Once your relationship has reached that moment when you suddenly know you want to be together forever, it’s time to start working on your couple skills. Every day!
That sounds obvious, but building couple skills often gets neglected when you’ve just fallen in love. But it’s actually the perfect time to work on developing good habits together. While everything’s fresh and new, and you’re both highly adaptable.
It starts with hanging out together as much as possible. Because the first couple habit you need to master is making time for each other. Every day, without fail.
You want to, anyway, don’t you, despite your busy schedules? But that means adjusting your lives so they fit around your relationship, rather than the other way round.
And when you’re together, be your real selves. Because you need to be completely comfortable around each other. So explore your boundaries now.
Can you cope with each other’s clutter? Do literally “anything” together in the bathroom? Hopefully all your amazingly irritating quirks will soon seem cute. Because you’re in love with your real selves, not some imaginary image in your heads.
Your occasional sleepovers have been fun, but now you should be sharing a bed every night. Because couples who enjoy sleeping next to each other are happier, more affectionate, more communicative, and more deeply bonded.
So practice being good sleeping companions. And if your sleeping styles are totally incompatible? Check that sleeping separately really works for both of you, before you commit to that lifestyle.
Try cooking together. Because couples who cook together regularly learn to co-operate better. And have happier marriages.
Being able to compromise is especially important. So start practicing now in little ways. Let him choose the movie one time, while you choose the next. Be OK with her choice of restaurant, without getting annoyed.
Talk about the differences between you, your families, your past, your beliefs. Discuss your finances, and be willing to be completely open about your incomes, spending, debts and investments.
And come up with a plan. The two of you will probably have all sorts of ideas about the future, so make sure you’re on the same page about the important stuff, like children.
You don’t have to want exactly the same as each other. But you do need to see the world the same way. And your differences must strengthen your relationship, rather than create issues.
You’ll both want to develop personally and professionally, and you must be able to support one another as you grow.
So imagine your partner’s just got an exciting new job. Would you be helpful and encouraging — or feel jealous and try to hold them back? Being married means being committed to winning together.
And come up with some traditions, just for the two of you! Like maybe watching scary movies on Fridays, or sharing a big breakfast every Saturday morning. And suddenly you’ll realise you’ve learnt how to live happily ever after.