Most people see marriage as the finish line. You spend years pushing through nervous first dates, frustrating relationships, and heartbreaks to get to the point where you finally find your partner. And that’s it! Once you get married, you get to sit back and relax.
Oh, wait…that’s not how it goes.
The truth is that marriage is complicated and full of twists and turns. (Some of them are exciting and positive. Others are agitating.)
If you take the time to do a few important things immediately after tying the knot, you’ll set yourself up for a happier relationship.
- Change Your Name With Banks and Other Accounts
If you’re taking the last name of your spouse upon marriage, you’ll want to make sure you get your name updated across all important accounts. This likely starts with your driver’s license and passport. However, it extends to other areas of your life, including your bank accounts.
“You will be asked to present originals or certified copies of documents that show your name change in addition to a government-issued ID, but the exact requirements and processes may vary by institution,” UK Deed Poll Office explains.
If you’re unsure which accounts need you to update your name, don’t worry. Here’s a pretty comprehensive list. Take it slow and try to update a couple of accounts every day.
- Update Insurance & Investments
Take a couple of hours to sit down with your spouse and review your health insurance plans. You’ll need to decide whether it makes more sense for you to each stay on your own independent plans or if one of you should switch over. Consider cost, coverage, and other factors. (You usually have a small window of time to join your spouse’s plan, sometimes as little as 30 days post-marriage – so don’t delay!)
This is also the time to think about life insurance. Whereas you may not have needed life insurance previously, it now makes sense to take out policies on one another. Other factors to work through: healthcare power of attorney, financial power of attorney, wills and estates, and beneficiaries for retirement accounts.
- Begin Long-Term Financial Planning
When you get married, you’re blending two lives together. This includes mixing money and developing a new financial relationship together. As uncomfortable as it might be, getting your finances sorted out is key to having a happy and healthy relationship. (Financial infidelity and other money-related issues are among the most common reasons for divorce and separation.)
Hopefully, you and your spouse had some money conversations before getting married. But regardless, now is the time to work through factors like debt, savings, investments, retirement planning, and other related issues. The more open and transparent you are about finding agreement around these issues, the more you’ll feel connected to one another.
- Proactively Address Common Marital Issues
The strength of a marriage is built on communication and intimacy. Make time for honest, open conversations about your feelings, concerns, and aspirations. Don’t assume that you know how your partner feels (or that they know how you feel). Mind-reading is not one of the prerequisites for getting married. Good communication and transparency is a must.
Transitioning from being engaged to being married often involves some growing pains. Newlyweds might face challenges like adjusting to each other’s habits, dealing with financial concerns, navigating familial expectations, or balancing personal space with shared time. It’s essential to address these issues directly and constructively. Develop healthy conflict resolution strategies, practice patience and understanding, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help, like marriage counseling, if needed.
Make sure you’re carving out time to spend together as a couple. This isn’t to say you can’t do things on your own, but there should be mutual activities to connect one another. Establish regular date nights, shared hobbies, or even simple daily rituals that allow you to connect as a couple. Maintaining shared interests helps deepen your relationship as a couple.
Happily Ever After
Marriages are meant to last forever. By taking small steps at the beginning of your union together, you can set you and your spouse up for decades of happiness and success. This article is just the start. Implement these tips and then look for additional ways to push your marriage in a positive direction.