Wedding: How To: The Big Merge

It’s time to play nice and learn to share all over again

How to Merge … Everything Else  

It may seem trivial, but as with finances and furniture, it’s important to understand the other person’s day-to-day living habits. Some people unwind with a bath and a book; others like to socialize. “Be aware of how the other person relaxes and recharges,” says Ellenbogen. “Talk about what your weekends are going to look like. One person might have more of a need to be with the other, which has nothing to do with how much they love you  —  people just have different emotional needs.” And don’t forget to talk household responsibilities and expectations. People may have very different beliefs about how and when things around the house should get done.

One of the more stressful parts of being newly married is merging your families  —  because with marriage often come unspoken assumptions about how you expect the other person to interact with your family. “You should talk about how you relate to your family, and listen to how your spouse relates to his,” says Ellenbogen. You should really take the time to figure out everything, from how you’ll handle family dramas to whose family gets you for dinner on holidays. Ellenbogen has seen a lack of communication turn things sour plenty of times: “Often these sensitive issues don’t get navigated until they come up, which usually means it ends in a conflict. It’s a hard argument to have, because people have such a loyalty to their own family.”

But then again, you are planning your wedding — you’ve already learned that lesson the hard way.