Focus on Your Marriage, Not Just the Wedding

Who doesn’t love a wedding? These special events are romantic, beautiful and filled with meaning. People come from near and far to witness your union as you express your commitment to one another. But with all the attention on the big day, you may not spend an equal amount of time reflecting on the marriage that follows.

Long-lasting relationships are rare and wonderful. They’re also hard work. While planning a wedding is difficult, you will face many challenges that are even greater. So as you’re getting ready for your wedding ceremony, it makes sense to think about the life you’re building together.


Let’s be clear. I’m not advising you against having the wedding of your dreams. But I would recommend that you begin creating the relationship you want right now – starting with the decisions you need to make for the big day.

Planning a wedding can be a great exercise in giving and taking. Choosing the wedding gifts you want can be a good starting point. When you’re registering, pay attention to how you’re communicating. Is one of you demanding all the power of choice? Is one of you too passive and yielding?

When you disagree, how do you resolve things? Can you come to a compromise that satisfies you both? Exploring these questions with an open mind can strengthen the bond between you.


Long ago, people said that whatever you did in the months before your wedding would set the tone for the rest of your days. Though the way we view marriage and life has changed substantially, I feel there’s still some solid truth to that statement.

When you are looking at furniture and your future partner says, “Whatever you think is fine with me”, it might seem caring and sweet. Ten years down the road when you’re refinancing the house or deciding which car to buy, “whatever you think” may put too much pressure on you. You may resent making all the decisions by yourself – and feel guilty when things don’t work out as you hoped.

The same is true when one spouse demands the right to make all the decisions. When one wants a recliner in the living room and the other ignores that wish, putting a sectional sofa in without any discussion, resentment builds. Both partners should have a say in how their home looks and feels, even if it takes substantial time to work out the details.


Of course, there’s a middle ground here. Some decisions are yours alone to make. For example, one of you may want a custom dress or suit for the ceremony. That’s your call. The other may want to rent a gown or tuxedo – and that choice is purely personal.

Compare that, however, with the task of planning your honeymoon or deciding whether to sell one partner’s home and live in the other. Clearly, there are choices that must be made as a couple if you’re both going to feel a sense of engagement and balance.


I often remind couples that I work with that love is not something we “fall into” or “fall out of”. It’s not measured by the size of a diamond or the amount you spend on your reception. Love is something that we do. Love means showing honor, respect, kindness, and support even when it’s not easy to feel those things.

When we practice giving love, even when it’s hard, the bonds between us grow stronger. This is how love and commitment grow over time. One day you realize that your love has turned into something you never imagined it could be. You can’t envision your life without each other. That’s the foundation for a lasting marriage, and it begins now.


Did you know that many couples enter marriage counseling even before they say “I do”? Getting together with a couples therapist can be a powerful way to make sure you are aligned and communicating well as you begin your life together. It’s also a great way to ease the stress of making all the decisions that are demanding your attention right now. To schedule a conversation in my offices, get in touch with me today.