Being “just married” (a.k.a the ‘honeymoon phase’) is that blissful period akin to your early dating life. The romance is renewed, you’re on a high from the wedding, and life is exciting.
But differently to the early dating phase, you’re now no longer just each others’ dates / girlfriend / boyfriend or partners – you’re spouses. And with that comes a commitment to loving, supporting and caring for one another for the rest of your lives.
Communication, compromise, and planning are essential parts of a successful marriage. Couples who think ahead together, and make time for the important moments and milestones are the best placed to handle any challenges they may face down the line. But what are the specific ways couples can set themselves up for a happy marriage?
From the romantic to the practical, there are several key considerations which help that post-wedded bliss extend onwards for many decades!
Here we round up 6 tips for a lifetime of living happily ever after.
#1 – Check-in with your communication
Married couples often feel like they know each other so well that they can fall into the habit of forgetting to make time to ask, “How do you feel?” or “What can I do for you?” Opening up a dialogue about your feelings, thoughts and any concerns you have will ensure that you grow together, not apart. Communicate as often as you can, even when it would be easier to just “let things go.”
#2 – Think long-term but live in the present
For sure, plan your future goals and dreams, but don’t get too caught up in a fantasy. Goals in general are the way to go, but try to break them down into smaller objectives so you can achieve things together without falling prey to the pressure of expectation.
As a married couple, you literally have your entire lives to work things out. Don’t feel like you have to immediately buy a home, have children or make any other major life choices you aren’t ready for.
#3 – Keep the love alive!
We’re all too familiar with the saddening divorce rate in Australia – where 1 in 3 marriages end in divorce. While there are always plenty of reasons couples drift apart, oftentimes it’s the small gestures you did during the dating phase which later get forgotten, that people miss the most.
Maintaining a level of intimacy is important to keeping a marriage on track. But intimacy doesn’t just mean what happens in the bedroom. In order to keep your relationship thriving and cultivate a sense of closeness, try to maintain body contact, whether that’s holding hands, kissing/hugging, and giving loving touches when you pass one another. These small acts of intimacy are what help couples stay together in the long-run.
#4 – Get the right insurance
On a practical note – and one that nobody likes to talk about, is the need for insurance. After all, you don’t just have yourself to worry about anymore. A lot of things merge when you’re married, and your healthcare coverage can be one of them.
Consider taking couples health insurance – this may offer you greater benefits at a more affordable rate. Young, healthy couples still need the right insurance, which will include things such as emergency coverage and accidental injury coverage. Having these papers in place might be low on your list of priorities, but they provide peace of mind during your lifetime together.
#5 – Start married life on the right financial footing
The last thing a newly married couple needs is overhanging debt from the wedding itself! Try to pay off your wedding in advance, or at least draw up a workable plan to see those vendor bills get paid in a timely manner. You should also take this time to sit down as a couple and address your finances. Will you be closing some of your personal banking facilities and opening new shared ones? Will you need to start saving for a property or applying for any loans?
It’s important to understand the other person’s debt situation, too. As a married couple, you have to be willing to take on some elements of each others’ baggage – even if it doesn’t really have anything to do with you. This isn’t to say that you should cover your spouse’s personal debt, but you should be aware of what they owe and how they plan on paying it off.
#6 – The “secret” to a happy marriage
Young couples always ask long-term spouses what their “secret” to a happy marriage is. The truth is that the “recipe for success” varies in every marriage; each couple is unique, and they’ll have their own ways of staying together and keeping their love alive over the years.
But the underlying message is that you always prioritise one another and never take the other for granted. Coupled with communication, compromise and working through any issues, you stand a good chance to keep the love alive for the very long term.