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1. Put Each Other First
Let's just state the obvious that can get neglected while phasing out of dating and into married life. You simply must
put each other first. Gentlemen, say a figurative goodbye to your mother and likewise for you brides out there who have a special bond with your father or even a lifelong bestie.
It's time to communicate, make decisions, and make your spouse your number one priority.
Example: It's easy to jump the gun and make decisions on your own. When chatting about holiday plans with your family you can say something like, "That sounds really fun, I need to talk to Mike first before we decide on anything." This will set the tone to those you love that your new spouse is your priority, but in a subtle way.
2. Be Emotionally Mature
If you commit to this, you'll set a strong foundation for your marriage.
Example: If you're really frustrated that household duties are not being combatted as a team it will speak volumes if you address him /her respectfully (no matter how annoyed you are) through conversation rather than losing your marbles.
Photographers: Tara Libby Photography
Not everything is worth a fight. Well that is our third tip. Choose your battles wisely and sparingly. You don't want your time of newly-wedded bliss to feel like a constant juggle. Find an easy solution that doesn't involve a fight for things you just can't stand.
Example: Once there was a couple where the husband squeezed his toothpaste from the bottom up, very carefully, not to waste any... and the wife squeezed it in the middle and didn't put much thought into it. This drove the Mr. bonkers and rather than a constant indifference, they each have their own toothpaste now - an easy solution.
Photographers: Feather & Twine
4. Treat Your Partner How They Want To Be Treated
You know that age old saying to treat someone the way you would want to be treated? Yeah... when it comes to your spouse, throw that out the window. The truth is that you are both very different, so it is a must to
treat your spouse the way they want to be treated. The things you enjoy, appreciate, and love are much different than the things they enjoy, appreciate, and love. This is where the
5 Love Languages come into play- which if you have not yet read, we highly recommend.
Example: You may love receiving gifts just because, like flowers, and you try to gift something sweet to your husband or wife and it does not resonate with them. You can't figure out why it doesn't wow them, like it would wow you. That is because you are trying to treat them how you love to be treated. Find out what they enjoy and appreciate, then commit to keeping that in mind.
Photographers: Brook Shultz Photography
5. Just laugh a lot.
Be open to silly moments even in the most serious of times. Embarrassment, frustration, sadness, anger, or feeling distant to your partner are all things that can be shut down in an instant by laughter. Research has proven that laughter is good for your health.
It's beneficial to your marriage to be able to laugh together, at each other, and in general. Taking life too seriously can bring resistance to the joy that comes with laughter!
Example: You slip and fall off your chair at work. Duh, you are embarrassed and want to take it to the grave with you but don't be afraid to share your silly story with your spouse at the dinner table and get a good giggle going. You'll turn unfortunate clumsiness into bonding time.
Photographers: Nicole Clarey Photography
6. Make It A Habit To Receive Rather Than Listen
When you listen to your spouse you hear sounds. When you receive what your spouse is saying you are able to focus on the words as well as the emotion, connotation, and context behind how they feel. If you have made a habit of doing this in every day life, when an important or "hard to have" conversation comes along it is that much more comfortable to communicate feelings to each other.
It seems silly, but focused and active listening will play a huge role in a strong bond.
Example: You both have been at work all day, and when you get home the to-do list is waiting to be done. You might be able to multitask and listen to how his or her day was, but if you pause to focus on a conversation for even just a few minutes you will have received a lot more than you would have from a long conversation while cleaning the kitchen floors.
See more of this rose garden wedding
here captured by
This Girl Nicole Photography.
Photographers: Nicole Baas Photo
7. Crave The Feeling of Camaraderie
Create a playbook for a team of two. Look at the big picture in life and set realistic and time-conscious goals. Set them in all areas of your life - finances, family, careers, travel, health, and retirement. You'll feel that sense of closeness and companionship while setting them.
Setting goals acknowledges that you couldn't do it alone. As you reach those goals there is no better feeling than reaching your goals together.
Example: Finances can be overwhelming. You may both want a new car, a vacation to Hawaii, to remodel your kitchen, do some landscaping in the yard, pay off existing debt... make a list and rank importance of these wants to put in perspective what you both decided is appropriate for now, the next year, in 5 years, 10 years, and later. A brainstorm session of how you can save money and tackle your first goal will get the ball rolling.
8. Actively Choose Acceptance Over Criticism
This is rather huge, and easier said than done. There is a chance you are more critical than accepting right now and don't even know it. Establish the idea that you are going to outweigh all of your spouse's good characteristics, achievements, and talents over the bad. Let the good carry more weight with you- you'll be so glad you did and you'll want your spouse to do the same.
Example: It's so easy to point a finger and say (or think), "I wish you did this... You never do that... or, Why can't you be like this...?". These thoughts will eat at you and eat at your marriage. Thoughts like, "You are so awesome for doing that... I'm so proud of you for accomplishing this... I love it when you..." will flourish your love for him or her, feed your happy marriage, and lift up your spouse.
See more of this Flower Filled Brunch Wedding
Photographers: Melina Wallisch
9. Find A Balance
Ladies, you know how some guys think their social life will come to an end as soon as marriage begins? Our next tip attempts to prove them wrong!
We totally get it. You want to spend every waking moment of free time with your new husband, but think long term. The healthiest thing you could possibly do is still maintain all your close friendship and let him do likewise by having a guys night more often than not at all.
Example: You'll definitely need time together, you'll need time apart, and you'll need time together with others. Make a point to do date night, girls/guys night, and double dates in proportion that both keep your social needs met as a couple and as individuals. PS- your single friends will be way less likely to peg you as unavailable just because you are now a wife if you can keep a good balance. here.
Photographers: Rachel Havel
10. Expect Some Bad Weather
For some reason there are still notions out there that once you wed, life is simply dandelions, lollipops, and happiness. Be realistic and
expect some bad weather. It's not the bad weather that will trump you, it is how you react to the bad weather that will either strengthen your relationship or not.
The more you understand that things won't always be perfect the easier it will be to deal with adversity in stride.
Example: Your dishwasher breaks the same day your spouse gets in an accidental fender bender. Money is already tight and you are about to lose it. If you understand that things like this happen you may have been prepared with a small emergency savings. Being thankful that nothing life-threatening happened to your significant other. Moving on, as if nothing in life can get you down. We aren't saying a baby panic attack isn't acceptable, but being able to see the big picture during that baby panic attach is key.
Photographers: Jenny Tong Photography