Plan on getting married sometime soon? Are you already married and thinking about divorce? Yes, two very dynamic questions and after 20+ years of marriage – these are the top 10 Serious Secrets for a Successful Marriage I would’ve begged my older self to reveal to me 20-some odd years ago. In fact, I believe the older me would’ve also enlightened the younger me with 10 Bonus Why Didn’t We Think of That helpful hints to ponder before getting married too.
If you decide to ignore any of these 10 resourceful and potentially marriage-saving fundamentalsâ¦ good luck in your marriage! ?
Sometimes, #IToldYouSo just doesnât quite cut it.
Maybe I wouldn’t have listened to my older self… but who knows ??ââï¸. Getting married is a huge deal and if you want to stay married… just skimming over my advice is detrimental to your long-term relationship! And here’s 10 reasons why – from a Non-sexual Intimacy Expert in Love LanguagesÂ® and Intuitive Communications, Coach Andi.
Getting Married is More Than Loving Someone for A Lifetime, Especially if You Are Not A Virgin
Definitely pin this one:
Insecurities, doubts, feelings of unworthiness, unforgiveness in your heart, hurt from others, slander, emotional pain, and even physical scars can carry itself over into your newfound relationship if you plan on getting married, especially if you are not a virgin. If you’re like me and doin’ what everyone else is doing, feeling good and having sex before a committed marriage relationship, take REALLY good notes on these tips. If you want to unpack and burn that burden-bearing baggage you are potentially lugging into your marriage, you’re in the right place.
Meet your GTS Non-sexual Intimacy & Intuitive Communications Expert, Coach Andi. She mentors married female entrepreneurs to increase the non-sexual intimacy in their marriages so they can have conversations that donât feel like theyâre being stabbed in the back and have an even deeper emotional connection with their husbands… forever.
10 Things to Consider Before Getting Married – The “Serious” Stuff
- Discover & Discuss Love LanguagesÂ®
- Financial Planning / Bank Accounts
- Family Planning – Husband-Wife duo vs. Kids
- Consistent Dating Patterns
- Passwords & Email Sharing
- Spiritual Truths & Commitments / Unconditional Prayer Time
- Handling Lies / Cheating
- Emotional Boundaries
- Understanding Communication Styles
- Sex & Desire
- Surrender & Vulnerability
Let’s dive deeper into each one, shall we?
1) Discover & Discuss Love LanguagesÂ®
First things first…how do you need to be loved by another human? What makes you feel loved by another human?
If you don’t know or haven’t fully dived into the ocean of Love LanguagesÂ® by Gary Chapman yet, don’t get married until you do! But, here’s a shortcut for you, take the 5 Love Language’sÂ® Quiz and make sure you understand your unique love needs. The first step to getting married and sharing a life with your spouse, is knowing exactly how to love them. Don’t wing it folks… just don’t.
Now that you’ve discovered your Love LanguageÂ® and hopefully your spouse-to-be has as well (and if you are already married, this still applies), you MUST tell them HOW TO LOVE YOU.
It baffles the heck out of me how often I hear women say (that I have personally coached) he should know how to love me. And I ask, “Well, did you tell him?”
“No. He should just know by now.” *
Discuss your results from the quiz, discuss them again, and tell each other how y’all are going to apply them. This means, OVER-communicate exactly what your unique love-receiving style is to your spouse. There’s no guessing needed. There’s no mind-reading required. If you are getting married to the man or woman of your dreams, then love THEM enough to TELL THEM how you need (yes, need) them to love you for the rest of your lives together.
* Usually when I hear this… the woman has lost the feeling of safety around their spouse. They no longer feel safe enough to be vulnerable to share what they need from their husbands. This is why we’ll talk vulnerability below.
2) Financial Planning / Bank Accounts
Time to get real; who’s the spender and who’s the saver in the relationship? I’m biased to Dave Ramsey’s teachings if you aren’t sure y’all are on track to saving millions of dollars (yes, literally) by retirement age (roughly around 65 years of age). If there’s a spender – find out WHY. If you are overly frugal – find out WHY.
You both should plan a healthy saving/spending lifestyle that doesn’t leave you in debt up to your earballs well into your 80’s nor should you live without some fun in your life only to die on a mountain of cash.
Excessive spending may be a sign of psychological and/or emotional abuse/trauma. As a former and recovering spender in the relationship, I was looking for satisfaction and pleasure endorphins, something I felt that I wasn’t getting from my spouse, my God, or life in general. So I bought stuff. It didn’t satisfy me for long and it caused a lot of strife (and debt) in our lives.
I was feeling void of spiritual purpose, emotional connection, and love – so I spent money to fill the void – justifying my spending habits with nonsensical excuses.~Coach Andi
If you are afraid of having money talks before getting married, thinking “they’ll come to their senses after we’re married” – think again. Getting married doesn’t shift a destructive pattern of over-spending (or under-spending to the extreme), it just gives the Spender MORE excuses to spend money on I’m-no-longer-single things. Get honest with each other, take financial classes, and find out who or what caused a void in the Spender’s life.
Being too frugal can be just as damaging. You may have the money you need and then some, but if it’s only used to pay bills, buy ONLY the basic necessities and you keep saying “we’re saving for an emergency”… the emergency is gonna be your divorce! Seek a reliable financial strategy BEFORE getting married which will allow you to prosper while keeping your relationship primed for both security and pleasure – money can help with both.
Use money as a tool, not as an excuse.
3) Family Planning – Husband-Wife duo vs. Kids
Be fruitful and multiply.
It literally took 14 years and 7 kids after getting married to finally TALK about whether or not to have more kids. We were both too scared to talk about it for fear of resentment, rejection, and fighting. Don’t do this. Talk about children and how you will defend or not defend your spouse in front of them.
Thinking About Babies? Think About This.
- Are you surrendering to God’s Will and opening your womb to His plan, no matter what?
- Are you on chemically-controlled birth control medications & have you BOTH been consistent and open with its schedule?
- Are you waiting for a specific financial status or timeline?
Getting married and starting a family when you are “Financially Ready” is NOT a status. It’s an excuse to avoid talking about having or not having kids (guys – don’t even try it). BE specific. Do you need to make a minimum of $40K/ year after taxes? Do you want five years of “Alone Time” before growing your family? Be specific and be honest.
- Are you BOTH agreeable on a “number” of kids, and if that changes, are you willing to discuss it (because you realize birthing/pregnancy wasn’t what you imagined)?
- Are you IGNORING what your family, parents, and friends are saying about your fertility? (The answer should be YES)
- Are you going to schedule sex because kids will make you EXHAUSTED? Exhaustion is NOT an excuse not to enjoy your spouse.
Once kids are in the mix, are you in agreement that your spouse will come before your child? Now… there’s soo much debate on this but in a nutshell, it DOESN’T mean you ignore your child’s needs for your spouse. No…not at all, that’s like child-abuse…
Let me give you an example. If a child goes to Mom and she says “no” to a request, Dad should NOT take the child’s side and go against his beloved’s decision. He can disagree, of course, but he should always back his wife’s decision (discuss in private if it should change), and likewise… woman, back your husband’s decision in front of the kids and demonstrate that you are ONE and your spouse comes first.
Now, if you don’t mind being disrespected in front of the kids by your spouse and y’all allow it because you don’t think it’s a big deal … by all means… GOOD LUCK raising respectful human beings when your spouse treats you like that after getting married and having kids! #monkeyseemonkeydo
4) Consistent Dating Patterns
“The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret.”â Henny Youngman
Which means… keep learning more and more about your spouse. Even after 20+ years, I still learn something new about my Jeff that I never knew before getting married and it’s freakin’ exciting!
We DID date and get baby sitters, but what we could’ve done differently is to date within our means. I’m a luxury girl. I don’t do Applebee’s, Five Guys, or even Red Lobster. No… I’m all about the no jeans/t-shirt dining places where $35+/plate or eating Ã la carte is expected. Um, yeah, I wish that I had been content with a homemade picnic in the backyard with a $10 bottle of wine.
The financial stress of “dating” didn’t help our relationship. It was nice, for sure, but it was also a straining trend.
Date your spouse within your means and focus on unraveling the secrets that will make you love them even more…long after the honeymoon is over.
5) Passwords & Email Sharing
What the ? do you have to hide??
If you plan on getting married and either one of you is NOT a virgin… you need to share passwords. And if you are virgin(s)… this is more than likely a no-brainer for you and you shouldn’t argue this point at all! Men, sorry not sorry, but your woman more than likely doesn’t fully trust you. One or more past sexual partners have likely broken trust and commitment boundaries with your spouse, inhibiting vulnerability and spurring distrust.
Alleviate that distrust and open up your passwords and email to them whenever they please as soon as you both have decided to make the commitment to getting married, no matter what.
It’s simple – share your life, emails, social media, all of it. You have nothing to hide from your future beloved… if you do, you’re not ready to be married.~Coach Andi
6) Spiritual Truths & Commitments / Unconditional Prayer Time
Meditation and alone time with one another and by yourself.
I’m a Christian, so that means Jesus is my Savior, prayer is essential in my life, and love is paramount. I also have a commitment to God and myself to daily walk in His ways and continually strive to serve Him and become a better version of myself for Him, my Jeff, my kids, and my community.
Jeff has also made this choice. Though we both know God, we certainly didn’t plan for our alone time and prayer time before getting married or even afterward. We both struggled soo incredibly bad with our own walk with Christ, which was clearly evident in the early years of our marriage. When we “tried” to come together to pray, it was awkward and weird and forced.
Develop your OWN ritual of prayer and meditation and invite your future beloved to join you regularly, even before getting married.
7) Handling Lies / Cheating
Discuss it. You are GOING to lie to your spouse. Your spouse is GOING to lie to you. We’re imperfect humans, so accept that and discuss how lies make you feel. Empathize with one another and already decide if you are willing to FORGIVE them when it happens. This is an accountability act towards your commitment to one other. Respect that when YOU are the one caught lying.
You can forgive and keep loving your spouse – but you don’t have to keep accepting repeated bad behaviour.~Coach Andi
No one “plans” to cheat. I will be the first to tell you, that I was NOT that kind of girl. Yet, when an old boyfriend came a knocking…
I never even cheated on boyfriends… I’d call and break up with them first then go out on a date with someone else! lol… Again, no one plans to cheat.
Early in our marriage, Jeff and I talked about ‘forgiving’ an instance of infidelity, because we both thought we’d NEVER, EVER stray from our commitment, so why wouldn’t we say we’d forgive each other.
Unfortunately, I did cheat. It was multiple times with my first boyfriend from high school. Somehow, Jeff forgave me. The talk years earlier about ‘forgiving’ infidelity didn’t keep us together, it was God. Jeff understood the baggage we both brought into our marriage and that the commitment of marriage was ultimately more important than his pride.
If you fear your spouse cheating and claim to have ZERO tolerance for it, consider this… if you aren’t married yet and you are currently in a sexual relationship (and you love Jesus) you’re committing adultery right now. You might be sleeping with someone else’s spouse to be. You’re cheating and lying to Christ, Boo.
So… yeah, forgive yourself and you know what… maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to divorce IF the unfortunate event of an affair or excessive lying does come to pass.
I hate lies more than anything because it ripped my heart out over and over again…yet, I forgave myself.~Coach Andi
8) Emotional Boundaries
I’ve NEVER been in a physically abusive relationship, but I have been the product of emotional abuse and the perpetrator of emotional abuse. To my spouse, my kids, and even some friends. People who emotionally abuse others are always hurting themselves in some form or fashion.
I could go on and on describing the symptoms of emotional abuse, but if it’s happening to you, it won’t stop with you. Getting married to someone who is emotionally abusive (or it’s yourself – think about CONSTANTLY negative thoughts and you tend to tell others about how they need to improve on something or you tend to dominate them with your words and actions) doesn’t stop with you. It ends with your kids.
GET HELP – and talk about any feelings of disrespect, discomfort, or feelings of unworthiness (like the constant thought it’s not that bad). THAT is a sure sign of emotional abuse in the relationship. Address it, have a third-party relationship expert coach you through it because I bet 89% of the time… you know something is off but you can’t quite put your finger on it and it has now become your “normal”. Donât become ânumbâ to this. Itâs extremely destructive and your children WILL pick up on it.
Get with an intuitive relationship coach before getting married and they’ll be able to spot it within the first 5 minutes! That’s how obvious it is to people who are experts with relationships and body language.
Boundaries arenât keeping out the one you love, you are keeping out behavior you don’t love.~Coach Andi
9) Understanding Communication Styles
If you understand communication styles better, youâll begin to realize why people say the things they say. If I had known this, I wouldâve realized my husband-to-be was prone to manipulation and submission in a very self-destructive way.
Take a moment to digest the five communication styles before getting married, because if you can optimize your communication styles now… you wonât have to later during divorce proceedings.
We can be so evil with our words but we donât have to be when we are consciously aware of what our words are saying.~Coach Andi
10) Sex & Desire
Sex is a pleasurable gift God gave to humanity. ??Thank you! However, the profound deep and emotional ties beyond physical pleasure are indescribable. God knew why He wanted it protected and reserved for only marriage. We donât have to know why – but if you arenât a virgin, you probably feel why (granted you are a Christian) now.
I certainly did.
In my book, He Said Stay – How to Trust & Obey In the Midst of a Suicidal Storm, playing the worldâs game of experiencing sex before marriage became a game of survival. Who wants to live day in and day out surviving?? I want to thrive without any hindrances holding me back from true love and fulfillment. However, before getting married, I was too naive and selfish to consider anything else.
So, if you arenât a virgin, really sit down with your Betrothed and talk about your expectations for sex.
Do headaches count? What if someone is too tired? If you arenât âgetting enoughâ will one of you seek out porn? Is that okay with your spouse? If you are a virgin, these âtypicalâ marriage-sabotaging issues may not apply as this is something that âmostâ virgin couples can naturally experience together (but still talk about it) without the background noise of past lustful relationships.
Getting married gives you sexual freedom to enjoy with one another for sure, but itâs also a large part of having that desire for your spouse and for your spouse only. Having multiple sexual partners before getting married may compromise this area. What happens if you are not physically attracted to your spouse anymore? Will you seek pleasurable desire elsewhere as you did before getting married since you have already had multiple partners?
Before getting married, I wish we had addressed porn issues, looking at other women lustfully, and the desire for strip clubs because that was the ânorm â before and after we got married. I wish we addressed the fact that giving myself to another sexually wasnât completely healed. It didnât end or resolve itself just because we were married.
No one plans to cheat, just like you didnât plan on denying your spouse sex more often than not or finding your spouse unattractive in just a few short years.~Coach Andi
(BONUS) Surrender & Vulnerability
No one wants to surrender to anybody. I mean, it sounds pretty weak-sauce to surrender, doesnât it? Like you have to give up some sort of power or your will and then suffer for it. Well, hate to burst your negative bubble on what surrender means in this context, but if you look at this way – a way that empowers your relationship if you are getting married, amazing things are about to come blessedly into your life by surrendering.
When you surrender to giving up your pain, lust, hurt, mistrust, and any lingering unforgiveness does âsurrenderingâ sound weak now…or empowering?
You see, it literally took an act of God for me to fall to my knees and surrender to His will.
I surrendered my infidelity.
I surrendered my lust.
I surrendered my lies.
I surrendered my obsessions over suspicions that werenât true.
I surrendered my pain of self-sabotaging previous (and even current) relationships.
If I knew the power of surrender before getting married, we’d have emulated a Hollywood Power Couple beginning Day 1.~Coach Andi
Surrendering isn’t easy, but it’s not difficult either. If you are in a mindset of giving yourself over to unconditional love – it’s immensely easier. Make sure you know of a trusted advisor specializing in intimate communication and emotional healing that you trust. Vulnerability is the birthing pains of surrendering. Once you realize the miracle after the emotional pain (and let’s be honest – facing our own demons, our mistakes, our hurt, our past, our insecurities are hard and it feels emotionally painful), the intimate boundaries you incorporate into your life gives you the tools to surrender AND be vulnerable with your Betrothed without hesitation or fear of rejection.
10 Things to Consider Before Getting Married – The “Why Didn’t We Think of That” Stuff
- Sex noises
- Cold Feet
- Food Preferences
- Family Visits / Messiness
- In-Laws (who’s side are you taking)
- Open or Closed Bathroom door
- Fitness Levels & Physical Health Priorities
- Non-negotiable hobbies that cost money
Let’s dive deeper into each one, shall we?
You just may be getting married to a fur-baby momma and you don’t even realize it. You see, unbeknownst to my hubby – I love cats. I will always love cats and I will always have a cat. So much so, we shipped a cat to Germany and back! He paid for it, he endured it, and even paid over $2K in vet bills when she got terribly sick.
Find out if you are getting married to a domestic animal lover or a secret homesteading freak (now I have chickens). Then, make some plans so it’s no surprise if you need to move overseas or into the country!
Every. Body. Farts.
Either you do it in front of them and get it over with or you decide to continually excuse yourself out of their presence. Human bodies produce gas. Sometimes you’ll subtly notice other times you’ll gag and nearly throw up. That’s life and that’s the results of a lactose-intolerant person having too much cheese!
Farts will always be funny, for life, I think. So, personally, I say you fart when you need to, restrain yourself in public and stop eating dead dairy foods that tear up your butt before getting married and into bed!
Not a virgin? Then the following applies. If you are skip down a bit…
- Are you a screamer with a muted voice?
- Do you moan?
- Do you grunt?
- Do you pant?
- Do you even breathe?
Some couples will actually hold back their natural pleasure sounds for fear of embarrassment or for fear that they’ll be made fun of. If you are not a virgin, you probably know your sounds and are comfortable with them or perhaps you’re not. The point here is to let nature’s love create harmony and songs of passion from your body to your spouse. Getting married is about taking it all in… even their weird sex noises! If you feel embarrassed or uncertain about how your body will involuntarily react to an orgasm – TALK about it.
It never occurred to me how irritating it is to have my husband’s cold @ss feet touching my legs, feet, or anywhere on my body actually. You think it wouldn’t be a huge deal but here’s the thing. Men are provokers. Yes, I just labeled men as a whole but bear with me. They are playful and some of them want to get you all riled up. And even if you say you aren’t in the mood to play and you’re “serious” – don’t touch me with your cold feet – your man will touch you again.
Y’all need to have a serious conversation, in the midst of planning when and where you are getting married, about bedside manners. If cold feet is a nuisance for you, you MUST tell them and that there really is, like literally, no play on it!
I STILL battle the cold foot touch. ?
It’s one thing to pick out the reception meals when you are getting married, but what happens at the grocery store?
Organic foods? Packaged foods? Making food from scratch foods? Farm foods? Fast foods?
How does your beloved typically eat and how do you eat? Who’s doing the shopping?
This is HUGE! Your kids will be eating this way – do you both need to make some healthier choices? I suggest sitting down and mapping out your absolute favorites (what you will not give up even during a nuclear war) and what you know needs to change for longevity before getting married and fighting in the kitchen ridiculing each other for their food choices!
Family Visits – Messiness
Who’s the clean freak? If you are both messy… well, that’s jut gross. Someone is usually the “cleaner” one. If you both are, then watch out for “judging” how your spouse cleans. If it’s clean – leave it be. The wise saying… if you don’t have something nice to say about something… clean it your damn self.
Your spouse is serving you and their home by doing some cleaning tasks. Do not ridicule, criticize, or ask why they didn’t do something “correctly” while cleaning. If you notice how something could be done better, first tell them how thankful you are with their task and then chime in, very nicely, about another technique that works and show them the effectiveness of it. Once done, thank them again for cleaning and remember to keep it light-hearted. No one ever wants to feel belittled for doing what they think is an act of service in their own home.
In-Laws: Who’s Side Are You Taking?
When you are getting married, you are NOT marrying your parents. Your wife, your husband, is now your go-to source for love, advice, and companionship. Stand up for them if/when your parents (friends, co-workers, and siblings included) talk badly behind their back (and don’t use your spouse as the object of a condescending joke). Refuse to ‘side’ with your parents in the middle of a heated discussion. They may be right, and if your parents respect your relationship, there won’t even be any strife, to begin with. So make sure that when you are getting married, you also have your parents’ blessing if this is an honorable act for you.
If you cannot side with your spouse over your parents, then why are you getting married? Just stay home – you’re not ready for the realization of marriage and commitment it takes to side with your spouse, no matter what. It’s not about disrespecting your parents, it’s about respecting your spouse in front of your parents and demonstrating the same thing to them… that your spouse is your FIRST family now… you’ve done great mom and dad – because after getting married – you two, you and your beloved have become one.
Standing up to your parents in favor of your spouse isn’t easy, it’s necessary.~Coach Andi
Open or Closed Bathroom Door (while pooping)?
Make sure your spouse knows your comfort level so you aren’t yelling at them hysterically when they walk in on you! Some people are okay with it, others are extremely uncomfortable with bowel movements in front of others. Talk about is amongst your plans of getting married and setting up your bathroom decor.
Fitness Levels & Physical Health Priorities
One of the reasons I loved the idea of getting married is having GREAT sex with a VERY sexy and fit man. He was active, adventurous, and pretty fit with a toned body. Though we were both in great shape early in our marriage, stress, kids, more stress, fast food, unhealthy food, and more stress entered our lives a few short years later. Without making a commitment to our physical health when discussing other priorities to getting married, we simply said we’ll tell each other when you’re “too fat.”
Don’t do that… it doesn’t work.
Each of you should have your own set boundaries and limits to your own fitness levels and health priorities. THEN, share that with the person you are getting married to. You cannot change someone, they will or will not make the decision themselves if they decided to “let themselves go”. Women may have a particularly difficult time after having babies. Men, be honest – will that affect your physical desire for your wife if/when her body drastically changes AND she chooses not to do anything about it (remember, stress, kids, more stress, unhealthy food…).
Life happens and physical fitness and health isn’t a priority for everyone – decide what it is for YOU, then talk about it with your spouse before getting married so they don’t assume you don’t want to be fat.
Non-Negotiable Hobbies that Cost Money
Getting married comes with the typical expenses like rent, mortgage, utility bills, grocery bills, and car maintenance, but what about extracurricular activities your spouse is involved in (or will be getting into)? If you are passionate about an activity, service, or hobby now, before you are getting married, will it continue after your marriage? Does your betrothed know how much the financial commitment is?
It’s extremely healthy to have hobbies within your marriage, even the ones your spouse doesn’t understand. They do not have to understand your desires, however, they would be respectful to listen and agree on some financial commitments that are recreational both before getting married and those they haven’t come to fruition yet years later.
For example, for me, ZumbaÂ® Fitness will always be part of my life. There’s a monthly fee that is barely covered by the classes I teach, but it’s my non-negotiable and he respects that. As an editor, I also do professional photography for an online magazine that has camera expenses – again, a non-negotiable hobby that benefits me and our family.
Have a Monthly Hobby Expenses Category in your budget. Don’t’ exceed it and don’t “rob” from it. Allow it to ‘roll-over’ each month to save up for any extravagant expenditures (like a Zumba convention). And if you overspend… yup, you got it, it deducts from the subsequent month if you’re being responsible.
Jeff and I are going on 22+ years of marriage, and 10 kids, with multiple affairs, financial strife and debt, a slew of emotional abuse, and suicidal mindsets scarred on our hearts. However, after 9+ years – finally, we have entered a realm of marital bliss – our very own Song of Solomon love story. If I had known at least 4-5 of the 10 essentials above before getting married, I wouldn’t have nearly drowned in my own tears of anguish, heartache, and potential divorce during my hell of marriage. Now, you donât have to.
Can you think of ONE you’d share with a girlfriend right NOW that totally resonates with you?