When you take the ultimate commitment plunge – getting engaged — there are an increasing number of deep waterways you may have to navigate together. To name a few, there’s adjusting to your new relationship status, making decisions together, planning the wedding, and navigating your future in-laws. While every couple wants to enjoy this special time, you may need a few tips to keep your head above water and achieve engagement happiness:

Practical Tips for Engagement Happiness

 

1. This too shall pass

  • Your fiancé’s/fiancée’s bad mood.
  • The fact that someone messed up the booking for the wedding venue.
  • Bridesmaid drama.
  • The pressure to find the perfect dress.
  • The never-ending wedding costs.

These are all temporary stressors and it’s important to remember that you will come out on the other side.

Try not to lose perspective as things get stressful during the wedding planning.

Make sure you come back to the most important thing: you have each other and that’s all you ever really wanted.

2. Don’t go to bed angry

Not just applicable during the engagement stage, for many, this is solid marital and life advice.

Going to bed refusing to speak to each other other, and retreating in anger is not going to solve anything.

It’s okay to disagree or not come to a happily ever after ending, but you can’t let your anger fester when you both go to sleep for the night. Agree to disagree or call a temporary truce until you can revisit the issue in the light of day.

3. Have alone time

Set boundaries.

Don’t allow yourselves to get too caught up in the early love stages of wanting to always be together, always be in the same room, or always talking to each other on the phone.

It is important for you both to continue to foster your own sense of self, away from the relationship, as well as maintain other friendships outside of each other. Together, these personal activities allow you to both show up better as a person and as a partner.

4. Be open to change

It might be as simple as a change in the font on the wedding invitations, to something as big as making adjustments to your daily routines to accommodate each other and your families.

Whatever the case is, the need to be open to change is a common theme as you embark on a new relationship, a new lifestyle, and something as big as planning a wedding.

Start with small steps by simply agreeing to be open to listening to new ideas.

Gradually work up to adopting, offering and embracing change.

Remember that you are changing to become better people together than you were when you were apart.

Ultimately, marriage is designed to help you become the best version of yourself, while simultaneously helping someone else do the same. Don’t spoil this special time with silly fights over flowers and cake flavors. Instead, keep perspective of what’s important to enjoy your days as you prepare to spend the rest of your lives together.

‘For richer, for poorer’…. it’s right there in the traditional marriage vows, but how many of us consider the consequences of actually living it out in the real world? The sad statistic is that up to 50% of marriages end in divorce, with finances (or lack of them) being a major cause of marital disharmony. Once you begin your life together, you will find that through communication and a plan, you can embrace one marriage, one income.

Feeling The Financial Strain

In a marriage where only one spouse is working there is often financial strain: sometimes the stress comes through the loss of a job and unemployment; even if the choice is a conscious one of only having one person working so that the other can stay home to raise children, it can still be hard.

After all, at the end of the day it still means less income for the family.

In either situation, the key is often a mindset shift: a mom may not be working outside of the home, but she is still bringing something equally important to the table. A father may have lost his job, but he is spending his days looking for the next opportunity – they are both working hard, just not in the traditional sense.

Communication Is Key

The key to marital harmony in so many ways is often good communication – and it’s no different when dealing with finances.

It’s a good idea to sit down together and agree on a plan and a budget. What’s right for one family won’t work for another – for some a ‘household’ account that a stay-at-home-mom is in charge of would be perfect, others see this as too limiting, and prefer one general account that both partners spend from. You may want to work out a ‘blow’ budget for each spouse – once the household bills and savings are taken care of, each person gets half of the remaining amount to do as they please. This can work particularly well if one person is a saver and one is a spender, as there’s no resentment for one person spending their cash monthly whilst the other saves up for a larger purchase.

Do What You Can With What You Have

If finances are a strain with only one parent in work (for whatever reason), then it is a good idea to make sure you are getting all the financial help you are entitled to – this will vary by state, so make sure to check your local government website. Think outside the box too – there are creative ways you can earn a little extra money from home, from taking online surveys to selling unwanted or outgrown items on eBay, any of which can be fitted in around nap times or school runs, giving a little extra wiggle room in the budget.

Your Family, Your Rules

Remember that what works for one family will not be right for another – communicate well, make a plan, ensure you are getting all the help you are entitled to, and think creatively to ensure the family finances are in good shape to help keep your marriage strong. Learn to embrace one marriage, one income.

 

Article provided by: Jackie Edwards, Freelance Contributor

The newlywed period is an exciting time. Not only are you still coming down from the buzz of your wedding and all its associated events, you and your partner are also getting to know each other as husband and wife. While this time can be blissful, it can also be a time of adjustment, as you realize that living with someone else and sharing your life with them consists of some give and take. Here are six ways to help with adjusting expectations and working toward a fulfilling marriage.

Adjusting Expectations — Simply Put

 

1. Accommodate your spouse’s habits and living style

You’ve had multiple conversations with your spouse about what’s important to each of you. Now that you are living together, it is up to you to make accommodations based on how your spouse lives. Maybe they are a neat freak and like everything in its place – this means you need to figure out how to become more organized and do your part to tidy up. Maybe they need quiet in the morning until they’ve had their coffee – this means that you need to leave important conversations for after dinner.

2. Put your finances together

Money is the #1 topic that couples fight about and for good reason. There is never a relationship where couples make exactly the same money or spend in the same ways. With your expectations already set, now is the time to pool your finances together, open up joint accounts and actively each take part in paying the bills.

3. Decide on who does what

If money is the first topic couples argue about, housework and care of the children comes a close second. Rather than hope and wait for your partner to pick up their socks or do the dishes, have a conversation early in the marriage to decide on who will do what jobs around your home and within your marriage. Studies show that rather than making it a 50/50 split, partners should do the jobs they are best at.

4. Find ways to communicate openly and easily

After having all of these important conversations, it is best if you can figure out a way to keep the conversations open. Like anything, things will change and new things will pop up and as a couple, you need to have a way that you can communicate without fear of judgement or anger. Decide how this will happen in the first months of your marriage.

5. Learn to be selfless

One of the biggest adjustments a person who is newly married will have to make is to be less selfish and more selfless. As a single person, it was easy to think about what you want and only that, but as a partner in a life-long relationship, you need to consider the needs and wants of your partner daily. Rather than make decisions based on your own desires, always think about what they would want first.

6. Realize you are on the same team

Many arguments in a marriage happen because couples have a me vs. you mentality. As a married couple, you are on the same team and have the same goal: to have a fulfilling marriage. Once you realize you are on the same team, only then will you find it easier to get along with your partner.

In short…

Adjusting expectations is not necessarily hard work, but it is work. You and your significant other need to help each other. You both desire to have a healthy marriage — if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be getting married! Work together for a long and beautiful life together.

Social media is a wonderful tool to use for connecting with friends, family, and loved ones, who may not otherwise be able to connect. Along with that freedom comes a good deal of self-discipline to be able to use appropriately and responsibly, especially when in a committed relationship. Here are a few tips to help with staying committed in the social media age:

Staying Committed in the Social Media Age — A Practical Guide

 

Everything Out in the Open.

In a healthy marriage, both parties should never feel as though they have anything to hide from each other.

To achieve this, the foundation of Love and Trust must first be built. That alone will begin to breed an atmosphere of a judgement-free zone, and will inevitably compel each other to be vulnerable with everything.

Practically speaking, a great start to a healthy, vulnerable marriage is to share your passwords to your respective social media accounts with each other.

Another is to leave your phones out in the open when you’re at home. Share your lock combination with each other if you have one (the only reason why I have one on my phone is so my kids don’t rack up thousands of dollars worth of in-app purchases!).

The respect that you have for each other is a two way street when it comes to these practices. If you feel like you have to hide anything from your spouse, especially when it comes down to messages, phone calls, and social media connections, then you need to talk about it. Regardless of if you’re participating in ill-intentioned activities or you’re not, the message you’re sending to your spouse is that you do not trust them with all your heart.

Another point that’s worth mentioning is that this is not intended to encourage “snooping” or “spying” on each other. That activity also indicates that there is a lack of trust.

When you leave everything out in the open, you’ll start to see additional benefits to your marriage. You’ll become less reliant on checking your phone every ten seconds, and you’ll actually be able to enjoy hanging out with each other with no distractions. This will also inevitably help build the foundation of Love and Trust.

Be Open and Clear About Boundaries and Expectations.

Clear, concise communication is a running theme here. Talk to each other.

If there are ever any red flags, or to be frank, if something just bothers you, talk about it. There’s no sense in letting something go on until you’re at a breaking point because you don’t want to offend your spouse. If your spouse loves you, truly loves you, he/she should make you feel as though you can tell him/her anything.

If you recognize you may start to have an issue, personally, or if your spouse recognizes a potential issue with social media, then it might be time to consider deleting your account. Your Facebook profile is not worth the potential threat to your marriage.

Every message I receive from the opposite sex is relayed to my wife, regardless of the content. My wife has never required me to do that, but I do that because I love her, and I have nothing to hide. She appreciates that because it isn’t required… Make sense?

You’re a team. Nobody should ever control the other. Come up with a strategy that is mutually beneficial for both of you.

Don’t Share Everything About Your Relationship to the Public.

Just don’t.

Your marriage is simply that: Your marriage.

Nobody else needs to know about every little thing that happens within your marriage, especially if you just got done arguing about something. If you feel like you need to run to social media because you can’t deal with issues as a team, then you need to consider talking to your Priest or a professional marriage consultant that you both trust together.

Constantly running to someone else, or worse, a group of people without the consent of your spouse can lead to that feeling of separation, or emotional removal from each other.

Remember, you’re in this together, for better or for worse.

Beyond the potential arguments that occur within your marriage, you should also be able to keep some of the date nights, and other special moments you share with your spouse, as “just between us” moments. Before the age of social media, there were no “selfies” at the movie theater, or the “plate of food” photos posted for all to see. Those were intimate moments shared exclusively between husband and wife.

Having those “just between us” moments can also help with deeper levels of intimacy – physically and emotionally.

All in all, you just have to find out what’s best for you as a couple. Pray about these things with each other. Consult those that you trust who have “been there and done that.” Staying committed in the social media age can have its challenges, but is vital for strong and healthy marriage.