Important Pre-Wedding Discussions
June 17, 2019
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Before you exchange vows and wed your life to that of another person, it’s important to understand what causes most rifts in loving relationships: miscommunication. It’s best to start these difficult conversations by reaffirming your shared goal. For example, you might tell your partner that you want to talk about finances, but start by saying how much you love them and that your ultimate goal is a happy and fulfilling life together. Here are three important pre-wedding discussions you should have to establish healthy communication.
Three Important Pre-Wedding Discussions
1. Establish Your Identity
People complain they lose their own identity over the course of a marriage, that they stop doing the things they love because their partner doesn’t enjoy them. That being the case, it’s natural to focus on all the things you have in common, but it’s equally important to celebrate the ways in which you differ. Talk about how you might handle different food preferences or whether you want to go see movies with a friend instead of your spouse if they’re not interested in seeing the same films.
2. Don’t Push for Change
It’s essential not to focus on trying to change something about the other person. Are you assuming you can improve their eating habits? Make them tidier? Convince them to be more active or social? It’s best you own up to those expectations and try to set them aside. While people do change over time, it’s rarely at the instigation of another person. Often, we change gradually as our priorities evolve and our perspectives mature. People change specific habits for the sake of others (put the towels on this shelf and not that one), but rarely do they change their personality (take better care of yourself!) because someone else is coercing them.
So, talk about these issues early and often. If you’re hoping to change someone after marriage, best to get that out into the open. What’s more, talk about how you might be willing to change. Are you okay spending a significant amount of your family’s money on tickets to concerts or sporting events? Are you the type that buys top-of-the-line appliances or are you a bargain hound? All of this should be part of your pre-wedding discussions.
3. Discover How to Disagree
One key to successful marriage is knowing how to disagree without becoming insulting or angry. In other words, it’s important to learn how to argue before you tie the knot. While most people blame the other person when conversations go bad, the responsibility for toxic arguments is often shared equally. If you were to watch a video of yourself arguing with your partner, you might be surprised by what you see. I say that because researchers have filmed arguments between couples and found that the perception of what happened can be far removed from reality.
If you bring up one of these issues and your partner doesn’t want to talk about it, that could be cause for concern. Avoiding discussion out of a fear of conflict can cause trouble in a relationship. In fact, research shows that couples who learn to argue civilly and effectively are ten times more likely to be happy in their marriages than those who try not to argue.
For more advice from Celeste Headlee or to learn more about her, visit celesteheadlee.com.
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