Happy wedding day! Because within a few hours the two of you will be taking your wedding vows, I decided that a little counsel might be in order. As you know, through my work I’ve watched a lot of happy couples interact with each other and I’ve worked with a lot of couples struggling to make their marriages better. Each couple has taught me a lesson about marriage. Here’s some of what I’ve learned.
No two people are alike. Now you’ve probably heard that before. But sometimes when we hear something so often, we forget the essence. What this means is that the two of you will sometimes see some things differently.
Beth, you may want to use your extra money to buy furniture. Mat, you may want to use it to go on vacation. One of you may want to get up early and get going while the other wants to sleep late and enjoy a quiet morning.
One of you may be a talker and an analyzer, but the other may be more quiet. One of you may be acutely aware of your feelings. The other may not be aware of them at all. Remember, neither of you is right or wrong. You are simply different.
Some differences are genetic. Some you learned from your families as you were growing up. These differences make each of you unique. Be aware of them, smile and laugh about them, and work to accept them.
Be generous with your praise. Right now you are probably telling each other how attractive you are. The two of you are exchanging a lot of hugs and smiles and “I love yous.” These compliments helped you fall in love. If you give them daily, they will keep you in love.
Be cautious with your criticism. Married people sometimes begin to think they have a right to critique their partner or to make helpful suggestions. Keep it to one criticism every two weeks and your partner will feel safe and want to be in your presence.
Know your own flaws and correct them so they don’t interfere with your marriage. If you are always late, decide from now on to be on time. If you get too mad, work on your temper.
Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen to your partner talk without interrupting. Listen to his or her feelings. Listen when he’s happy, when she’s disappointed, when he’s scared.
Enjoy love making. Accept your partner’s approach and approach your partner. Have fun and be generous in bed.
If you step on your partner’s feelings, say you’re sorry. Recognize that you have erred. Remember, it’s easier to love someone who admits mistakes.
Play together. Continue to develop interests…back-packing, dancing, cards, tennis. Develop a group of friends that will bring additional energy to your marriage.
Be respectful. In marriage there is no room for screaming, or name calling, or refusing to talk, or threatening divorce.
Keep in touch with your families. Let them be of comfort to you and share your joys and sadnesses. But, remember, each of you now should come first with the other.
Both of you are very much in love today. Choose to live in such a way that your love will last forever. Congratulations and best wishes.
Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World,” “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide,“ and “Thin Becomes You” at Doris’ web page: http://www.doriswildhelmering.com.
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