I am getting married later this year, and of course, I am wildly excited and happy! But although in many ways my fiancé is simply perfect, there are a few dark clouds on the horizon that are worrying me.
Like we seem to spend a lot of time arguing. Once I had found the right guy, I thought we would not need to argue, so does that mean my fiancé is not really the one for me?
And that we won’t be happy together once we are married? Please reassure me!
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There are lots of myths about marriage, like that it makes you happy. No, it does not, marriage makes you married. It means you are joining a different part of society; the married part. And have loads of new stuff to learn.
But it is true that married people are generally happier than singles. And that love is one of the most powerful forces in our lives and makes life feel worthwhile.
But we have a hard time making it last. Most often relationships fail because we have unrealistic expectations.
So that is what is wrong with the idea that marriage is supposed to make you happy. Because it tends to make you expect that everything will be wonderful, just so long as you have found the perfect partner. But marriage is a team sport, and people on a team inevitably have different ideas.
So it is not true that you won’t argue if you have found the right person. In the real world, couples disagree all the time. So what you really need to learn is how to discuss your differences, and how to cope with the inevitable irritations that come from living with someone else.
And no matter how well matched you are, life always throws up surprises. People grow and develop. This is another reason why finding the perfect partner is so difficult. Because they promptly change. So the keys to success? Negotiating skills, managing change and staying close to one other through it all.
You also need to stay aware of each other’s hopes and dreams. And to know before you start when to expect problems. For example, most relationships fail during the first two years, before you have mastered those skills.
Another regular crisis is the birth of your first child. And then their entry into school. When report cards come home, it is really the relationship that is getting evaluated, isn’t it? Well, it feels like that anyway!
Having an adolescent in the house is another nightmare, with endless parenting issues. So at each of these stages, you have to learn how to cope and tough it out. Marriage is not about finding your perfect partner. It is about learning the skills you need to be happy together.
All the best,