Should we get married? 3 Questions to Answer Honestly Before You Say “I DO”
Are you wondering if marriage is the next step for your relationship? As a Gottman-trained relationship counselor for over a decade I’ve definintely seen how the decision to marry your partner starts couples on a path together that may be different from the path they would have taken alone. It can be wonderful, full of comfort and emotional connection. The couple’s I’ve seen make it work have answered these three questions “YES”.
1. When we are worried, afraid, celebrating a success, or confused about a next step to take, do we turn to each other first as best friends and ask for help to sort things out?
Drs. John and Julie Gottman study relationships that last over time and printed their research finding in their book “7 Principles for Making Marriage Work”. They have discovered that a “Sound Relationship House” is built on a strong foundation of friendship. This reasearch is also supported by the work of Sue Johnson and Emotion Focused Couples Therapy where she tells us that couples who are emotionally connected and engaged with each other can reach for their partner and know that their partner is available to them and will respond to them with love and care. When you can answer this questions with a confident “Yes”, then it sounds like you feel comforted in the friendship of your partner and that you are safe in that friendship. And that’s a good thing to carry with you as you consider a bigger commitment to each other.
2. Do we make trustworthiness and commitment to our partner a priority in our relationship and act in ways that benefit our partner?
The walls of the Gottman’s Sound Relationship Model are made up of Trust and Commitment. They describe trust as each partner acting in ways that “maximize benefits” for each other, not just for themselves. In a committed relationship each partner is in the relationship for the long haul. They believe that their relationship is a “lifelong journey” that they will travel together, weathering the storms and bright days of life. When both partners plan to grow old together and to intentionally learn more about themselves and each other, it creates a perspective that will carry the relationship through good times and through hard times. Answering “YES” to the questions of trust and commitment sets realistic expectations that you will be there for each other.
3. Can we have deep, meaningful conversations about our differences, listening to each other to find ways to compromise that considers the needs of both partners?
Relationships that last over time and maintain emotional intimacy don’t get derailed by differences. Sure, perpetual differences show up over time – spender/saver, morning person/night person, tidy/not so tidy. When partners can lovingly accept the differences AND continue to consider how the differences affect their partner, then both work toward getting “better” at the differences, They use humor and ownership of mistakes to repair hurt feelings and work to move closer to meet each others’ needs. Spenders work within the agreed upon boundaries of the couple, and savers relax a bit and budget for more fun. Accepting the differences without judgment and working diligently to meet each others needs helps couples grow. When this is in place, there is less conflict and couples are free to gently remind the other when they are getting off track. Saying “YES” to working out differences is a good indication that couples can maintain the closeness they both desire over time.
These are just three of the quesstions you’ll begin to answer in premarital counseling at Believe, Hope, Inspire Wellness Services LLC. Want to make sure? Give us a call today at 850.450.7223 or make an appointment here https://believehopeinspire.securepatientarea.com/portal/calendar/weeks/and rest easy. Your future is waiting!
P. Dianne Presley, LCSW
Believe, Hope, Inspire Wellness Services LLC
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