If you’re engaged, and you think marriage will resolve problems in your relationship, sorry Charlie. Marriage generally magnifies–rather than diminishes–conflict or disputes. Do yourself a favor and hash out your differences in premarital counseling, allowing your marriage to flourish rather than crash and burn. Don’t be shy about it. Every couple has conflict; the ones who last merely learned how to move past them.
Secondly, despite the hopes of the young and naive, having a baby isn’t the solution to a rocky relationship. Quite the contrary, in fact. The year after the first child is born is generally one of the most stressful times for a couple. Take the time to work out your issues before taking the parenting plunge–or before having another child. (While you’re at it, be sure you’ve agreed on how you’ll handle childcare, work and home responsibilities.) For stable couples, parenting can be a complete joy, but for couples in conflict, the lack of time and sleep only exacerbate marital woes and may worsen feelings of anger and ambivalence.
Do you have experiences to share about these or other lessons learned prior to taking the next “big step” in your relationship? What do you wish you had known before you married or as a newlywed?
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