Getting married is a big step. Even starting a new relationship with someone is kind of like jumping into the pool feet first. Is there anything you can do to keep a relationship or marriage from ending badly? Is there anything you should know before getting married or starting a new relationship, so you can have the best chance at success?
Love Yourself First
The most important thing you need to do before embarking on a long term relationship or marriage is learning to love yourself first, flaws included. Many of us look for acceptance from others, when we haven't accepted ourselves yet. Unfortunately, we won't ever get the kind of acceptance we crave as human beings from another person unless we've done it ourselves first. Accept who you are, love yourself for who you are and other people will begin to do the same. Seeking outside approval is going to get you nowhere.
Don't Try To Fix Them
The biggest problem in relationships and marriages is that a person doesn't fall in love with someone for who they are right now, they fall in love with who they think this person will be after they are "fixed." Many women try to change their boyfriends, partners and husbands after they've already gotten knee deep in the relationship. Men do it too, but it usually only ends in frustration and the dissolution of the relationship. Don't think of how you can fix or change your partner, or that you'd love them if they just didn't do this one little thing . . . learn to love your partner for who they are right now, not who you think they will be. Long term relationships are difficult, but they always help us grow. Allow your partner to help you grow and vice versa, but recognize the difficulty involved before you jump in. A good, loving, satisfying relationship or marriage is never going to be easy. But nothing that is easy is worth having. Try going to couples counseling before making a huge commitment. Just because you're in counseling doesn't mean anything is wrong in the relationship -- it's also a great way to learn about your partner as well as learn about yourself, and learn about healthy ways to handle problems and disagreements that will inevitably come up in the future.
Don't Stay In A Bad Relationship
If you're in a bad relationship or marriage, don't stay in it "for the kids" or because you believe in sticking it out. Even if there are children involved, chances are, they're just as unhappy as you are in the relationship from having to hear all the fighting and bickering. There is absolutely nothing wrong with moving on from an unhealthy relationship, because often, that is the path that is better for everyone involved and frankly, moving on from an unhealthy or even abusive relationship is the grown up thing to do.
© 2010 Jennifer Hunt and Dan Bartichi