Comedian Amy Schumer shocked fans on Thursday when she announced that she and her boyfriend, chef Chris Fischer, had married at a private ceremony in Malibu on February 13th after just a few months of dating. The pair definitely bucked cultural norms.
Research has found that most couples today date for nearly five years before tying the knot (and that waiting three years before marrying substantially lowers your likelihood of divorce), so Schumer and Fischer’s timeline is definitely out of the ordinary. But not unheard of! Because when you meet the right person, sometimes you just know.
To make sure this A-list pair — and other ~normal~ couples like them — start off on the right foot, we spoke to three marriage counselors about how to make a marriage last when you’re still getting to know each other. Keep reading for eight useful pieces of marriage advice.
1. Talk about everything
Rachel Bernstein, a licensed marriage and family therapist with a private practice in Encino, California, emphasized the importance of communication, especially when it comes to marrying someone after just a few months.
“Be open about what’s bothering you, express what you like, share appreciation, be kind, let them know how you expect to be treated, and express what your wishes are in the bedroom,” Bernstein told HelloGiggles. Since you’re still getting familiar, being outspoken about your wants and needs will help bring you closer to your partner.
Bernstein added, “Find common interests and enjoy them together. And have fun! Extend the honeymoon emotionally for as long as you can.”
2. And don’t forget to listen
It is even more important to listen than it is to talk.
“Develop healthy communication patterns,” Dawn Smith-Theodore, a Los Angeles-based marriage and family therapist, shared with HelloGiggles. “Being a good listener is very important in the communication process.”
3. Work on developing trust
Trust comes with time, and whirlwind relationships sometimes lack that quality.
Smith-Theodore advised, “You can develop trust by following through with what you say. Your actions speak louder than words.”
4. Accept your partner for who they are
“The trick is to live and let live,” says Dr. Bill Cloke, a psychotherapist based in Los Angeles. “Acceptance is the rule. Don’t try to change the other person. If there are issues, go to therapy and get help right away before it gets worse.”
5. Don’t make assumptions
When you’re getting to know someone, it can be easy to assume things, but Smith-Theodore warns that you should never jump to any conclusions in a new marriage. “Ask questions and be curious,” she advises.
6. Practice good conflict skills
Dr. Cloke’s advice for any relationship is to know how to fight fairly.
“I call this WAVE, which is an acronym. W is for Wait until you calm down to talk. A is for Acknowledge your partner (‘You said that you really didn’t like what I said,’ kind of thing). V is for Validate their right to feel as they do. E is for Empathy, try to see what they are saying from their point of view.”
7. Invest a lot of time
“Take the time to get to know the person even once you are married,” Smith-Theodore says. Little gestures also go a long way, especially in a blossoming marriage.
Bernstein suggests finding time to call each other, even quickly, throughout the day, or sending a sweet text. And don’t forget to kiss before leaving the house and when you see each other again at the end of the day.
She adds, “Pay each other compliments. Develop the feeling that you are a unified force where you can do anything and achieve anything in your lives because you help bolster each other, believe in each other, and love each other.”
8. Watch out for jealousy
A red flag in any relationship is jealousy. Bernstein laid out some specific behaviors to watch out for: having to account for every moment you’re away from your partner; noticing that you always pay for everything; and doing things for your partner without reciprocation.
She adds, “If they start to make you feel bad about yourself, if they tell you to cut other people out of your life, like family and friends, if they don’t seem to care when you’re upset, and if they don’t treat you or your body respectfully,” then it’s time to ask some serious questions.
Good luck Amy and Chris. We know you’ve got this.