You’ve dated, fallen in love, gotten engaged and are now meticulously planning for the “big day”. However in the excitement of picking out the dress, the cake, the first dance song and everything needed to make your wedding day perfect, many bride and grooms fail to think about the next 5, 10, 20, 50 years.

Planning for the “happily ever after” the big day is extremely important and often missed or skimmed over. Based on my years of working with couples I have compiled my top tips on ways to plan to stay married forever.

Plan to change. Who you are today is not exactly who you will be the rest of your life, and the same goes for your partner. Life is a series of challenges, joys, sorrows and events. In order to get through life, we adapt, which we means we grow and change. While it is healthy and normal, it can sometimes feel threatening in a relationship.

Plan to ride the waves. Your marriage will have wonderful moments and very difficult moments. A lot of feelings get triggered during the hard times – such as anger, fear, worry and sadness, which often leads to conflict and stress. Riding the waves means you accept and flow with life’s stresses, navigating them skillfully, paying close attention to what is happening in the moment and planning for what lies ahead. Trouble magnifies when you deny, judge, fight against and protest your current reality.

Plan to pay attention to boundaries. Your relationship is important, and your life as individuals is equally important. One mistake I often see with couples I work with is that in “becoming one” they lose touch with their own wants, needs, hopes and dreams. A healthy balance between common interests and individual interests keeps the relationship fresh and interesting. Becoming too merged with each other creates a stifling environment that can feel suffocating.

Plan to talk about sex. Sex is a very important part of a marriage and often a good indicator of the health of a relationship. While you will experience highs and lows sexually throughout life, it is important to feel comfortable communicating about sex and understanding the importance of it in your marriage.

Plan to not shut each other down. Marriages often run into trouble when one or both partners start feeling nervous about expressing themselves due to fear of the others’ reaction. This slowly leads to a bottleneck in communication and then anger about not feeling heard or understood. Paying close attention to how you react when your spouse is sharing thoughts and feelings is an important step in keeping open communication flowing and your connection solid.

Are you planning a wedding?  Check out my special Wedded Bliss package, designed especially for those getting ready for the big day.  Are you already married, and currently feeling challenged by some of the areas I’ve discussed here?  Contact me to learn more about how we can work together to create your best relationship.

Author: Stephanie Macadaan

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles. I love working with couples and individuals to find strength, growth and empowerment through their struggles and challenges.