1. Don’t tell everyone right away.
In the age of social media, engaged couples tend to tell the world right away. It’s so important to have a moment to take in all the excitement. Once you tell the world, you’ll be become focused on conversations with friends and family. Take a day or two to “share the news” with one another. Cherish this incredible, life-altering decision; reconnect and remember why you said “yes’” in the first place.
2. It’s the two of you against the world.
Find a mutual voice and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. It’s the two of you against the world. Anyone who tries to come in between you — cut them out. It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend, relative or anyone. If they speak negatively about you or any of your mutual decisions, or if they meddle in your relationship, they are poisoning your relationship — with the exception of your parents (more on that below).
3. Don’t let your guard down.
When we’re dating or courting, we usually have our guard up. We make sure to look our best, and are careful with what we say and do. Once engaged, many couples will let their guard down. That’s it, we’re engaged, “it’s over!” It’s not over — it’s actually just getting started. It’s even more important to look and and act your best; now it really matters.
4. Don’t get into in-law fights — it’s not worth it.
There are always lots of emotions surrounding engagements, especially when it comes to parents. Some parents have difficulty separating from their child. Their reaction can be greatly eased if there is a “weaning” process. Both spouses should allow for a gradual separation. If a parent calls ten times a day, it shouldn’t be considered meddling. Gradually, the frequency of contact should be decreased without it being traumatic. Your parents can actually give you good advice, and most importantly, never speak negatively about your in-laws.
5. Don’t confide in your friends. It’s detrimental to your future.
Many singles have BFFs; their friends are their closest confidantes. The most important element of a successful marriage is trust. Real trust will take years. But you have to start now. You need to move your confiding to your spouse and away from your friends. This may be tough at first. It’s so much easier to talk to your friends, especially because things come up when you’re engaged. Don’t do it! Get used to talking to your spouse. (If there are issues with your future spouse, go with a trusted professional first and foremost).
6. You don’t need to know about all of your partners exes.
Even though it’s an “important” part of your past, it’s not healthy for a budding relationship. It simply wasn’t meant to be, so leave it at that. Certainly do not praise an ex at length. The less said, the better. Talking about your previous relationships will often make your partner feel jealous or like they’re in some sort of contest. Your fiancé should never feel like you are comparing them to someone else.
7. Be open and honest.
If you are engaged, you should not feel for a moment that you need to lie to your fiancé. You need to start your relationship on a strong foundation. Being open and honest is critical. If you’re lying now, it’s bound to fire back in your face and cause issues later.
8. Go for premarital counselling.
Your “love” may be good for the honeymoon, but it’s not the main ingredient for a long-lasting and healthy relationship. Every couple needs a box of tools, whether it’s active listening and communication, finances, having kids, reconciling different styles of argument, or sexual expectations. A good premarital therapist or program should be able to teach you these tools and much more. You have no problem going for 10 dress fittings for a one-day event, right? I highly recommend going for 10 premarital sessions, which will help for a lifetime.
9. You need a therapist or clergy member you can be totally open with.
The first 18 months of marriage are the hardest. Most divorces happen during that time. Most couples will say that it was small issues that turned into big issues. Once issues arise after marriage, many couples find it strange or a bruise to their compatibility to start going to therapy. By having a therapist or clergy-member ready before you get married — someone who knows you well and who you can be open with — you’ll have the confidence to actually go to someone and take care of the small issues before they become big ones. I would recommend a therapist or clergy member who is married and really believes in marriage. You know they are doing their job if they help bring you together in a way that you couldn’t do it yourself, and if you leave each session feeling re-energized.
10. Fighting doesn’t mean you’re not meant for each other.
Wedding preparations certainly bring out the best in people (not!) I’ve heard engaged couples say they’re calling off the wedding over a fight — about the wedding! Couples fight and that’s okay. Use the above tips to figure it out.
Originally published at https://www.cbc.ca.