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How to Plan for a Marriage, Not Just a Wedding

March 4, 2019

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I really love to help my couples with wedding planning advice. After all, planning a wedding is quite the task! But often, I encourage them to dive a little deeper and put more focus into the foundation of what it’s all about – your marriage!

Your marriage is more important than your wedding, so the goal is to find ways to treat it as such.

“But I already know everything about my fiance. There’s nothing else to do. The work is done. Now time to celebrate.”

I felt the exact same way. But I soon realized that although we had been dating and laying that foundation for a little while now, it was time to make that foundation even more rock solid now that we were engaged.

Have you ever heard the term “post-wedding day blues?” Unfortunately, I hear it more than I’d like to from couples who spend SO much time glamorizing their wedding day, they forget to feed their marriage. Let’s avoid that and keep those butterflies around longer by nourishing your marriage!

Keep Dating. Seems pretty obvious considering you’ve been doing this up until this point. But the fact still remains- couples are more likely to date less the longer their relationship goes on. Don’t stop dating.

Day dates, nigh dates- doesn’t matter. Setting aside un-disruptive time together keeps the relationship alive. This is key to feeding your marriage.

Even bigger tip? I challenge you to ditch the smart phones on your dates!!

Take “wedding talk” breaks. I was talking to a friend once and he said, “We didn’t really have anything to talk about after the wedding because we spent so much time talking about the wedding before the wedding.” Sound exhausting? I should note that he was referring to his in-laws, but nonetheless we don’t want this happening between you and your future spouse either!

Don’t make life all about the wedding or else the glitz will fade fast after your big day.

Learn to Serve. Marriage is all about serving one another. The best piece of advice I ever got in regards to being married is to go into the marriage with a servant’s heart. When your spouse asks you to do something you don’t really feel like doing, do it anyways. Remember, you both are a team now so anything you can do to help the team, you need to do it!

Always look for ways to serve them. They will inevitably do the same for you, and you’ll be amazed at how things will change for the better within your marriage.

Pre-marital counseling. Uh-oh, did I lose you here? Before you keep scrolling, hear me out! Counseling was by far the best decision we have yet to make as a couple. It changed so much for us. Yes, C.J. “already knew everything about me” but maybe some things I glazed over in the past – you know that really hard stuff you buried long ago from your past- I was able to really talk it out with him. You have got to be willing to talk about the hard stuff as an engaged couple before you’re a married couple. Trust me, it’s not as scary as it sounds. He’ll still love you for your messy past. And if he doesn’t, well my dear, you just dodged a bullet with your dignity intact.

And you know how they say communication is key? Well, this will help with that too. Women and men are wired differently. And on top of it all, each person is wired a little differently. Counseling will help you view your differences in a way that enhances them instead of causing friction later down the road.

Work on it together. Key word: together. There are a lot of helpful books out there that will bring you two closer together as a couple! We read Getting Ready for Marriage and it was a game changer. We also did the Love Languages quiz.

The goal here really is to keep exploring new ways to love your fiance. Whatever that may be for you- create the time to find out what that is.

Have Fun. Your honeymoon phase doesn’t have to end just because people say it will. Sure your relationship will evolve as life changes. But you just have to remember to keep having fun together!!

I am by no means a marriage expert, but these are some things C.J. and I did while we were engaged and looking back, we are blown away by how much changed, in a good way. I was ready to marry him the day I said “yes,” but I am so glad we had the engagement we did. We grew in our relationship so much and in ways we didn’t imagine- all because we took the time to nourish what was already planted. And we hope the same for you.

So keep exploring new ways to love your partner-for-life. Keep having fun. Keep dating. Don’t let the wedding consume you, instead let your love consume you!

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