5 Little Secrets Highly Successful Couples Know Before Marriage

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bride and groom walking together

Are you getting married? Congratulations on your engagement! And now you are looking for marriage advice so you can prepare yourself. Good for you! Married life doesn’t come with a manual (I wish it did). After the wedding vows have been said, the doves have been released, and the dress has been put in dry storage, comes marriage.

And as much as we would like to believe marriage is all happily ever after from there on out, it often isn’t. But it can be. All couples need is some awareness and a willingness to act to have a good marriage, even as newlyweds. Here are 5 pieces of marriage advice you need to know before your wedding day.

Here are 5 little things highly successful couples know before marriage:

1. Keep communicating

One of the most surprising things about many marriages is that, after a while, communication just stops. Sure, there is a lot of logistical stuff to discuss — when we are coming home for dinner, where the kids’ soccer games are, and what time we are meeting the in-laws on Sunday. But real communication — expressing feelings, frustrations, hopes, dreams, and longings — often stops.

Marriage is a 24/7 commitment. During those days, and years, lots of issues can arise, issues that can be hurtful and cause resentment. Instead of being addressed immediately, feelings are often left unsaid. It can just seem too scary to go there — to share how we feel and not know what the response will be. So we don't.

And then, before we know it, it’s easier to just not say anything, to do the dishes or spend longer at the office, doing anything to avoid difficult conversations. We do this assuming that the issues will be dealt with eventually (like after Christmas, after Memorial Day, or when the kids go off to college). If you only take one thing away from this article, it’s this: Keep communicating. Your marriage and your life will be better if you do.

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2. Be intimate a lot

Newlyweds often laugh now at the prospect of no longer being intimate with their partner. "That won’t be us," they say. But it very well could be. We know that anger and resentment can build in a marriage because of unexpressed feelings. For a woman, there is no better mood-killer than anger and resentment. And there is no better way to create anger and resentment in a man than the absence of intimacy.



Intimacy is key to maintaining closeness in marriage. Touching, kissing, feeling loved, and being intimate are all a big part of this. A marriage without it is simply a business arrangement. So push past the anger and resentment and make love with your partner. Or, better yet, kill the anger and resentment with communication and happily make love every night. You will be glad you did, both in the moment and long term.

3. Remember to respect each other

There is a concept called the "contempt of the familiar". This contempt occurs when people get to know each other very well — too well perhaps. We know how the other person looks when flossing their teeth, how they leave their pants hanging on the door, how they slurp their coffee, or how they fart in bed.

Perhaps at one time, you thought these things cute but now, as time has gone by, they drive you nuts. They might even repel you. Mutual respect is a key to any successful marriage. Your partner’s mannerisms or ways of doing things might not jive with your own and this can lead to developing a dislike of who they are. And if you don't like someone, it's hard to respect them. Have I mentioned yet the importance of communication? Tell your partner that something they are doing is making it difficult for you to be with them. Don’t just write them off as a lost cause, thinking, "If they loved me, they would do this differently."



We are all human beings trying to do the best that we can and, if you are honest with yourself, you know that they aren't doing any of those things to spite you. They just do them. And can change if asked. Nicely. Give your partner a chance to keep your respect and allow them to keep respecting you in return. And intimacy is way better when you respect your partner, in case you didn't know.

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4. Don’t let your extended family get in the way of your new one

No matter how old we are when we get married, we have many years of experience and tradition with our extended families. Holidays spent just so, toilet paper rolls that roll out on top instead of under, and sarcasm that is part of every family get-together. The extended family is wonderful and part of who we are but the priority now is the new family. The one we are creating with our partner.

Of course, it’s important to respect our family traditions, but if doing so is at the expense of the new relationship, it needs to be addressed. If the birthday tradition on one side is the whole family gathered and lots of gifts exchanged and the birthday tradition on the other side involves quietly celebrating with friends, then a conversation needs to be had. Both sides of the family need to be told, respectfully, that while all family traditions are important, what is important now is how the new family wants to make their traditions. Compromises might need to be made, but it is important that both partners feel like their new life as a couple is their own.

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5. Know that a baby is going to change everything

Having a baby is so exciting. From "starting to try" to nine months of watching it grow, to baby showers and then childbirth, it’s all so wonderful and new, and partners are bound closer than ever! However, one of the most important things to know about marriage is that when the baby is born all bets are off.

Just like when we get married, no one hands us a manual when we become parents. This means that from day one we are flying by the seat of our pants. Women most often immediately change their focus from their husbands to their children. Men are left wondering what happened to their life. Yes, the child is delightful, but dinners together, time with friends, and free time for athletics, are all suddenly gone.

It’s important to be aware that the baby is going to change everything and to prepare and allow for it. Know that everyone is going to be exhausted and that things are going to be messy. The next 18 years are going to be an evolution — and a revolution — like you've never been through before. Commit to making it through those years together. Communicate like you did when you were first married, perhaps even more so, have as much intimacy as you can squeeze into your week, and continue to love and respect each other, even as life gets challenging.

It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. As you do with anything you haven't done before, researching things to know about marriage before your starts is very important. I was married for 20 years and have been divorced for five. I have spent a lot of time reflecting on what went wrong in my marriage.

What I do know is that we, as a couple, got lost in our family. We gave up who we were to please everyone else: our kids, our in-laws, and our friends. We stopped looking at each other with love, talking about our feelings, hugging each other, respecting each other. We were business partners. Our family was a successful business, but our marriage fell apart. I am madly in love with a new man now, one I very much hope to marry. And believe me, I won’t make the same mistakes twice. Marriage is truly a wondrous thing and can be a big part of living the life of your dreams.

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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be. Mitzi's bylines have appeared in The Good Men Project, MSN, PopSugar, Prevention, Huffington Post, and Psych Central, among many others.

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.