Marriage isn’t easy and anyone who thinks it is has likely already developed a set of skills that make their relationship harmonious. Since everyone develops and grows emotionally at different rates, both individuals in a marriage may not have the same skills. Ideally, people would get their acts together before they tie the knot, but that’s rarely ever the reality of life. Here’s what you need to have and be able to do in order to have a healthy, long-lasting marriage.
- You have to have good communication skills. That’s probably the most critical skill that most people don’t have when they get married. They don’t know how to express their own needs and they don’t know how to talk about someone else’s. Many people don’t even know what they need in a relationship, let alone how to discuss them. Before you get married, try to know yourself well. Get used to talking to friends and family about what you need and opening up about your requirements and desires. If you’re comfortable with these kinds of conversations, communications skills will be easier to use once you’re married.
- You need to know how to compromise and when to do it. Many people will tell you that compromise is part of marriage. This is true, of course, but you need to know when compromise is okay. You shouldn’t be backing down or rolling over on every issue. You shouldn’t compromise on the things you need to be happy. If you don’t want children, you shouldn’t have kids that you don’t want to have and then end up regretting it later. This comes back to knowing yourself. If you know what is really important to you, it will be easier to understand what kinds of things you can compromise on and what you can’t. You should also remember that compromise means both parties are involved. Compromise doesn’t mean one person always giving up things and the other one always getting their way.
- You should learn to resolve conflict. Marriages are rarely ever the picture-perfect relationships that you read about or see in movies. In fact, there’s no such thing as the perfect marriage. Every marriage has conflict. It can be about smaller issues like who does the dishes or what you’re having for lunch. Conflict can be about some pretty big issues as well, though, like whether to move across the country for a spouse’s new job. Conflict resolution is tied to communication. If you can’t communicate well, it will be hard to resolve conflicts. Learn about the different kinds of conflicts and how to resolve them.
- Learn to set boundaries and avoid crossing your partner’s. Boundaries are something that everyone should have, even when they are married. Boundaries can include how you have conversations, when you work on conflicts, or what activities are acceptable in the bedroom. The important thing to remember is that each individual is allowed to set their own boundaries and the other person in the marriage needs to respect them. You must be aware of your partner’s boundaries and be careful not to cross them. These limitations are often personal things. They may come from interactions they have had in past relationships or they might come from fears. Before you get married, encourage your partner to think about and talk about their boundaries. You should do the same.
- You need to learn to show love and appreciation. Once you’re married, you still need to show love and appreciation to your partner. Too often, people get wrapped up in life and forget that their partner needs to feel love, noticed, and appreciated. Neglecting to demonstrate your love for your partner can result in a lot of hurt feelings and misunderstandings. When you show love and appreciation to your partner, you validate their feelings and make them feel important to you. You can validate them in many ways. One of the best ways to do this is simply by being there. When they have a problem or concern do you take time to sit down and really listen to them or do you brush them off and tell them you’ll talk about it “later” and then later never comes?
If you’re already married, it’s not too late to work on developing these skills. Talk to your partner about it and listen to their suggestions. If you’re not married yet, you can work on building skills like these right now. Build these skills in your friendships, at work, and with your family members. You’ll be that much more prepared when you do get married.