When getting married, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all. From ring shopping to choosing a venue to finding a caterer, it’s easy to neglect the one person you should be focusing on most – your future spouse. While figuring out wedding logistics is important, the lead up to the wedding is one of the most critical times to lay a solid foundation between you and whomever you’re promised to. It’s these months that will set the scope of your first years of marriage and can dictate the difference between you marrying your soulmate – or a complete stranger.
Know Who You Are
Before you even discuss anything with your future spouse, make sure you know who you are. Marriage isn’t two incomplete people trying to make each other whole, but rather two whole people sharing a common journey. Now this doesn’t mean you have to be perfect – far from it. But before you decide to share your life with someone it’s important to know where you are in life, your strengths, weaknesses and what your goals are. These will change over the years and who you are now won’t be who you are ten years. The difference being that this time you’ll have a partner.
Talk About Marriage Expectations
You’re about to embark on a lifelong partnership with this person. If there are expectations and topics you have yet to talk about with your partner, now is not the time to ever hold your peace. It’s crucial that you and your partner communicate about matters of the heart, future family, finances, intimacy and all around expectations of the marriage. Perhaps up to this point you haven’t brought a certain topic up because you felt uncomfortable discussing it. Good! That’s fine! It’s perfectly okay to have matters of discussion that make you feel uncomfortable. The important fact is that you talk about them. Getting our of your comfort zone and communicating your expectations to your future spouse will serve to grow you both as individuals and as a couple.
Make A Budget
One of the biggest causes of divorce is money issues and being on the same page financially is a must when it comes to a successful marriage. Before you walk down the aisle, figure out the details of your individual finances so you know how to form a budget accordingly. One of you may have debt from school or maybe you’re considering going back to school after you get back from the honeymoon. Discuss this with your future spouse. Set financial goals as a couple and develop a plan to achieve them. Answer the hard questions. How will debt be handled? How much do we want to save? What will be our investments? Are we joining our bank accounts? Who’s income goes toward what bills? All questions needing detailed answers.
Have A Fight
We’re not advocating for you to pick a fight with your future partner simply for the sake of it, but if you’ve managed to make it to your engagement without ever getting into a disagreement with your partner now might be the time to. Fighting is a slippery slope as too much of it can be a poison and too little can mean you’re not getting to the heart of tough issues. Getting into a disagreement so close to the wedding might make you a bit skittish but in reality it can bring you even closer together as a couple. If need be, use a marriage therapist to act as a mediator to help you identify and address underlying issues in a healthy way.
Find A Mentor Couple
Identify a strong couple with a healthy relationship to keep you and your future partner accountable and in check. It’s pivotal that you both trust each member of the partnership. A mentor couple gives you a first-hand account into what a real world relationship looks like. You’ll see that both you and your mentorship couple go through similar ups and downs. You’ll witness firsthand what other couples are doing to keep their marriage alive and strong.
Set Goals Together
You’re a team now. And as a team, you will need to sit down and create goals as a team. Create a Marriage Mission Statement and a Marriage Manifesto to clearly define what you hope to achieve with this marriage. Write it down. Turn it into wall art. Make sure you see it on a daily basis to remind of your commitment on days when trials make you question why you even married this person in the first place.
Meet With A Marriage Therapist
Many couples wait until it’s too late to seek help for their marriage. By the time the “D” word gets brought into play, there’s already so much anger and resentment built up that it’s hard to see the big picture of the relationship. Instead, seek the help of a marriage therapist before you even say “I do.” A marriage therapist will guide you through the hard discussions you have yet to bring up and will act as a mediator for any underlying issues hiding below the surface. They will also provide you with activities for you to do together, date ideas, dialogues and challenges to help you get into the mind of the person you’re about to marry.
Gatway Counseling Center offers marriage therapy in Boynton Beach and South Florida. If you would like to set up an appointment for Christian Counseling or Christian Marriage Counseling fill out our contact form and we will get back to you shortly.