The amount of time (and money—don’t forget about the money!) that goes into planning a wedding is astounding. It’s one of those things that you don’t really believe until you’re in the thick of it. Even though you’ve gotten annoyed with your friends who got married before you: when they had to cancel on girls’ night to work on their seating chart, were constantly preoccupied with RSVPs and centerpieces, and couldn’t hold a conversation unless it was about their reception playlist. Once you’re planning your own, you finally understand how the whole debacle is such an immense undertaking.
Time, energy, and money…honey
According to The Wedding Report, the average couple spends about 16 months planning for their wedding, and over $25,000 on their wedding day. Y’all, that is a heck of a lotta time and a hell of a lotta money…especially when statistically, 50% of those marriages will end in divorce. YIKES!
I hate to be glum, but I’m going to challenge you to think about it for a minute. Is there anything else in your life you would dedicate that much time and money toward, knowing that there was only a 1 in 2 chance that it would be successful? HECK NO!
The sad reality is that so many of us dedicate a whole lot of financial and emotional energy toward our wedding day, but forget to dedicate the same level of effort toward preparing for marriage.
And trust me, I get it. It’s not really our fault. We don’t really get much education—either formally or informally—about how to be a good spouse, a good partner. How to have a successful and satisfying relationship. The messages we receive about getting married are more focused on color schemes and dress styles than conflict resolution and love languages. We’re expected to just know.
But the truth is that being married is hard sometimes. Just like with anything else, acquiring knowledge about best-practices in “marriage-ing,” and mastering practical skills that foster healthy relationship dynamics can significantly increase your chances of success!
First things first
Is your wedding day important? Abso-freaking-lutely. But so is your marriage. In fact, it might even be – gasp! – MORE important (can I say that on a wedding planning website?).
Wondering what it is you can actually do to prepare for your marriage (while also wedding planning, perhaps)? Here are some of my favorite pieces of advice:
- Participate in marriage counseling with your spouse-to-be. Many religious institutions will require this as a prerequisite for having a religious wedding ceremony, but I think it is a great opportunity to learn about each other regardless of where you are getting married. There are secular options as well, and even virtual programs as well that you can complete from the comfort of home. SUCH a solid investment in your relationship
- Anyone in hear as big a fan of therapy as I am? In lieu of or in addition to marriage counseling, you might find it helpful to see a couples therapist leading up to the wedding and potentially on-going after you’ve tied the knot. Contrary to popular belief, therapy isn’t just for “when things go wrong,” but can be a really helpful tool for preventing marital difficulties
- There are a ton of personal development books out there on relationships and marriage, and while they can’t possibly be as direct and tailored as seeing a professional, they can still be really helpful… but both of you have to participate! My boo and I have actually started our own little book-club, reading one of my favorite relationship resources of all time together before we get hitched (we will “assign” a chapter a week and then talk about it during date night. It’s actually been REALLY fun but also wildly helpful!)
If you’re reading this and rolling your eyes just thinking about how you could possibly find the time in your day for reading when you already have so many other things to do (those invitations aren’t gonna address themselves, after all!), I urge you to consider what’s more important in the long run: That your guests get customized favors? Or that you’re in a rich, satisfying, supportive and healthy relationship with your beloved 15 years from now?
Colby Marie Z is a sex & relationship coach, educator, speaker and blogger based out of Providence, RI. She is a doctoral candidate in human sexuality, an avid (slash obnoxious) football fan, and has been proudly talking about sexual pleasure, confidence, and satisfaction for 10+ years. You can find out more about Colby at sexloveandallthefeels.com, or connect with her on Twitter or Instagram.