All to often I see the bride and groom getting lost in the details of planning, and if I am completely being honest, I do to. Recently, I have been more sensitive to this issue and want to take a moment to get more personal.
Prior to my very own wedding/marriage my expectations were full of fairy tales and lots of loving. I was naïve in thinking that there wouldn't be difficult days and that the key to a long, lasting marriage wouldn't take WORK at all! I expected my husband to allow me to do whatever, whenever and however, without throwing a fit and with complete support. His expectations were different, but also self seeking at times...a barefoot and pregnant wife, home cooked meals and a perfectly cleaned home when he came home from work each day. I thought he would continue to wine and dine me, and he thought I would give him daily love notes that would never cease.
This was certainly not the case and was almost culture shock upon revelation. Lust quickly became starch reality. No more wine and dining, or cute little notes--go ahead and add kids to this recipe, along with disagreements, kids fighting, careers, long hours, pet peeves, worldly influences, all kinds of kid activities and an enormous amount of other distractions.
I have to admit that after my husband proposed to me in Africa...this was grand(oh man, if he asks me big questions like this all the time, I am going to be the luckiest girl ever!)I came home from that amazing, surprise proposal and quickly got lost in the wedding hype, showers, the decor, and all the ideas I had in creating something unique. I hit the ground running and soon forgot why I even said "yes" to the man of my dreams. I can say without question that most conversations we had as a couple during the 6 months of planning, were quickly "wedding" related. What kind of food, how many tables and chairs, what was our color and theme? We forgot to continue dating. Forgot to continue getting to know what our likes and dislikes were and most certainly forgot to build a strong foundation for the next 24 years of marriage instead of the 24 hours of wedding celebration.
My 7 year marriage has had it's challenges, but I can say that after 7 years, it has truly become about "love" and not lust. Sometimes, love is a daily choice even, but I know God has brought me the man I am suppose to live life's adventures with. I share this in hopes that you will ask more of the hard questions and have more uncomfortable conversations that are not all fun to set the foundation for a strong marriage before your big wedding.
While we aren't the way we used to be be walking down the aisle, we can still integrate the things we loved about each other during the 'lust" stage; notes, diners out...they just simply mean more now, especially when it is not as common as before the "I Do".
I think it’s important that newlyweds-to-be discuss what is expected in a marriage—what each person hopes for and how they plan to make it work for them. Couples are really doing a disservice to their lives together if they don’t discuss the big issues before they take that final walk down the aisle. Now, let me assure you, I know that there will be conflict even if you do your homework before hand. Preconceived notions and comparing our relationship to other couples; that's what gets us into trouble!
Here are some questions you can ask on your next date that will begin to create open communication between you and your fiancé, all while preparing for a day that honors your life long commitment to each other.
- Besides love, what is your main reason for marrying your partner?
- What are three things other than appearance that you love about your partner?
- What does the word "compromise" mean to you and how will you apply it to your marriage?
- Who will do the majority of the household chores?
- How will they be divided if you both work?
- If you plan to have children, how many would you want and when would you like to start growing your family?
- How much of your income would you like to save?
- Do you save?
- How do you prefer to spend your free time?
- Are you impulsive or a planner?
- How do you deal with the unexpected?
- How do you deal with conflict/confrontation?
- Do you share the same level of religious commitment?
- How will you resolve disputes?
- What’s your 5-year plan (both personally and professionally)?
What are some creative ways that you might be preparing for your marriage while planning your wedding? We would LOVE to share with others!