When you get engaged, inevitably your mind quickly becomes encompassed by things such as guest lists and table plans, dresses and shoes, flowers and cake. Of course all of these things are important to pulling off a beautiful wedding, but what are you doing to make sure you pull off an even more beautiful marriage?
A impending wedding has a bit of a habit of bringing things that you might not be completely happy with in your relationship to the forefront of your mind. While no relationship is perfect, thinking about spending the rest of your life with someone can make you start to question if your relationship is ‘normal’.
One of the things I hear again and again from brides is phrases like “Oh I love him and can’t wait to marry him but I wish he wanted to be more involved in the wedding/ he’d spend less time on his computer/ we had more sex…” If there are things that have been niggling you over the years that have been easy to sweep under the carpet before, you might start to question whether they are more then just mild irritations when FOREVER is on the horizon.
It’s quite an old-fashioned idea, but just before Gareth and I were married we took part in a marriage course. When we were informed that we had to do one in order to get married at the church we had our eye on, I’m not going to lie, I was less than enthusiastic. I was annoyed that we had to give up one night a week for a whole month to go and talk about, I assumed, the outdated views of the Anglican Church on what makes a good marriage. I mean, we’d lived together for over a year, how different was marriage really going to be?
We went to the first session with dragged feet and closed minds, but we were pleasantly surprised at how wrong both of our expectations and assumptions were. We’ve now been married for seven years, but regularly think about many of the topics we were given the opportunity to discuss during the course and I hand-on-my-heart believe that it was one of the best things we’ve ever done for our relationship.
Not only did it give us the space to think and talk about our expectations of marriage, but we also learnt about the Five Love Languages. Pioneered by Gary Chapman in 1995, the concept outlines the five ways to express and experience love. It states that everyone feels and acknowledges love different ways, and to make sure you’re communicating it in a way that means the most to your partner, you need to know what “languages” those are for them. It’s quite normal to have more than one but the key is to understand what they are for each other.
The five love languages are:
♥ Words of affirmation
♥ Acts of service
♥ Receiving gifts
♥ Quality time
♥ Physical touch