Marriage is the joining together of two people, two lives, into one. Many people get married already having their own busy lifestyle, and then just try to add spouse, marriage, and family to their already busy lifestyle. This usually does not work out very well for the couple.
When a couple gets married, each individual needs to put away the "I" for the "We". The couple needs to find goals and a direction that they can move forward in together. If the individuals are constantly trying to go their own way, the marriage will fail.
This is not to say that they can't have personal goals, but those goals need to be something that the other spouse is fully behind and will support until completion.
Those goals should also not include those things that will take a huge amount of time, energy, and attention away from the spouse, unless they make extra efforts to still get in the quality time needed to spend time together.
Single people can make decisions that will mostly only effect them and maybe some family or friends in an indirect or lesser way. It is not like that in marriage. Everything one spouse does will effect the other in some way.
This is why it is very important as a married couple to make decisions together as a couple. If one of the individuals is making a decision about something on their own, whether for themselves, or for them as a couple, they should at least take time to think about that decision and how it will effect their spouse, and their marriage.
We were at a pet store once and the employees there were talking about how this guy brought a dog back to the pet store because his wife had purchased it without even asking him. Dogs can be expensive to get and to continue to take care of. They also take quite a bit of attention, care, and maintenance. This is definitely a decision that should be made by the couple, not by the individual.
Another decision that should be made by the couple, is when or if, they want to have children. Sometimes women especially try to pressure their husbands into having children before they are ready. This can backfire in a major way. Especially if the woman feels like she does all the care and work related to them, etc.
Having children, or when to have children, is definitely a decision that should be made together. It is best if the couple can come to some sort of conclusion about this before they get married. Many couples get married having two completely different views about what their family should look like.
For example, maybe one spouse grew up in a huge family and just expects that their spouse would love to have 5 or 6 kids as well. Meanwhile maybe the other spouse is thinking they may never want kids. This could be a big problem, especially because often, the individuals are both thinking that maybe their spouse will change their mind, and then agree with them. This doesn't usually work.
Another part of the two becoming one is that the couple needs to let go of others and cling to each other. This could include family, friends, ex boyfriends and girlfriends, etc. Part of the marriage vow say that they will forsake all others and cling to their spouse.
No one else should be a better friend and confidant than a person's spouse. Healthy couples love spending time together. They have fun together and enjoy each other's company. And that is one of our goals through marriage coaching, and writing marriage articles: To help two hearts beat as one!