5. Honor each other’s boundaries.
Make your marriage stronger by engaging in open communication. Rather than just saying "no" when your partner comes to you with a request or vice versa, take the time to explain why you feel this way, listen to each other and prioritize one another's feelings. You both need to understand where the other is coming from in order to make decisions that honor you and your partner's comfort level and values.
It's all about teamwork in a happy marriage, which stems from compromise and balance. Neither of you is The Boss — resentments can boil over when one partner feels like they're getting overruled all the time. Come up with an agreement that neither of you should have to do something you feel strongly against or uncomfortable with, and make an effort to mix up the decision-making.
6. Stay flexible and have a Plan B just in case.
Smart wedding planning involves having a back-up plan: an indoor space for the ceremony in case it rains or an alternative bouquet in case your floral designer can't get an out-of-season bloom.
In your marriage, don't get so hung up on having things go according to your timetable that you're absolutely devastated if your original plan doesn't work out. It's not about what happens to us; it's how we bounce back.
7. Nobody wins when you try to keep up with the Joneses.
Even if your best friend had a $100,000 wedding and yours was just a tiny fraction of that, it doesn't mean that your big day was any less awesome or special. Although it's natural to get envious sometimes, it's not worth acting on by trying to outcompete or match what someone else has — many negative things can spiral out from there.
The same goes for the home you choose to live in, the furniture you buy, the car you drive and so on. No one wants to feel like they're not doing well enough in life. So, how do you tame that green-eyed monster? Again, we’re back to #3: gratitude makes life fabulous! Let the Joneses be the Joneses and you live your wonderful life filled with beautiful people and your own special touches to the things you do have.
8. The people you hire had better be good.
You put a lot of time and energy into researching, interviewing and hiring the best wedding vendors. The same goes for hiring real estate agents, doctors, contractors...the experts you can't afford to entrust your home (or your life) to without fully investigating them and investing in the best.
You know that when you hire someone without doing due diligence, you're more likely to get crummy service and bad results. You don't want that with your plumbing or your health.
9. Every now and then, get away from it all and get back to being "you."
When stress builds up, it’s not pretty. You may find yourself snapping over minor things, sleeping poorly, overeating, skipping workouts, breaking out...stress is bad news for you and for everyone who loves you. Every now and then, make time to go on a vacation as part of your "happy me, happy us" plan. And even if you can't get away because of budget or time, find ways to switch up your scenery like checking out shops in a nearby town or going for a hike.
Whether you revisit your honeymoon resort, check into a quaint bed and breakfast a few hours away or even just take a day trip somewhere, the important thing is to recognize when you and your spouse are overworked from the daily grind. Escaping your to-do list and unplugging for a few hours/days will dial down your stress levels and make you better partners.
Photo Credit: Caneel Bay Resort
10. Be present – it all goes by too fast.
The wedding day passes by so quickly — one minute you're slipping that ring on your groom's finger and the next minute, the band is announcing that this is the last song of the night. You didn't even get to eat very much of your wedding menu! In your marriage, as in your wedding, make sure you stop, look around, and take in every detail.
Be fully present and you won't look back on your life saying, "There's so much that I didn't take the time to appreciate and enjoy." Enjoy every moment to the fullest.
Sharon Naylor is the best-selling author of over 35 wedding books, including Home from the Honeymoon: The Newlyweds' Guide to the Celebrations and Challenges of the First Year of Marriage.
Visit sharonnaylor.net for more great tips and advice.