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Expect Adjustments After Saying "I Do"
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- No matter how well a couple knows each other, some adjustments are expected in the first months and years of marriage.
Dr. Louise Davis, child and family development specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said realistic expectations as a couple enters a marriage are important in making all the adjustments to each other.
"Many of these expectations should begin with yourself. Being the right person is as important as finding the right person. Are you willing to make compromises or are you always expecting your mate to make the concessions?" Davis said.
"Getting engaged and married is such an optimistic time in a relationship. Sometimes marriages go through different stages beginning with the honeymoon stage," Davis said. "These feelings help in the initial adjustment period. Little things probably won't bother either person as much as they will later."
After the honeymoon stage, couples expectations are deflated and they begin facing reality. The daily routine and stresses begin to reveal each partner's faults and weaknesses.
"This is the stage when couples really start living together and learning how to work on their marriage. Effective communication, which includes active listening, is essential for the couple to grow together and work through any problems," Davis said. "Couples with prolonged problems may need to consider a family counselor."
After they adjust to the reality of each other's human qualities, couples begin to settle into their marriage.
"At this point, couples begin to accept each other as they are and develop a deeper love and grow into a more accepting relationship," Davis said. "Some of those trivial faults are again less important and overlooked most of the time."
Many myths about marriage often distort a couples view of their relationship. Davis provided several of the most common misconceptions:
- If he/she loved me, he/she would change.
- Problems before the wedding will be erased after the ceremony.
- You marry the person, not their family -- in-laws don't have that much to do with marital success.
- Great sex will make a happy marriage.
- Having children improves a bad marriage.
- Marriage makes a person more mature.
"These misconceptions can have long-term, negative effects on a marriage. It's important to enter marriage with your eyes wide open without any delusions," Davis said. "Premarital counseling often helps expose potential attitude problems, but couples still need to remember that a successful marriage takes work. But it's worth it."