Planning a wedding is tough, planning a marriage is tougher (Lovegevity Wedding Planning Institute, http://www.weddingplanninginstitute.com). So much time and energy are spent on the details for producing the perfect wedding. I watch the wedding planning shows on television and marvel at the lengths brides go to find the perfect dress, organize a themed event to a “T”, and spend way beyond what is financially comfortable.
Research shows that only 10% of engaged couples sign up for premarital classes, education, or counseling before their big day. Statistics also show that 80% of those who invested in such sessions stayed together.
The divorce rate for first time marriage is high and that of second marriages is even more astounding. First time couples have to deal with the pressures of performance and expectations. For second-time couples that pressure is even greater and 90% of the time, there will be the added issue of children from previous marriages.
I am a firm believer in the “getting to know you” process – remember the song from the movie The King and I – Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You? This process can be very revealing and very instructive. Habits, idiosyncrasies, and the personal pet-peeves that have nothing to do with the pet and everything to do with the other person will manifest given the right amount of time. Then with this exposure, one gets to decide if they could live with these “annoyances.”
Conversations on compromise and deal-breakers must take place. Discussions on the management of money, time, conflict, household affairs, vacations, having kids, raising kids, getting pets, and dealing with step-children, in-laws, exes, and friends are paramount.
Dr. Leslie Parrott of RealRelationships (http://www.relationships.com) says “the number one marriage myth is that a spouse should make us whole. This myth gives engaged couples unrealistic expectations. In other words, forget the Jerry Maguire “you complete me” thing. Both members of a relationship should work on personal wholeness first, not perfection, to achieve a self-awareness that brings individual satisfaction.”
At Indulge (http://www.indulge-events.com) we believe that we have a responsibility to equip our bridal clients with all the tools and resources necessary for both a beautiful wedding and a successful marriage.
For a list of marriage preparation classes or premarital counseling sessions in your area, click on the link below.
Catholic Engaged Encounter, Inc.: http://engagedencounter.org/
The American Association of Christian Counselors: http://www.aacc.net/
International Christian Coaching Association: http://iccaonline.net/
Trinity Global Empowerment Ministries, Inc.: http://www.trinitygem.org/index.html
1st Step Assessment: http://1ststepassessment.com/