There are so many obstacles that could spoil a great friendship, where do we begin? However, I have only one piece of advice to take a couple from dating to a successful commitment or marriage: DON’T CHANGE THE DATING RULES!
It is amazing the transformation in a couple that the words ‘MY Husband’, ‘MY Wife’ or ‘MY Partner’ can bring. There they were, two people getting on fantastically during the dating process, and suddenly they are married, or living together, and everything changes, and then the marriage itself is blamed for what happens next. But what really changes people and affect a new relationship are three things:
1. The security of having a spouse: People become more comfortable with their new partners and cease to do the little things they did on the date to make that person feel wanted and loved. They begin to take the other person for granted and become complacent in how they treat their partner. Resist the temptation to sink into complacency and security. Always keep the relationship fresh. Reciprocate that person, affirm and value them as though you are still dating, and take nothing for granted. Yes, one can feel secure at not having to look for anyone else. But having a wife/husband or partner is not the end of the loving or appreciation process. It is just the beginning.
2. Possessiveness: Just because you might have a wife or husband does not mean you own a human being. You weren’t cloned at birth. You are still two independent, feeling, thinking people with your own aspirations, emotions and feelings. Expect to share a lot as a couple, but not everything in your lives. Give each other space to continue to develop and you won’t feel so claustrophobic or dependent on each other. Furthermore, you will always have something new to experience with each other. Acknowledge and respect the two people in the relationship, the same two who were dating. Nothing has changed from that time except the public commitment you made regarding a private love between you. You can love and feel proud of your new spouse without crowding them.
3. Taking Vows: Marriage or long term commitment shouldn’t change anything between a couple because it is simply a public ritual to confirm a private fact; a public affirmation of the feelings felt by the couple. It shouldn’t change the way they act towards each other, in reality. However, the act of marriage seems to affect a lot of people emotionally, especially in perception. They believe they have to change, to become more controlling, possessive or restrictive in their behaviour. Worst of all, expectations of partners begin to become unrealistic. The same expectations during the dating process should be carried over into marriage. Pointless expecting someone to change their behaviour or behave differently once they have tied the knot. The same person you have been dating will remain the same after the vows, and will develop even more into their personalities, too. Keeping those expectations at bay will save a lot of disappointment and frustration later on.
The main thing to remember is that whatever worked for you both during the dating stage will work perfectly well during the marriage or commitment state, except that you will both feel a little more secure with each other. The love you share will also have the foundation to grow to even greater heights if you both allow it by respecting each other, loving each other, giving each other the space to grow, and affirming one another at every opportunity.