When we make the most important decision of our life – to marry – many of us have no idea what we are getting into. I repeat… “no idea!”
“When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
Look before you leap. Slow down! Don’t get in such a big hurry! “Always date for one year before you make a proposal before marriage,” says Louanne Cole Weston, PhD, a marriage and family therapist. “You need to see how the other person behaves 365 days of the year – birthdays, deaths, Thanksgiving, etc. You learn how they treat these events and treat you before, during, and after they occur. Give relationship a full four seasons before you think about marriage.”
I agree! I believe in long engagements. At least long enough so that you experience the good, bad and the not so good; long enough to really get to know each other. You can’t do that in a 6 month relationship… or a two month relationship. I performed the marriage ceremony for a couple several years ago. They had known each other for a little less than 2 months, both in their lower 20s. We talked at length about some of the things to watch for that could cause bumps in the road but they were both “so in love” (and I might add, to blind to see) that they both lacked the maturity necessary to have them side-step the little issues that most couples face and 8 months later the bride called me crying saying that they were no longer together.
“Once I’m done with kindergarten, I’m going to find me a wife.” ~ Bert, Age 5
Psychologists say the typical infatuation (or “lust”) lasts 6 to 18 months. So, if a total of 19 or more months elapses between first meeting and the wedding, there’s a much better chance it’s really love and that it will last.
It takes much more than love, boys and girls! Both parties must be ready for the long-term commitment of marriage in all aspects, financially, spiritually, emotionally and in maturity. In the beginning – for most couples – it’s about having fun, enjoying each others company finding out that you both like a lot of the same things. They need to spend more time talking about their relationship – their future (when the time seems right), their values, and their differences.
“It’s easy to love your partner when things are great. The true test of a marriage is when things are not going so well; when you have to sacrifice for your partner; when you have to come together as a team to face differences and difficulties.” ~ Lori and Bob Hollander
Ask lots of questions. Really get to know each other. You must have open and honest communication. If you are putting your best foot forward, make sure it’s connected to the real you. You have to stop trying to live up to your partner’s expectations and just be yourself.
If you don’t do that, in six months to a year they will discover the real you. As a relationship coach that is the time I hear some partner’s say… “Wow! I didn’t know that about him.” “After we had been together for awhile, I discovered that she really likes to have things her way most of the time. I just go along.”
Hmmm. Just going along will only last for a little while. Be yourself.
There are so many things to consider that many couples let slide because “they are in love.”
• Who will control the families money? Separate accounts or joint? Do you know your partner’s credit score? Money troubles plague many couples and it’s important to discuss this aspect of your relationship before it spins out of control. If she makes more money than you do can you handle that?
• If there are children from previous marriages, how will you handle that?
• Do you want to have children? If so, how many? Children affect a marriage in many ways; sleep-deprivation and disagreements on the proper amount and administration of discipline are just a couple of examples.
• How will you handle the chores?
• What about Spirituality? How important is it and how will we teach the kids if you are both of different faiths?
• Nicole Teague asks, “Are you ready to get married? During their teens and 20’s, people change considerably. Until a person has matured as an individual, it is difficult to know if a relationship that worked for them in their younger years will still be working for them years later. Have you experienced everything you wanted to as a single person?”
• Is there anything you feel you need to talk about but haven’t?
• Discuss your expectations about sex, your preferences and fears.
• Are there times when you need to be left alone?
• Do you have mutual goals for your life, your career and your marriage?
• Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?
• Do You value and respect each other?
• Do you like and respect each others friends?
• Should either of you sign a prenuptial, or premarital, agreement?
• How will you handle disagreements? Will you promise each other to seek help if needed?
• Any addictions? Alcohol, drugs, sex, porn, gambling? Discuss how you’re going to handle this as a couple.
These are just a few things to consider. Talk to each other about these things and anything else that comes up and really listen.
When you think you have found “the one,” how do you know that for sure? The usual response is always the same, “You just know.” While that is true… it really doesn’t help much.
“Knowing comes from time spent contemplating your similarities, your differences, and how well you fit together. It comes from making the decision in your heart that you will remain committed to this person no matter what the future holds.” ~ Belinda Elliott
Take your time before you commit to marriage. Getting married will not fix problems within a relationship. Don’t rush into things. Take some time to consider why you want to get married in the first place. Many people get married thinking that they can change the other person. If something doesn’t seem right you need to know that after marriage it’s highly doubtful if it will change than. Getting married isn’t really about the wedding day – it’s about the quality of the relationship that follows. Wait on marriage until you are absolutely certain. If there is any doubt… don’t do it!
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.
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