Tuesday, February 28, 2012

First Fights

Whether you're newly engaged or recently married, you and your partner are bound to have disagreements on things.   Having different opinions and ideas is perfectly normal.  Sharing your different views is also a healthy part of any relationship.   It's important, however, to limit those disagreements from turning into heated arguments and escalated fights. When it appears that an argument is on the way, try to curtail it by trying some of these ideas: 1) Listen, listen, listen- regardless of the conversation, make sure you are listening to each other.  Hear out you fiance or spouse.  What are they saying and is there some underlying message they are trying to get across.  2) Approach all topics of conversation with an open mind- ask your partner about whatever is on his mind and make sure you're understanding it correctly.  Try and put yourself in his shoes to see where he is coming from. 3) Disagree with calm and class- if you're still in disagreement, try and keep your cool, while explaining your point of view.  If possible, find a point of his that you agree with and see if some sort of compromise will work out. 4) Take a break- if the conversation doesn't appear to be taking the right turn, excuse yourselves for a breather until you both feel composed and even-headed enough to continue your discussion.
Remember that verbal abuse, property destruction, and physical violence have no place in a healthy relationship.  If you fall into one of these categories or if you and your partner are having more arguments than seems normal, it may be helpful to seek professional help.  Couples counseling gives you both a forum to address your concerns with an impartial "mediator" and to learn healthy communication styles. Self-help books and other motivational books or seminars may also prove beneficial.  Don't think that just because you want counseling or had a fight that you and your significant other aren't meant for each other.  We all need a little help now and again and in some cases, that makes the relationship stronger.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Moving In

All changes, whether good or bad, carry some level of stress.  Taking the plunge to get married and move in together is no different.  After all the excitement is said and done, you and your husband will have to figure out your living arrangements and adjust accordingly. For some couples, the decision to move in with one or the other partner is a given.  One of you may already have an apartment or a  house that works well for the both of you and that you agreed would be the best solution.  In this situation, the partner moving in may feel a little awkward.  After all, one of you will be trying to fit into a place that spells your spouse all over it.  Not feeling the mutuality of the home can become a point of contention; therefore, make sure you talk about your plans to move in beforehand.  Figure out together where "your space" will be, what closets you'll be using, whose furniture or home accents will be moving in or out, etc.  It may sound tedious, but having it squared away ahead of time will make the transition easier.
In my opinion, the ideal situation would be moving into a home that is new to both of you.  This way the two of you can build and create your home equally from the start.  You'll still have to discuss some of the basic questions addressed above, but neither of you will feel like you're walking onto someone else's turf.  For many couples, a new home also signifies a fresh start that comes with being newly married.  If the two of you decide on buying a new home together talk with a real estate agent about your hopes and dreams for your future house. Remember, that deciding your living arrangements is an important discussion that should be addressed before your wedding, so that you're ready to make the move after yours vows.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Gift Registry

Most engaged couples will set up a wedding gift registry at some point.  This can be tedious and stressful or engaging and fun, depending on how each of you look at it.  It can also be a great learning experience.  I encourage couples to complete their registry together.   In addition to learning more about each other's likes and dislikes, it may also be the first step in creating your home together.   By choosing items that you both like and want, you begin building the home you dreamed of. If you're finding it's hard to choose a time you and your fiance are both available to go to a store to register, do it online.  It's not as interactive, but it will serve it's purpose and teach you a lot.  If it seems like your fiance is dragging his feet and doesn't want to be involved in this aspect of the wedding, then tell him he can't complain when you bring home the pink floral bedding you've been eyeing for the Master Bedroom!  A little humor is always helpful.
In truth, the registry process will teach you the importance of listening and compromising.  You like patterns and he likes solids, so how do you choose?  Each couple will determine how to compromise on their own.  To be successful, each of you will listen to what's most important to the other and work around it.  Or maybe you get to pick out the style and colors for one room and your groom picks out the colors for another room.  However your decision making process goes, it's likely to stick with you through marriage.  Getting it right from the start will be beneficial in the long run

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Keeping the Romance Alive

Most engaged couples are inundated with so many things to do before their wedding, it becomes easy to put important things, like making time for each other, on the back burner.  One of the keys to a successful relationship, however, is making sure the two of you are getting enough quality time together. Whether for Valentine's Day coming up or not,  pick a day in the coming week to plan something romantic with your significant other.  Including your partner in your plans gives you both some responsibility and something to look forward to.  Your plans don't have to be expensive or gift wrapped.  Try something different or something you can do together:  write a letter or a poem to one another; cook dinner together; or share a slow dance to your favorite song.  Make sure you are both happy with your romantic plans and that you share an equal part in it.  This way you can also enjoy your time together with less focus on meeting expectations.