Bliss After ‘I Do’

There was a moment, standing amid mountains of boxes and crumpled up newspapers that both Dave and Kate realized the honeymoon was definitely over.

The newlyweds who had just returned from a week of unadulterated bliss beneath a tropical sun, were still unpacking in their new apartment. Kate was deciding the layout of the kitchen, when Dave announced it was time to go to bed. “What?” exclaimed Kate, with a heavy box in her hands, “now?!”

It suddenly occurred to them that they’d never discussed bed times, or how Dave was a morning person. Kate by contrast, was a night owl who loved being up until the wee hours, reading or working on various projects.  She wanted to finish the kitchen; they were on a roll.

A discussion ensued, which would have put Spencer and Heidi (The Hills) to shame, all about schedules, priorities and, well, sleep habits.

Most couples discover soon after the wedding flowers have dried and the tuxedos have been returned that reality inevitably sets in. 

Turning the bliss of planning the biggest event in your life into a long-term, statistic-defying relationship takes a lot of work. Any couple will tell you, some days seem longer than others.

Before tying the knot, consider addressing the following points, which will help you stay happily married.

  • Be honest with yourself. Are you clear about why you’re getting married? Are you using marriage to escape from something in your life?  If you are getting married to leave home or avoid an unhappy family situation, you might want to re-examine why you’re really making such a big commitment and if it’s for the right reasons.
  • Sure you think you know your partner, but how well do you really know the person you’re committing your life to? Past behavior is a great predictor of future behavior. Knowing your partner well enough to have confidence how they’ll act in the future will certainly give you peace of mind before you say “I do”. You don’t have to hire a private investigator to get the low down, just ask.  Make some time in all of the busyness from the wedding for just the two of you.
  • Make an effort to get to know your spouse’s family and friends. Your future together will include a number of new people.  Have you met the important people in your future spouses’ life?  Have you introduced the people who are most important to you?
  • Learn to fight smart. If you aspire to be one of those imaginary couples who say they don’t fight, try a little reality check and actually learn how to fight properly. Understanding your partners’ conflict style and how to deal with conflict when it occurs will make a huge difference, when you have differing opinions.
  • Are you fitting time in to plan your marriage amongst all of the wedding plans? Taking a marriage preparation course will help you make the transition from happy couple to happily married friends and lifelong partners. A good marriage preparation course will help you discuss your values and beliefs, so you understand each other well and have a solid foundation for the future.
  • Have you left time to play? When couples get stressed, they forget some of the finer points about what brought them together. Schedule some play time scheduled before and after your nuptials.

Weddings are exciting, but marriage should be when the real excitement kicks in.

For Kate and Dave, learning how to respect each others’ styles was key to avoiding silly conflict. They’ve now been happily married – and sleep compatible – for eighteen years.

Marriage is one of the biggest personal investments you’ll ever make in your life. Make sure you’ve researched properly, asked the right questions and evaluated, and you will have a happy return on the deal.

Calgary Counselling Centre offers a Marriage Preparation Course that asks the right questions, helping you and your spouse start off on the right foot.  Marriage doesn’t necessarily bring you closer together; our Marriage Preparation Program does. Visit Calgary Counselling to register.


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