Plan a Marriage, Not Just a Wedding


marriagePrepare for a life after “I do.”

by Christopher Confero   

 

We often think of the grandest gesture of all to be when the one you love gets on one knee and pops the question. That one action is the green light for my job to begin. The design process begins months, if not a year, in advance of the set date. Once my clients have hired me, we begin preparing for the nuptials carefully and thoroughly. It’s no secret there is an industry chock full of vendors ready to help you with all the details of the wedding. You spend hours deciding whether an indoor or outdoor venue is more appropriate or if you want Aunt Marge sitting next to Uncle Richard. It’s easy to get swept away in the romanticism of it all.

I construct a proposal and even contingency plans for the “what ifs” that pop up, but it’s important to remember that a flawless wedding does not imply a flawless marriage. Although there is no magic formula for a happily ever after, you and your spouse-to-be can keep this guide in mind for a life after “I do.”

 

Study

You wouldn’t take a test without studying the right material, would you? There are plenty of books to read that outline what’s necessary in a healthy relationship. However, I continually find myself recommending Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages when asked for advice. He guides couples to identify how they give and receive love. Find a mentor couple that you two admire and meet with them regularly. Keep in mind that every marriage is different, but it helps to hear the experiences of those who have been there, done that.

 

Communicate

There’s a reason that an “open line of communication” is rated top of the list by happily married couples. In fact, I often remind my clients to be honest with their thoughts with each other leading up to the wedding. It should be no different in your relationship. Topics like finances and family should be addressed before choosing florals and food. These are issues that should not fester.

 

Compromise

Regardless of how good you and your loved one are at communicating, conflicts will arise. It’s the nature of two independent people coming together as one. Don’t be frightened by it. Instead, understand each other’s approach to disagreements, so that a solution can be achieved through cooperation. You are on the same team, after all!

 

Reminisce

Through all the stress of wedding planning, reminisce upon the reasons you fell in love in the first place. If you were drawn to her humor or his intellect, voice that. These will be the qualities that keep the relationship interesting and new, year after year. It will keep both of you grounded with the reminder that the wedding is just a declaration of your love and dedication.

 

Balance

Once the reception is over, it doesn’t mean the fun is! Take a break once a week from the stressors of daily life and plan a date night. It doesn’t matter if it’s done at a five-star restaurant or your favorite coffee shop. It should just be the time where you are able to fully focus on one another and foster growth in the relationship.

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