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A lot of people assume that relationship counseling is only for married couples, who are dealing with major problems like infidelity, but it can be helpful for all couples, and premarital counseling in particular is actually very important. Many couples go into an engagement not having resolved the issues they’re having, or maybe they haven’t yet recognized the negative patterns in their relationship that need to be addressed.
Here Are The Top 10 Red Flags You Have To Address Before the Wedding:
1. Physical and/or Emotional Abuse
Abuse should mean a full-stop. It’s something that needs to be addressed right away. Whether it’s physical abuse or emotional abuse, which is more subtle and often overlooked, abuse indicates that there is a major problem. We are responsible for moving away from this kind of behavior.
Recovering from infidelity is possible for many couples, but it often takes a lot of work – and this is work you need to do before you get married, even if it means putting off the wedding.
3. Patterns of Dishonesty
Patterns of dishonesty – or secret keeping – are a result of not knowing how to communicate with one another in an effective way. This behavior pattern tends to happen a lot in codependent relationships. You might be experiencing fear (“I don’t know how they’re going to react if I tell them.”) or you might avoid sharing other things with your partner – like money.
4. Lifestyle Differences
Differences add to the richness of our relationships! It’s a wonderful feeling, when we’re first getting to know the person we’re dating, to find out all these things about them, especially the differences, but when there are lifestyle differences that we just can’t get over, like how we want to socialize or how we want to spend our money, it could create conflict in the relationship.
5. Can you depend and rely on your partner in a consistent way?
You probably can answer this right away – can you rely and depend on your partner consistently? Can they rely on you? Is it an equal situation, or is one of you putting more energy and time into the relationship?
6. Is my relationship primary?
Your relationship needs to come first – even before your kids! That’s because your relationship must be taken care of first, before you can take care of others.
7. Stress. How is it handled?
You must ask yourself: How does my partner manage their stress? And is that process compatible with mine? It’s important to note that if one person is going away from the relationship during times of stress, this is a red flag. In a healthy relationship, we must learn to turn into the relationship, and rely on each other for emotional support.
8. Are you fighting fair? How do you manage conflict?
All couples fight – what’s important to ask yourself is: how do you manage that conflict? Are you fighting fair? There are several negative patterns of handling conflict, but the most destructive is to be contemptive with your partner. When you’re calling each other names – swearing, being dismissive of their feelings, etc. – this kind of conflict management is a major red flag that the relationship is not healthy.
9. Are you on the same page with life goals?
Your life goals are the things that are most important to you. How do you want to handle kids? Family life? Money? Your careers? These are the big things you HAVE to make sure you’re on the same page about before you are married.
10. Faith, spirituality, culture and religion
Just like with the other differences between ourselves and our partners, cultural or religious differences can make our relationships more exciting and more interesting. We can learn a lot from each other. However, these differences must be navigated effectively. When they are not, the relationship is going to have conflict.
Red Flags Indicate a Warning, Not Necessarily a Dealbreaker
The good news is that all of these things can be overcome! When you realize that these are warning signs that must be heeded, and then put in the work to correct the path your relationship is on, you absolutely can have the relationship – and marriage – of your dreams. When you pay attention and take action, you can make your love work.