A good friend of mine is getting married and told his fiance in the midst of their wedding planning to be careful in all of her wedding planning to not forget about the marriage planning. It is true that so much money is spent and attention given to the wedding but very little money is spent and attention given to the developing marriage. Couples who take the time to invest in their marital relationship are very wise. You invest in your marriage by getting premarital counseling, reading books, and being sure that the lines of communication stay open. You also invest in your marriage by being mindful of how your relationship is developing before you get married. When two homes are coming together there are so many variables that are a part of the equation that must be considered. Being careful to ensure that you are in agreement at every stage is essential. Many times one individual may begin to feel like he/she is making all the concessions and giving in to the other. The pressures that arise in preparing for a wedding can be intense and very confusing. Take the time to step back to discuss what’s happening along the way. Discuss your relationships with family and friends, finances, sexual expectations, religion, children and parenting, social expectations, personality differences, time together, love languages, anger management, infidelity, diet and exercise, dress, travel, careers, political, favorite interests, habits, character, and dreams to name a few. Being able to talk through these issues before you actually tie the knot is very helpful to planning a marriage.

A big mistake couples make is making too many marital commitments prior to the marriage. Many couples get involved financially and sexually prior to tying the knot. This is like giving the contractor money without a contract and paying for the job before he finishes. It may work out OK but it is not a best practice. You are taking a BIG risk. Take the time to get to know your potential suitor before you make such a major commitment like marriage. Get to know their family and friends. If you get involved in marital affairs prematurely it may become very difficult to back out when you realize this is not good for you. Patience is a virtue in any contractual deal. Especially one that is so involving like a lifelong commitment as marriage.

Neil Clark Warren wrote a book entitled Two Dates or Less where he describes the process of determining if someone is good for you within two dates. This is a phenomenal concept because it keeps you from making commitments to the wrong one. Too many people marry someone they really aren’t in love with. They settle simply because they have been together so long. Don’t wast your time dating someone who is not a perfect fit for you. No I didn’t say is perfect. Because nobody is perfect. But perfect for you. We share a lot in common and disagree about very little. We are attracted to each other and enjoy being together. We are not entangled in other things that would take away from our harmony with one another. This is a great time for us to get together. All of these are considerations when determining a perfect fit.

I love to compare selecting a mate to picking out a pair of shoes. Make sure they fit and you pay for them before you leave the store. Make sure before you make marital commitments that you have done your homework and made preparation before you jump into marriage. If you don’t you may find yourself having a wonderful wedding but a miserable marriage.

Joe Follette

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