Question from Tara in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.: "My fiance and I dated for seven years and we're getting married in March. We've lived in different states for the past four years and are excited to be soon living together. What's the best way to make sure we don't take our time together for granted and what challenges should we look out for as we readjust to being together all the time?"
Kimberly's Answer: It can be scary standing at the doorway of a new chapter of your life. But don't worry, there isn't anything coming you can't handle! Just focus your energy on creating a fun and loving relationship. With this good foundation, you will be able to handle any issues that arise.
Here are some principles that are proven to make awesome relationships…
1) Be a Giver:
Problems happen, in relationships, when you are more worried about what you're getting than what you're giving, this triggers the other person to be worried about what they're not getting and pretty soon… no one is getting anything because no one is giving. If you want an amazing marriage, look for ways to give more than you get. Like the line in that Michael Buble song ("Haven't Met You Yet"). Send romantic text messages or think of things you can do to lighten your spouse's load and make life easier. Once a week, ask your spouse, "How can I give to you better, to make you feel more loved?" Then, do what they ask. This will create a relationship that just gets better with time.
2) Be Fun:
There is no rule that says you stop having fun when you get married. As a matter of fact, you can have more fun, be more spontaneous and laugh more often, if that's the kind of relationship you want. Don't just spend time together - spend fun, spontaneous, happy time together. Don't just have a date night once a week - have a SMOKIN' HOT date once a week. Make being married to you fun!
3) Be Affectionate:
Hold hands out in public, cuddle for a few minutes every morning and night, sit on the same side of the booth at dinner, make out on occasion and have sex as often as possible. (If you are having fun and focused on giving … your sex life will naturally be amazing.) If you are doing these three things, your relationship can handle whatever challenges come.
One possible challenge to watch out for would be that you are used to a certain amount of freedom in the relationship up to this point. So make sure you communicate openly about how your expectations have changed once you are living together full time.
When issues show up, just communicate. Ask your spouse if you can talk about concerns, ask him how he feels about issues first and then ask permission to share how you feel. Open, loving communication is the key. You may want to read my last advice column on how to have tough conversations for more tips.
Congratulations on the marriage and the fun future you have ahead!