The main rule for success from dating to marriage is: DON'T CHANGE THE RULES!
It is amazing what transformation in a couple the two little words 'MY husband' and 'MY wife' can bring. There they were, getting on fantastically during the dating process, and suddenly they are married and everything changes. Then the marriage itself is blamed for what happens next.
But what really changes people are three things:
1. The security of having a spouse: People become more comfortable with their dating partners and cease to do the little things which they did on the date to make that person feel wanted and loved. They begin to take the spouse 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 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 for the individuals 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 marriage, 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 feel proud of your new spouse without crowding them.
3. Taking Vows: Marriage 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. Please remember that important fact and keep those expectations at bay. It 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 state, except that you will both feel a little more secure with each other and the love you share will now have the foundation to grow to even greater levels if you both allow it. Getting married allows for the process of slowly getting to know each other in order to gradually work out the best way of benefiting from the new partnership.
©Elaine Sihera (Ms Cyprah) 2011
Emotional Health Adviser
"Respect and love begin with the self. If we have none, how can we give away any?"