Things to consider before making that trip down the aisle
Marriage is not for the faint of heart. One of the best pieces of advice that I received from a "veteran wife" was to focus more on building a solid marital foundation than the actual wedding hoopla. The engagement and planning phases are both exciting and nerve-wracking, which is why it's so easy to get caught up in all of the glitz and glam. All of this is not to say that you can't have a beautiful wedding or care about the cake and decor — Trust me, I cared! Marriage is a major life change. You are essentially agreeing to sharing your world with another. Here are a few things that helped me to prepare for the big commitment:
Recognize what you're getting intoYou would think people understand what a huge commitment marriage is, but sometimes things really need to be put into perspective. It involves merging households, finances, habits and families. If there are children involved (blended family), there will be an adjustment period there as well
Couples go into marriage with the expectation that it will be for the long haul. It's a lot different than a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. When experiencing conflict, it's harder to walk away from all that you've built together. Sure, you still can walk away, but it will take a lot more effort and unlinking of assets
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CommunicateThe best time to have important discussions on expectations, your pasts and futures, careers, health, where you will reside, if you wish to have children (or more children) and your finances is prior to marriage. Trust me, you don't want any surprises AFTER making it official
Make an appointment with a marriage counselorThis is by far the best investment my husband and I made before getting married. The officiant who performed our marriage ceremony (also our pastor) actually required that each of his couples go through a couple of sessions with him. It was very enlightening and I learned things about myself and my partner in the process. It was like having a mentor facilitating pertinent conversations that needed more development. To this day, I'm still so grateful for this. Also, if we ever find ourselves going through a rough patch, we now have someone neutral who knows our history that we can lean on
Have regular check-insThe planning phase can make you literally want to tear out your hair or run off to a beach elopement, but no matter what, be sure to have regular check-ins with your partner. Ask how they're feeling often and don't forget that you still must give one another time and attention through it all. It's an emotional time
Long after the wedding, reality will set in and the actual work will begin. the work is constant and daily, but these keys will help you see it through. For those considering or preparing to walk down the aisle, what steps have you taken to help ensure a love that lasts? Sound off in the comments below!
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