Plan Your Marriage, Not Just Your Wedding

It’s time to change the story of what a wedding is about. Because, folks, it’s become less about the marriage and more about… well, the wedding.

I’m marrying my favorite person in the entire world next year and couldn’t be more excited, but it’s not sealing the deal that I’m thrilled about, it’s the thought of experiencing life and the prospect of endless adventures with my man.

But since he put a ring on my finger, certain questions come at me almost daily, and it’s somewhat unsettling.

When is the big day?

What does your dress look like?

What’s your color theme?

Don’t get me wrong, I know it comes from a good place and I’m more than happy to share photos of the venue or the hair style I’ve selected for the day -– but I’d be lying if I wasn’t more interested in planning our future together than pantone colours.

What message are we sending to newly engaged couples when the majority of conversation is around one day, and everything but their future and the marriage itself?

A LOT of work goes into planning a wedding (talk about an understatement!). From selecting the menu to working out where to sit Aunt Peggy, the list can be seemingly endless. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the fun of planning one of the most significant days of your lives. And, honestly, that’s okay.

As someone who loves to write lists and plans everything to the nth degree (Hello — I’m an Executive Assistant by trade) I can wholeheartedly understand the appeal of putting all your energy into planning the big day.

But that shouldn’t be where it ends.

On the other side of getting hitched is a lifetime commitment, something that almost 50 percent of couples don’t see through. And yet, from my experience, life after the Big Day appears to be the conversation that brides just aren’t having with friends, family and colleagues.

The average length of a marriage before divorce is 12 years. What happens in the lead up to that twelfth year?

I’ve listened, bewildered, during a number of conversations with fellow brides-to-be who have expressed sadness around what happens post-wedding. Ermm… you’re now married to the love of your life? You get to spend the rest of your lives together?

I think we need to be asking future brides — and grooms! — something different. We should be asking them the questions that might frighten them, the questions that could very well cause them to step into unchartered territory when it comes to their relationship.

Things like: what are you most looking forward to about being married? What goals and dreams do you have as a married couple? How have you grown together over the course of your engagement?

These are the questions that matter when it comes to a long-lasting marriage.

Sure, they’re not the pretty or cute questions we’re used to hearing when talking about a wedding, but they’re the ones that matter when it comes to building strong, impenetrable marriages that make it beyond that 12-year itch. And so, they’re the ones I will be turning my attention to in the lead up to tying the knot.

I could never know exactly what a lifetime looks like with my future hubby, but I know those days will shape our relationship in a way that is just as significant as the one where we don our best and say ‘I do’.

I can’t wait for both.

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