It seems to be a common fantasy amongst most women to fall in love and get married. I know myself I used to dream and start my wedding planning before I was even engaged. It’s easy to get swept up in the hype of the day and forget about what it really takes to have a successful and long marriage. As I myself prepare for a season of marriage here are 5 valuable points I have learnt along the way:
1. Marriage is more than just a wedding
It’s easy to romanticise the act of marriage by getting carried away with the glamour and festivities of the wedding day. Let’s face it, the spot light is always on the special day, not the commitment and reality of marriage thereafter. When we decide to take that next step in our relationship, we need to do so with a clear understanding of what is required of both you and your partner long after the ceremony. Ideally you will already have a relationship that reflects the values and qualities of a solid marriage before you even have said the vowels. Because that is just the thing, once that commitment is made, not much changes. A white dress and some champagne does not dissolve underlying and reoccurring problems; those are things that need to be addressed before you take the next step. Whilst I do believe the act of getting married does shift and cement your relationship on a deeper level, we must also remember that a good marriage is made over time, not because of one day.
2. Great relationships take hard work
It’s easy to sit back and compare your relationship to others. To look from the outside in and wish that your own relationship was just as successful or happy as your neighbours. But the truth is great marriages take consistent attention and work daily. It’s not something that happens over night, but rather over the course of time. Both partners need to be willing to put in the effort required and to work together as a team to ensure that their marriage stands the test of time. Because there will be seasons of hardship, there will be pressure and lows, all of that is completely normal. However, when you have two people with the right attitude, and the right amount of grace and love towards one another, you can build an awesome marriage.
3. There will be times when you want to give up
We are human after all, and there are parts of our marriage we will fall short. But this doesn’t mean we or our relationship is a failure. You have to remember that during those hard seasons you need to keep pushing on and working through those issues. Marriage is bloody hard work, but it is also an incredibly rewarding and joyful experience as well. Building strong communication between you both is essential if you want your marriage to survive. You must be transparent with one another and make the choice to love them and work at the problems despite how you feel. Marriage cannot work on words and feelings alone…it must be watered and fed with positive actions as well.
4. People can and will change
There are some things you can control, and there are some things that will just be completely out of your control. People can and will change simply due to time, stress or a shift in situations. You have to remember that a marriage is about two completely different individuals coming together to try and meld two lives into one. It’s hard, because we all have our own personal demons and battles. There may be times when you get completely blindsided by your partner. What we need to do is cultivate a mindset that not only has healthy boundaries, but also understands the need to adapt to change.
5. Strong foundations mean a strong marriage
Like anything that we want to succeed, we not only need to put in the hard work but also make sure the foundations are strong. This means paying attention to the core principles that keep a couple together. Communication, transparency, trust, love, forgiveness and teamwork are all important keys to a healthy marriage. When we set ourselves up with a firm foundation from the start, all the other problems or qualities become so much easier to overcome or achieve. So often people are willing to settle or just don’t see the red flags. Don’t get me wrong, even with a great relationship you will still have your problems, but a tree that has deeper strong roots always weathers the storm easier.