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Preparing for Marriage

So often, all the preparation goes into planning the wedding day, when really there should be as much, or more, planning for what comes after the wedding...the rest of your life. By Rachel Sandall

There is a difference between marriage and a wedding. A wedding is one day; it is one event, a single celebration. It is a meal, a party where the colours match, the bride is beautiful and the photos are timeless.

A marriage is much more. It is a lifetime; it is 365 days a year, 7 days a week for as long as you live, it’s a commitment that goes beyond seating plans and Chantilly lace. It is the decision to love the person standing at the altar, for the rest of your God-given life; through the good times, through the bad times, through sickness and health, through 3 am feedings and family birthday parties.

No one says, or has ever said, marriage is easy. Even the couple who finishes each other’s sentences, who tend to make everyone around them nauseas with their constant sentiments, will find the first months of marriage difficult. Suddenly, the bad little habit he used to have of ‘forgetting’ to use a coaster, becomes grounds for divorce and the cute little snort in her laugh becomes a high pitched squeal directly in your eardrum.

 No... marriage is not a walk in the park. But before you get cold feet, remember that it’s the hard times that develop strength in your relationship. Your bond will get deeper and as the days go by, it will turn into the type of love that people write novels about, the kind that has stood the test of time.

You have the ring on your finger and the security of knowing that your fianc wants to make a lifetime commitment, so be intentional and use your engagement to build the foundations of your marriage.

  • Be a friend.

Yes, they make your palms sweat and your knees weak, but at the end of the day the person you marry should be your best friend, a glorified lifetime roommate. Emotions will fade, his amazing brown hair might fall out and she might lose her perfect teeth, so be sure you like the bald, toothless person you are left with.

 They should be the person you can tell anything to, who makes you laugh, who understands you and wants the best for you, as you do for them. My dad always says the best way to make a friend is to be a friend. No one wants to be friends with someone who is self absorbed, talk’s non-stop about themselves, who shows up late and has no thought about your schedule and lifestyle. The same is true in the romantic relationship. Treat your fianc as you want to be treated, simple but true!

  • Use the time.

Between your normal work schedule, friends, family and meeting the wedding planner for lunch, you may not have as much time for each other as you used to. But it’s crucial you still make time for each other. Make intentional dates where you are not allowed to talk about the wedding, problem family members and any other wedding related stresses. Just spend time with each other as a couple, the way it used to be before you were engaged.

This may take some major prioritising; you will both be less stressed if you have fewer things in your schedule. It might mean missing a night at the gym, going to work early instead of late or deciding against the tango class you wanted to take before you got married.

  • Focus on the goal.

There is a point in the wedding planning process, when the details take over the reason you are getting married. This is when it gets stressful and rocky for you as a couple, and when you need to focus on what matters.

Take time to think about when you first met, the proposal and the day you knew you wanted to spend the rest of your life together. Whether you have a huge wedding or not, you are making the conscious choice to spend your days with your fianc, and that can happen with chair covers and chandeliers or with a simple piece of paper from the registry.

It would be foolish to think you could please everyone with your wedding. Some dates won’t work for some people, your sister may think your dress is just like hers, your bridesmaid may say she looks fat in the colour you pick, but despite the whining, you did invite or ask them to be involved for a reason. It’s important to remember that your wedding is about more than just you and your fianc. If it were all about you, it would be an event with just the two of you. The day is the celebration of your commitment, with the people you love. 

Your wedding is an emotional time for everyone, especially your family. It will mean so much to them if you keep them involved. Little things like inviting your mum and your fiancs mum for dress fittings, and making an effort to meet up with the bridal party regularly will make the whole process more meaningful.

This does not mean you take a poll about what dress to choose, or which venue to use, it means that you make decisions that will generally suit the people you invite, first you as a couple (both of you), then your family and all the other guests.

It may seem hard to keep every guest in mind, but you will find the day will be much more enjoyable...for everyone.

  • Communicate.

Almost all arguments can be pinned on a communication breakdown, whether it’s a lack of it or a misunderstanding. He did not understand when you said ‘I don’t care if you come with me to pick the cake,’ that what you really meant was, ‘You had better come with me to pick out this blasted cake, or you will pay for it in guilt trips and passive aggression for the next 10 years!’  If you want him to help you choose the cake, tell him! We are all guilty of not saying when something is bothering us, but to avoid harbouring bitterness it’s imperative that you are open with your fianc about what’s troubling you.

People communicate in different ways. Something she says offhandedly, that seems like nothing, may be something really bothering her. He may not tell you that he loves and adores the ground you walk on, but might fix your toaster and sweep your garage instead. The way you can determine how your fianc communicates is by watching what seems to mean a lot to them. How do they show affection to other people they love? And to you?

  • Talk through the ‘don’t go there’ subjects.

Do you know what your fianc thinks about religion? How many kids they want, if any? How much debt they have? Topics which are strictly avoided on a first date need to be addressed before you are ready to say ‘I do.’

There will be arguments with your spouse or fianc, but you can prevent many of them if you know where they stand and aren’t shocked when you find out they spend €400 each month on shoes. It is highly recommended for couples to enrol in a pre marital counselling course. The sessions will help you go through the hard subjects with a third party, who can act as a facilitator and peace keeper! Ask the church you are getting married at, or check WeddingsOnline.ie for listings.

B Book Choice:

Rules of Engagement, by Katharine and Richard Hill

*Available in the Bridal Planning Pack from WeddingsOnline.ie.*

Article in the autumn '08 issue of B Magazine.

Comments

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  • Thanks alot - your answer solved all my prolebms after several days struggling

    Submitted by Dilly on Wednesday 25 May 2022

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