Wedding season is just around the corner, and love birds all over the world are counting down the minutes to say their I do’s until Spring and Summertime come around. If you are in a committed relationship with someone, you may be talking about marriage. Maybe you are one of the bride to be’s in the upcoming months with a beautiful rock on your finger you just can’t wait to complete with a band. Whatever your situation, weddings are a beautiful occasion, and spending the rest of your life with someone is the biggest commitment you will ever make. Before you walk down the isle, fo these 5 things before you say “I Do” to help you have an incredible wedding and to set yourself up for success to have a lasting marriage.
- See a Marriage Counselor
The word “counseling” can have many negative and a bit scary connotations. It can cause you to feel like you only those who have loud and clear “issues” need this, but try to think about it differently. Marriage is just as complex as it is exciting, and the odds are, a couple that has been married for years-generations even- can come up with conversation topics you didn’t even know you needed to ask. Think about it as if they’ve done all the dirty work and you’re just getting to benefit from the wisdom they’ve conjured up over the years. Choose your counselors carefully, and try to choose a couple you admire. You should never take advice from someone you wouldn’t trade places with, but you can still sit and listen to what they have to say and let it spark conversation between you and your future spouse. The key in counseling is just to get the conversation going. Counseling should not be a how-to on marriage or a place where some stranger tries to “fix” you, it should be a place where open and honest communication is shared and you and your future spouse can learn more about marriage dynamics.
2. Talk about the “taboo” topics
Personal insecurities, fears of your future, “daddy” issues, pet peeves, skeletons in your closet… all those bitter-tasting topics that we like to avoid when in the honeymoon stage. Talking about these things before you walk down the aisle can help you feel like you’ve lifted a weight off of your shoulders. It can be scary to be vulnerable with someone, and to shine a light on all of those negative aspects, especially when you just want the other person to remain enamored with you. But the truth is, we have all struggled in life and nobody is perfect. The person you marry should be someone you can be completely vulnerable and raw in front of, and trust that they will accept you as you are and love you all the same.
3. See a Financial Counselor
With a generation of young adults getting out of college, the odds are, one or both of you has some debt “baggage”. Talking about this beforehand can help you avoid headaches and arguments in the future. Set up financial boundaries for the two of you, establishing budgets and goals to help ensure that you two are on the same page before you begin your marriage. Even if you two have good jobs and a bright future ahead of you, things can quickly change and you need to be prepared for how the two of you will react if things go South. The key is to remember you two are a team with a shared goal in mind for a happy and thriving life and marriage.
4. Be realistic
Don’t go into your wedding day expecting a fairytale, anticipate that flower petals will fall off and veils will tear and someone’s relative will make a scene. It’s okay. What matters the most, is the person standing next to you at the alter. Remember that your marriage starts the moment you say “I do”, so practice selflessness and patience from the start. Beyond your wedding day, remember that you two are going into life together, with all the good the bad and the ugly. Any issues you have won’t magically disappear now, and the conflicts of life will get heavy. Remember that the goal is not to have an easy life, but to have a strong marriage. Anticipate the rainy days, and commit to being on the same team with your spouse even through the storms.
5. Know what real love is
Marriage is not for you. It is not to make you happy. Marriage is not to better your life or to make you feel less alone. When you become married, you ought to become intertwined with the other person’s mind, body, and soul. Whatever their needs are will become yours, whatever their concern yours. Make sure you learn what the other person needs and always commit to caring for them more than yourself. If you are with the right person, they will do the same. Marriage should be the most selfless thing you will ever do in your life, even if it feels like you have struck gold.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”