Many couples feel stressed during the wedding planning process and assume that once the wedding takes place, all that stress just disappears and thus the strain the relationship feels will go away too. When it doesn't, they may question whether they made the right decision, or moved too fast.
The first truth? Marriage isn't a destination, but a journey. You've chosen a partner to take that journey with, but there will be many outside influences that affect your relationship and happiness along the way. While this can make logical sense when you first hear it, actually understanding that as it's happening can be a different story. Perhaps there's a job change, an unanticipated baby on the way, or a parent who needs care now that wasn't part of your relationship when you said "I Do!" The question at this point isn't what your partner will do, but what will the two of you do? Your marriage now is enhanced/weakened by what both of you bring to the situation. This is where the work begins - supporting/uplifting each other in areas of undeveloped strengths; working on yourself to continually improve what you bring to the table.
The second truth is that it's quite natural for us to test each other's commitment to this new thing called a marriage. We don't always do this consciously, but it often happens regardless. One partner begins leaving the cap off the toothpaste, as if waiting to find out whether the other will simply put the cap back on, call them on it, or leave. This type of testing may also be more common in couples who have not lived together before marriage, or who have been married before. If/when this kind of testing is happening, it's important to remember this is natural. Subconsciously or consciously we have just taken a gigantic step to say "I made a huge investment in this relationship and you as my partner, and I need to know you've done the same." This is a good time for the two of you to sit down and establish some basic rules to your relationship if you haven't done so already. Talk about what each of you needs/wants to feel happy on a daily/long-term basis. This could be as simple as "I need 8 hours of sleep a night and to take my showers alone most of the time" to "I need to be the Queen Bee in your life, above everyone else." Talk about your needs and what you can give, where you need help and come with creative ideas of how you can both support each other's needs/wants/desires so you're both supported on your journey to be happy.
Marriage is work, and that's often heard but not understood until one enters it. But it's by doing that work together that you enter relationship-ing with each other (a verb instead of a noun!) and deepen your emotional intimacy. And that's where you find the good stuff!
Rev. Ronnie was ordained in 2010 as an interfaith minister through The New Seminary, located in New York City. She is available to perform ceremonies throughout the United States, aboard ship or in other countries.