Here are 5 things you should NOT stop doing once you get married:
1. Go on dates
Just because you're married, live together, sleep together and spend most of your time together, does not mean you should stop having weekly (or at least twice a month) dates. Take the effort to plan something, get ready for it and go. It helps you anticipate something fun that is coming up, as well as give you a set time to spend with just your spouse. This is especially important once kids come along and you may not have as much alone time together.
2. Dress up
It seems like when you are dating you always made an effort to look your best when you saw your significant other. Just because you're married does not mean you should swap your designer jeans for sweat pants. One thing that attracted your spouse to you was the way you looked and dressed. While you shouldn't be expected to dress up all of the time, make sure you don't stop doing it all together. Make an effort to look nice, even if it's just for an evening in.
3. Get to know your spouse
Being married does not mean that you should stop learning new things about your spouse. Spend time talking and asking about their past. You can learn a lot about who they are and what makes up their overall personality by listening to stories about their childhood. Find things they find interesting. You can plan activities that spark good conversations. Don't be surprised when you learn something you never knew before about them.
4. Be on your best behavior
While dating, couples tend to be overly polite. They are usually on their best behavior and may let a lot of things go to not offend or hurt the other person. These skills tend to go away once couples are married.
When you get more comfortable with a person it is easy to not be as polite and nice. Little things like saying please, thank you and sorry matter a lot. Also the tone of voice you use while speaking makes a big difference. Saying "What's wrong?" angrily vs. in a compassionate voice makes a big difference for the response you will receive.
5. Work on your communication skills
A lot of people think that after marriage you will automatically be on the same wavelength as your spouse. You are compatible enough to get married, so they must think the same thoughts as you too, right? Wrong. Making assumptions and feeling as if your spouse should be able to read your mind are easy traps to fall into. Don't think your spouse will know that you are upset with them without you telling them. They probably have no idea. And subtlety hardly ever works. Miscommunication causes more fights with couples than anything else. This is a skill you will have to work on and improve throughout your marriage. Communicating both your expectations and your feelings is important.
It is easy to feel that once you are married the hard part of your relationship is over. It is actually the opposite. Now you need to work harder than ever to maintain, grow and improve your relationship with your significant other. The work done in dating lays the foundation for the love you have for each other, and that continued work in marriage makes that love blossom.
(Credit: Megan Shauri)