A wedding is just a day, but a marriage is for everyday. Of course, you must take a lot of time to plan a wedding, but you would be wise to not get so caught up in planning that you need a reality check. Getting married is a significant milestone. It’s the beginning of a partnership that will be challenging and rewarding in equal measure.
Couples that I have coached before and after the wedding are sometimes surprised at the changes that occur when the two of them make the commitment to stay together forever. If they have not been also committed to personal growth, the kind that opens the door to tremendous opportunities for personal growth and personal development, the surprises keep on coming. Many couples don’t think past the wedding. Some have unrealistic expectations about what the days together will be like after their big day.
Those unfulfilled expectations almost always cause problems. When we don’t get what we expect, we usually get disappointed, frustrated, resentful, angry or worse.
The scenario often goes like this:
1. You live your life…
2. You meet someone and you fall in love
3. You become engaged (everything seems to be perfect)
4. You spend numerous hours planning for the wedding
5. You get married
6. … and everything changes.
The work of the marriage, the work that continues long after the bills for the reception and gown are paid, and long after the honeymoon photos are placed into an album or on a website, must become your highest priority.
It’s different when you are with the one you love everyday. The wedding was only part of your love story. Now you must concern yourself with all the things that some couples I talk with have never imagined. Marriages either get better or worse, they never stay the same. Things are always changing. Then comes the opportunity for personal growth.
• How long do we wait before we begin to want children?
• Separate checking accounts or one?
• Who pays the bills?
• Will you have a budget – and promise to stick to it?
• Will you have a savings plan – and promise to stick to it?
• When we have children, what spiritual path will they take. This can be a difficult choice when the parents are of different faiths.
• Etc., etc…
There are so many things to think about after the big day. What will your future together be like?
If you want to reach the full potential in your marriage, it must be worked on all the time, not only when it’s broken and needs to be fixed. Working together is the key. Having patience with each other.
When I have the opportunity to coach couples before the wedding, I urge them to make key decisions before the wedding, not after. One couple after we had a serious talk about all the things that might happen after the wedding, decided to postpone their wedding for six months while they continued to work on the issues that came up during our time together.
That is also another reason for both the bride and groom to work together during the wedding planning stages so that when issues do come up they can mutually come to the conclusions that will satisfy both. When I hear that the groom may have said to his future wife, “It’s whatever you want to do at the wedding, honey… I don’t care” – that raises a red flag for me. Grooms need to know that the marriage begins with the planning of the wedding and they do need to be involved. When you plan things together that becomes a reflection of you as a couple and how you may choose to make decisions once the honeymoon is over.
It’s important for you to know that if you become unhappy with your partner about something, it stands to reason there are things about you that they may be unhappy about. Letting a problem fester only makes it harder to solve down the line. Talk – sooner than later. Communicate without fighting. Remain calm, express your love and tell your partner what’s on your mind in the most loving way you can. You need to work together.
With all the demands that other people and responsibilities make on your time, it’s easy to put your own needs on the back burner. Remember to live your own life, too. Agreement about how you do that is a wise conversation to have before you marry.
Make your partner a high priority. Every marriage is different, but the best marriages all share love, respect and joy. Maintaining a healthy and vibrant relationship isn’t always easy. It’s much easier if you always work together. When you first marry, you are each other’s whole world. That feeling isn’t sustainable forever, but don’t let your partner slip to the bottom of your priority list after kids, job, friends and hobbies. Remind your spouse – often – that they are important to you. Never stop doing the things that brought you together in the first place.
Always remember, making a healthy marriage work is a shared responsibility! It takes two… working together!
Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. 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 Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (96 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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