After you get engaged, there is a combined bliss and stressful period while planning for your wedding day. However, those highs and lows of emotions will be followed by a romantic and relaxation phase that is your honeymoon.
During this time, when you're freshly married and enjoying each other's company, whether on vacation or not, it's easy to be lost in the happy bubble and unable to see past it to your reality together. Those few months post-wedding are commonly called the honeymoon period for a reason - with the emphasis on it's a period of time.
Like all good things, this timeframe will eventually end as real-world stressors and day-to-day monotony set in. But, there is a way you can keep the spirit of your honeymoon period alive while you work through the tedium and challenges.
There will be some specific situations and conversations that you'll need to work through together to avoid them becoming huge disagreements that damage your marriage. There are some ways to work through those situations and still keep the honeymoon feeling alive well after it's over. There are eight essential areas you'll want to discuss and work on together as a team.
Work Through Anger and Frustrations Together
It's important to realize that your life together isn't always going to be sunshine and rainbows. People disagree, and people get into arguments. The important thing is not to let your disagreements or arguments infiltrate your day-to-day life.
You should also learn to understand one another's pain points so you can know why your spouse is so angry on a personal level. Once you have that deeper understanding, you can work through those issues and come to an actual resolution. This will also help to prevent the anger from persisting so you can work toward that honeymoon-level happiness.
Decide on Monetary Goals
Nothing puts a damper on the honeymoon vibe, quite like discussing your finances. This is a real pain point for many relationships because, let's face it, combining two different backgrounds is hard enough, but adding money into the mix makes things even harder.
If you and your spouse have two different views on personal finances and budget, you must reach a resolution you can both live with together.
Decide your mutual monetary goals, how much you need to spend on essentials, and what you want to put aside, and for what reasons. Once you have this conversation and a plan is mapped out, you can both breathe easier and work toward those goals together.
Discuss Real Life Responsibilities
To avoid ruining the honeymoon period after the end of your honeymoon, you'll need to have a conversation about domestic expectations. Unfortunately, there are still societal expectations about many domestic responsibilities falling upon the wife.
You need to know what each of you expects from the other regarding these responsibilities and have an honest conversation about splitting chores without turning into a fight.
After having this talk, you can hold each other accountable for what was discussed. The important part is that you do so without hostility, leading to resentment that will keep you from that honeymoon-like feeling.
Continue to Grow and Learn About Each Other
A marriage is a lifelong journey that adapts as time goes on. Who you are, as an individual, will change throughout that journey, and that isn't a bad thing.
While you may think that you and your spouse know everything about each other, you're both still growing as people; the experiences you'll continue to have will cause changes that your spouse will learn about and vice versa.
Again, this is not a bad thing. It means that you'll be continually surprising one another and keeping that feeling of dating alive, which is extremely important in extending the honeymoon period.
Decide on Buying a Home
One of the life events that will mirror the bliss and stress you felt while planning your wedding is when you decide it's time to become a homeowner. This is also why it's essential to talk about finances. You'll want to take the time to formulate a budget.
This will help you to avoid any unpleasant surprises in the home buying process, like finding out you're below the minimum credit score to buy a house. Being rejected in this process will put any marriage through the wringer.
Remember, there are good surprises and bad surprises in marriage. Don't let your decision to buy a home reveal one of the bad ones.
Discuss Having Children
Deciding that you want to have kids is a bigger deal than many people realize. There will be a shift in your relationship when it happens, so it's best to be as prepared as possible.
Much like many other areas, you and your spouse may have different opinions that need to be worked through before moving forward. Among the questions you might want to address:
When would having children ideally happen for you?
Can you realistically afford to have kids?
How many kids do you each want?
What would this mean for your relationship?
What options should you consider if issues are conceiving a child?
Are there family names you would like the child to have?
What type of childcare would you use?
Do you have a support system?
Will one of you stay home?
How will you make up for the loss of income with a stay-at-home parent?
Talk About Life Balance
You and your spouse aren't meant to be together 100 percent of the time. It is essential to both of your sanity that you each create some life balance early on in your marriage.
By having both of you do this, one person won't be waiting on the other, and you'll each have your own activities to occupy your time. This can be as simple as sticking to one night a week where you go out with your friends alone or taking up a hobby that you can have all to yourself.
By having your own things, you're giving yourselves something to talk about when you are together and cherishing that time even more.
Make Quality Time for Each Other
While it's a good idea to have your own activities and interests, you don't want to live completely separate lives and have no time for each other. If you have to, schedule out your time together with dedicated date nights or times where you both stay inside together. Having this time for just the two of you allows you to reconnect in all possible ways and keeps your passion for one another, and thus the honeymoon period, alive and well.
Many couples come to Relationship Therapy because they've lost "that loving feeling." Taking on some of these conversations and remaining aware of your relationship needs will help you move forward, have a stronger marriage, and keep that honeymoon feeling alive!
If you're struggling with keeping the honeymoon going in your marriage, check out our Imago Relationship Workshops and Relationship Therapy. We also have Online Couples Therapy and Online Couples Workshops right now!
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This blog was written by Mary Kay Cocharo, LMFT.
I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in West Los Angeles, California. I have 30 years of experience working with individuals, couples, and families. I have two advanced certifications in working with couples: Imago Relationship Therapy and Encounter-centered Couples Therapy.
I work with spouses and parents to deepen communication, resolve conflict and rediscover the joy of being together. In addition to private sessions in my Los Angeles office, I am also passionate about leading workshops for Engaged Couples. With years of experience in premarital counseling, I am happy to offer an Imago-based workshop entitled, Start Right, Stay Connected. I also facilitate a Weekend Couples Retreat, Over the Bridge, for couples wanting profound transformation. For couples who desire deep, intensive, quick resolution in a private setting, I also offer one and two-day Private Intensives.
I have also been active throughout my career in educating and training students and interns to become practicing therapists. I have taught and supervised at various universities and training sites around Los Angeles. Prior to coming to California, I served as a team therapist and supervisor at Houston Child Guidance Center working with children and troubled adolescents. I have given numerous workshops and presentations, taught graduate courses, and supervised many interns on their way to becoming licensed.
I am an active member of the California Association for Marriage and Family Therapists, Los Angeles Association for Marriage and Family Therapists, IMAGO Relationship Institute, and the Southern California IMAGO Institute. I am a Master Encounter-centered Couples Therapist. I am active in various spiritual settings and community endeavors. I love my profession and truly enjoy helping others to heal, grow, develop a heightened state of well-being and create more love and peace in their lives.
Several years ago, I co-founded The Conversation Group, an organization of like-minded licensed and pre-licensed therapists. We work with you in a very safe and collaborative way to create conversations that open up paths to clarity, insight, and healing which can motivate movement toward the life you desire. Join our Facebook page for daily meditations and healing quotations.