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Love/Relationship Columnist Author: Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC - Love/Relationship Columnist - Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:06:33 PM

6 Dos and Dont's Before You Marry

By Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC - Love/Relationship Columnist -
Jan 6, 2014 - 12:03:00 AM

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( - The time before you marry is the most important time in determining how your marriage will sustain the ups and downs of life. Improving communication and understanding one another's needs are more important than the flowers and wedding cake. Research has shown the positive effects of pre-marital counseling in preparing the couple for healthy management of conflict, financial issues and intimacy issues. Counseling in these areas helps because these are the three most likely areas to cause divorces for the majority of people. If you are considering marriage in the next year, getting to know each other's family, accepting and supporting one another's faith and remaining flexible with one another's growth as an individual is important, but the six dos and don'ts below are usually the precursors to divorce.

1.      DO: Make sure you can resolve conflicts, feeling closer to your partner. All couples argue, but happier couples end up feeling closer and more understood after an argument. Make sure you understand each other's way of dealing with anger, and that you are comfortable with it.

2.      Don't: Expect that your partner is going to change and learn conflict resolution after marriage.  If your partner is a bad communicator and uncomfortable with conflict or anger prior to marriage, it is not going to change after marriage.

3.      Do: Talk about sex and intimacy openly. Prior to marriage your partner and you should be able to have a discussion about sex and intimacy without feeling anger, shame or indifference.

4.      Don't: Expect that if your partner is addicted to porn or flirting, or lacks sexual boundaries prior to marriage, that it will change after marriage. Don't expect a partner to all of a sudden become more sexual after marriage if they lack interest prior to marriage.

5.      Do: Talk about money, saving, and a financial plan for your marriage. A joint checking and savings account is wise because it lends itself to working together for the same goal.  A monthly money discussion is a priority for married couples.

6.      Don't: Go into marriage not knowing one another's spending pattern. Your partner is not going to change after marriage. If they are irresponsible with making money, spending money and saving money prior marriage, it is going to be difficult and I would step back before saying "I Do."

Love is blind, and part of the reason fifty percent of couples end up divorced is that they took little care to work on the main issues between them prior to marriage. We are all guilty of thinking negative qualities about our partner will change after marriage. False expectations are predictors for marriage failure. Before you say I do make sure you are able to communicate well with your partner over the toughest issues, which are conflict, sex and money. Situations change, but behaviors remain consistent. Marriage requires work and work is easier if you understand the issues and face them honestly. -Mary Jo Rapini


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