will likely get a feel for how you and your partner plan to handle finances and once marriage is officially on the table, you can discuss it further in more detail.
4. Spend Time with Family
It’s important that during your dating relationship, you become familiar with the important people in your partner’s life as well. Any friends, family, and loved ones they consider to be a major part of their life, you should make the point of getting to know them. Not only will this encourage a great relationship between you and their friend or family member, but it will also show your partner how much you value the important people in their life as well. If you are at a gathering with all of their loved ones, take the initiative and introduce yourself first. If all goes well, you can offer up the opportunity for you and that friend to meet personally, in a smaller setting. This way, you can get to know each other one-on-one and develop your own relationship with them. In the end, this will help to encourage your partner to pursue marriage with you — especially now that they added support and encouragement from the important people in their life.
5. Intentionally Date Each Other
For many couples, the first few months of a relationship are still filled with love and joy all around. However, the more each of you settle back into your daily routines and become accustomed to the relationship, the easier it is to lose sight of the value you hold in each others’ lives. So, to help keep the spark alive now and practice a great habit to continue into marriage, you should intentionally date one another. Yes, I say “intentionally” because the dating aspect of many relationships can sometimes fall to the wayside. However, if you both make the point of scheduling date nights, saving up for them, and putting on your best outfit, you’ll be in the habit of going through extra lengths to get to know your partner on a deeper level.
Keep in mind that your dates don’t always have to be sit-down dinner. Explore different activities each of you enjoy, like a golfing date, spa date, or a morning hike on your favorite trail. The idea is to spend time with eachother alone and get to know each other better and better each time. Ultimately, it will help you both to commit emotionally to marriage as you will both feel more connected to each other than ever before.
6. Seek Advice
Lastly, before getting married, you should always seek advice from others to help set the two of you up for success in the future. Most likely, you and your partner will have already spoken with your close friends or parents about the possibility of marriage. However, you should make the point of meeting with a mentor couple as well. Typically, this is a couple who has been married for a number of years and whose goals, values, and marriage styles align with those you and your partner wish to have. Keep in mind that this mentor couple may not necessarily be direct friends or family members of yours. Instead, they may be community leaders or neighbors you’ve always looked up to for the success of their relationship. However even if you don’t feel that a mentor couple is the right fit for the two of you, you should still refer to any examples of marriage you see in your own life and ask for their tips and advice for the future.
After giving each of these tips a try, your relationship will certainly be ready for marriage. Continue to do your own research and discuss with your partner the ways that you both can prepare yourselves for a lifetime together. While it may seem like extra work to develop a plan and try new strategies, the powerful marriage that you can create as a result is more than worth it in the end. Before you know it, your relationship will reach the next level and someone will be ready to propose. Good luck!