Novelty and that fairytale feeling? Check. Check.
So…now what? (deep breath*)
Now it’s time to get real and get busy settling into your new normal.
What’s normal? Normal is learning how to create and sustain lasting love from the mixed up rush of hormones, hearts and flowers, and happily-ever-afters that have served you so far.
Here’s how to begin:
- Build a foundational friendship.
You loved dating, discovering each other’s personality quirks, and delving into the backstories that shape your newly-combined family trees. But the good stuff of friendship starts now. The coming opportunities for sharing space, personal growth and really learning each other is a process. It can’t be rushed, faked, and should never be forgotten for the sake of everyday responsibilities.
Though you may be tempted to put your relationship on the back burner over the years, making it a habit now to pursue your partner daily will create a routine of rapport, and connection, that will provide significant insurance against marital drift.
- Deal with disappointments diligently.
Don’t let your fairytale fantasies fool you. The love of your life, while perfect for you, is not perfect. Soon, both of you will start to notice each other’s flaws, and find out things about each other that bother you. That’s natural, and a good sign that you’re on your way to mature love and healthy tolerance.
Look for ways to empathize with your spouse. Do your best to be kind, give the benefit of the doubt, and promptly share what really gets under your skin. The key is to look for more positive than negative. Remain aware of any resentments that fester, and root them out immediately. Do your best to keep disappointments from defining your spouse. See them simply as opportunities to develop your own relationship brand, based on healthy communication about your mutual needs and expectations.
- Keep compromise and compassion at the heart of conflict.
Compatibility is a wonderful thing. So is healthy conflict. In fact, the ability to deal with conflict well will be invaluable during those times when compatibility succumbs to inevitable differences of opinion. Practice compromise in little ways. Develop the art of generously, and graciously, looking for win-win situations as much as possible. You don’t really want to make losers of either of you.
Actively pursue points of agreement, and place more value on your connection, than scoring points during arguments. Keeping respect and commitment foremost will help keep compassionate compromise an important value, whatever the conflict.
- Stay sexy… but invest even more in intimacy.
Sex is important. Don’t give it up. Just add layers of emotional and spiritual investment, to promote intimacy, and increasing levels of closeness. This way, sex remains a fun reflection of your union, instead of acting as the only intimate connection you share. Look for ways to be intimate. Make unbreakable date nights in uptown Oakland at Hopscotch for homemade donuts and custard cream. Commit to daily couch time for deeper level conversation and affection.
Keep sex spicy by actually talking about it. Imagine how deeply personal and incredibly special your sex life will be, if you make a habit of sharing what you like with each other, what you’d like more of, and how much you enjoy your intimate way of coming together. Prize your loving connection and protect it.
The wedding and honeymoon are history.
Now, the real love story begins.
Marriage is a master skill. Thankfully, you have a lifetime to work on it.
The normalcy of your shared life should be about intentional effort and shoring up a solid foundation.
Ready for the relationship you’ve dreamed of? Check.