5 Tips For A Divorce-Proof Marriage
by:ADRIENNE LAURSEN, LMFT
Adrienne Laursen, Licensed Marriage Therapist and nationally recognized relationship expert, shares tips for Divorce-Proofing Your New Marriage, Before You Even Get Married. Adrienne is the owner of THE ENGAGEMENT COACH, and provides exclusive, customized premarital and engagement coaching to her clients nationwide.
Wedding planning is stressful enough, who has time to plan a marriage?! The truth is, you need to find the time! If every couple put as much time and consideration into the planning of their marriage as they do their wedding, there would likely be a lot less divorce. Be one of the smart couples, and start your new marriage off right. Begin these important relationship conversations now, and you’ll see the rewards for years to come!
1. Set “Couple” Goals For Your Life Together
When you combine two lives to become one unit forever, it takes some planning to be successful. Talk with your spouse-to-be about what your life together will look like. Think of it as a marriage map, or a marriage Pinterest board. Do you want to travel? Buy a home? Get a puppy? Start a family? Where will you live? What are your career goals?
Try making a short-term goal list and discuss what you want to accomplish as a married couple in your first year of marriage. Then think bigger picture, and discuss what goals and desires belong on the long-term list (think 3-5 years of marriage).
2. Go To Bed At The Same Time
It’s really easy to get in the habit of doing your own thing, especially in the evenings. Make it a priority and a commitment to one another as newlyweds that you’ll always go to bed together. Couples who cherish this tradition typically feel closer to one another and feel more connected to their spouse’s life. Pillow talk is a great way to catch up on each other’s day and to discuss any concerns you may be having with your marriage.
If this option doesn’t seem to fit your lifestyle, be sure to spend some time together in your bed before parting ways. That can mean cuddling, reading together, sex, pillow talk, etc. It’s just important to connect at the end of the day in the sacred space that is meant for just the two of you.
3. Get Your Finances Figured Out Right Away
Talk about who will handle the money and how it will be handled. Discuss your own issues with money, your debts, your fears, and your individual strengths in this area. Sharing the responsibility of money comes down to trust, communication, and understanding, so the sooner you get it figured out, the better off you and your marriage will be. I suggest having weekly “money meetings” so you can discuss your budget, bills, savings and financial goals.
4. Make A Plan For Household Chores
I always hear from my couples “We’re already living together, what can possibly change after the wedding?”
Well, a lot of things change. And when they do, couples can’t seem to figure out why or what to do about it. So, in the spirit of keeping things great and not having to fight over who cleans the toilet and empties the dishwasher, make a plan! Focus on each other’s strengths and preferences for keeping your home clean and beautiful. Set expectations for each of your roles, and if necessary or desired, create a chore plan or a cleaning chart. (I know, boring and unromantic, right?! But it really works!) Setting expectations for this gotta-do-it-but-don’t-want-to work upfront will help you avoid some of those inevitable newlywed fights.
5. Get Comfortable Talking About Sex
Talk about an uncomfortable conversation! Most couples shy away from discussing their sex life because it’s scary and uncertain territory. The potential for saying the wrong thing and hurting your partner’s feelings is pretty high. But, a successful marriage includes being open and forthcoming with your desires, wants, needs, concerns, and fears.
Start by asking your partner if he/she is open to the conversation, and if so, begin discussing what you like and what works well for your sex life. Try having a few positive conversations before moving into more sensitive topics, such as what needs to be different, or what you don’t enjoy.
Adrienne offers both in-person and online premarital and engagement coaching, and is passionate about helping couples create a beautiful, successful marriage. Please visit her website, The Engagement Coach, for more information and to contact her directly.