OMG! It finally happened! I’m engaged! There are so many things to do:
- Bridal Party
- Wedding Dress
- Ceremony and Reception
- Honeymoon location
Once you’re engaged, the focus turns to make sure that the “Wedding of Your Dreams” occurs. Yes, your wedding is important, and there are many details that go into making your wedding an event to remember. I couldn’t wait to plan the wedding of my dreams. I didn’t stop to consider that the wedding is not the destination. It is, however, the beginning of your marriage journey.
Have you considered what comes after the big day?
What about the marriage of your dreams?
What are you doing to prepare for your marriage?
Here are some of the things I wish someone had shared with me.
It’s not all about ME anymore, but about WE:
Once you get married, you and your spouse are a family. Decisions and expectations are no longer one-sided. It is important to consider the thoughts and feelings of your spouse.
Ask The Right Questions About the Big Topics.
- Children: Are we hoping to have children? When? How many?
- If we do have children and both of us are working, how will we handle that?
- In-Laws: How involved will they be? What are expectations regarding holidays, family dinners, birthdays?
- Money: Do we have a budget? Separate or joint bank accounts? What about debt? (Student loan, credit card, etc.) Who will pay the bills? What are our goals?
- Friendships: How will our friendships be the same or different? Opposite-Sex Friendships? How much time do we spend with separate friends?
- Goals/Dreams: What is your dream job? Where do you want to live?
- Legacy: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? Family legacy?
Be open for change.
Even when you have talked about the “big-ticket items,” be ready and open for opportunities you don’t expect to come up. One month after our wedding, my husband made a career change that changed our lives. We moved 800 miles away from friends and family so he could attend graduate school. He hinted at the change during our engagement, but I never truly considered it a possibility. I decided to make the most of the adventures and opportunities represented. Looking back, that was one of the best things for helping us build a strong marriage.
Friendships might shift.
You might see some friends less and see some friends more. As a couple, you might become friends with some other couples. Getting married doesn’t mean giving up your friendships, but you might have to be intentional about maintaining and caring for those friendships. You both still need friends, but make sure they are friends that are for your marriage.
Be prepared to go all-in.
Being married is not something to do half-heartedly. It requires you to give your time, energy, and effort. Go all-in for your marriage not because you have to or are supposed to, but because you CHOOSE your spouse and your marriage. It takes Intentionality.
Realize your marriage journey will not look like anyone else’s.
In the first five years of our marriage, my husband and I moved five times between three different states. When I looked at the marriages of other friends and family, none of them looked like mine. I compared mine to theirs and felt mine lacked stability. I had to realize my marriage journey was MY marriage journey. As a result of the many moves, we learned to lean and depend on each other. Wherever we ended up was fine because any place with the two of us was HOME.
Seek Premarital Education.
There are a plethora of opportunities to seek premarital education from a variety of sources. You may choose any or all of these options to help you prepare for marriage.
- First Things First has an online premarital course.
- The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman.
- Mentor Couple—find a married couple with whom you can talk, ask questions, and has the marriage you would like to have.
- Religious /Spiritual premarital counseling.
The day of your wedding is the beginning of your MARRIAGE JOURNEY. Making time to strengthen your relationship during your engagement will prepare you for more than a day. It will prepare you for a LIFETIME of marriage together.
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