Did you know the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $25,764? It makes me wonder if more emphasis is placed on the wedding or the marriage. Now, I cannot remember when a couple spent $25,764 preparing for their marriage (premarital counseling, relationship courses, marriage conferences, etc.) However, that would not be such a bad thing. A marriage and a wedding are two distinctly different things. For starters, a wedding typically is planned roughly in advance for about a year or so. It’s an amazing day that you publicize your soon-to-be marriage to the whole world, to all your family and friends. They show up, they support you, they bring you gifts, they are excited about the new journey that you are going to be taking with your spouse. We all know that a lot of time, effort, money and resources goes into that day. It is all a part of the wedding process and weddings are beautiful!
The Focus May Be Placed on The Wrong Part of the Journey
The wedding only lasts for one day and it’s not even a full 24-hours. It’s just a few hours of the day and couples should put the same amount of time, energy, resources, money and relational preparation into their marriage that they put into the wedding to make it T.H.R.I.V.E.
- Plan Your Marriage Like You Plan Your Wedding
Couples often go to premarital counseling for about 2-3 counseling sessions with their pastor. This often happens only 2-3 weeks before the actual wedding. (I recommend doing a minimum of 8-12 sessions). There is nothing wrong with going to a pastor or a minister, but licensed clinicians, like a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist can also prepare you for your upcoming marriage in great detail.
- Make Sure You Are Marrying the Right Person
I don’t want to say that some individuals marry the wrong person (even though they do sometimes), but they don’t prepare by making sure they are always on the same page. Have they talked about core values, deal-breakers, wants and needs that will change their life forever? Couples get into the marriage and they realize “OMG! You do this? I didn’t know you wanted to do that!” They instantly become shocked at some of the differences. Know your own core values and do not compromise on them. If that relationship is leading to marriage, all the things that happen while you were in a relationship will continue to reappear in marriage…but this time they will be magnified! When you are married, things don’t just disappear, and things don’t get better over-night. Make sure you are marrying the right person, do not compromise your beliefs, your core values or your deal-breakers.
- Be Intentional About Your Relationship
The same amount of energy you put into the wedding and your engagement, continue to put that same amount of energy into your relationship moving forward. Continue to court each other, continue to date each other, continue to share new experiences together. Every now and then take yourself and your partner to counseling even if things are good. Couples often come to me and they have good relationships, but they just need a little “tune-up.” It’s like a car, every 3,000-5,000 miles we must go and get a tune-up or an oil change. It is okay to get the interior workings of your relationship checked out to make sure your marriage does not break down later.
Ultimately, the goal is to STAY married. Try to focus on the elements of your relationship that will create a long-lasting bond instead of the futile things that really do not matter in the larger picture.
If you ever desired to have such a deeply connected relationship with your partner, where issues such as cheating, broken trust, money problems and poor communication never stands a chance, then check out my Thriving Couples Network!