Planning For Marriage
When you’re thinking about tying the knot with someone, you probably are preoccupied with planning your wedding—what you’re both going to wear, what venue you’ll be married at, and who you will invite. What many people don’t spend as much time on is actual marriage planning. What will you do after you tie the knot and come back from your honeymoon? That’s where the real challenge starts. Today we answer Nicole, a reader from St. Louis, who is planning to embark soon on the journey of marriage.
Nicole from Fairfax, VA writes:
“My boyfriend of a year proposed to me recently. I actually already said yes (I was thrilled!), but it came to me that a lot of my friends who were thrilled when they got married years ago aren’t so thrilled anymore. I love Jeff and I’m sure we could have a great life together—but I’m completely overwhelmed at the idea of planning our future together. What advice can you give us on marriage planning so we don’t end up like some of our friends?”
Hi Nicole. To start off, congratulations on getting engaged! You are right; this is a big step, and the first of many. You’re also right that a lot of couples don’t really realize what a huge lifestyle change marriage can be, and that in many ways it’s a partnership which is focused on very practical concerns. What I suggest is that you make a list of topics to discuss openly, honestly, and pragmatically before you actually tie the knot. For example:
- Financial goals and budgets
- Do you want children? If so, how many?
- Religious concerns
- Family and friends
- Career objectives
- Household responsibilities
- Where will you live, and in what kind of home?
- Daily schedules
- Sex life
- Other personal needs
This is just a short list—you could list a whole lot of other topics. When you get married, you are largely making an agreement to share financial predicaments (for richer or poorer) and usually a living space (unless jobs sometimes take you elsewhere, for example).
Remember to be completely honest about your needs and wants, and make a careful delineation between things you can live with and things you can’t. Marriage is in many ways about compromise. If there are things you can not compromise on, you and your fiancé will need to identify them now, and make each other aware of those issues. So long as you are compatible on those basic essential needs, then you can work out a plan which incorporates your other needs together. Again, this will probably require each of you to make some compromises.
A lot of people skip this step because they are excited to plan their weddings. This is totally understandable! But a bit of open practicality now can save you both a lot of hassle—and maybe even heartbreak later. Marriage is a pragmatic choice with legal and financial repercussions, and planning your marriage is just the first of many plans you will be laying together as husband and wife.