Marriage: A Start-Up Guide from a Portland Relationship Counselor

March 22, 2012 by

As a Portland relationship counselor, I’ve helped many couples as they begin the lifelong journey of marriage together. Understanding the commitment you are making before you say “I do” is an important part of the long-term success of your relationship. Why are you getting married? What do you and your partner expect from your relationship?

Make sure you’re entering into it for the right reasons. Be honest with yourself. Are you getting married because you want a baby? Have always dreamed of a fancy wedding? Are afraid no one else will come along who is willing? Or maybe you’re feeling too old to be single, or left out because the rest of your friends are getting married? These reasons won’t stand the test of time.

So what are good reasons to get married? If you are looking for a lifetime companion that you can share with and grow with. If you want to help your significant other to fulfill their dreams. If you are willing to continually learn about your partner’s needs – and to teach him or her about your own. If one or more of those reasons applies to you, you’re off to a good start!

Talk about your future together. Many couples enter into a marriage without ever talking about the big issues like having children, financial goals, dealing with in-laws, and even the division of household chores. You may find you have different visions for the future – but that doesn’t mean it can’t work out. Find compromises now to ensure you both have a happy marriage ahead of you. Having trouble? Consider seeing a Portland relationship counselor to work with you.

Focus on communication. You know those relationship issues that come up now and then? They won’t go away when you get married. In fact, they’re likely to multiply as your lives become more complicated. At the first sign of trouble, some married couples take it as a sign that they aren’t “meant to be.” But the truth is that this is what true love is once you get past the honeymoon stage of the relationship. The difference between couples who succeed and those that end up divorcing is communication. Learn how to handle the smaller conflicts now, and you’ll be better prepared to handle the bigger relationship issues when they come up.

Seek Pre-Marital Help from a Portland Relationship Counselor

I recommend that all couples seek some sort of relationship education before heading down the aisle. By doing so, you’ll ensure that you have the skills and tools you need to avoid serious relationship issues and make good on your commitment. Consider attending a couples workshop held by an experienced Portland relationship counselor.