How to Prepare for Your Marriage

what to do before you say i do

It’s a given that in these months before you take that walk down the aisle, you’re fully immersed in all things bridal: Find a dress, book a site, research and hire vendors, choose your wedding party — the list goes on and on. But in the midst of all these pre-wedding-day activities it’s easy to lose sight of what your wedding really means: You and your fiancé will be married and will exchange vows to love one another “‘til death do us part.”

Of course, a long-lasting, happy marriage is the ideal, but reality guarantees that it can also be challenging and overwhelming at times — which is why I always recommend that couples do some pre-marriage prep along with their pre-wedding-day prep. You and your future husband should take the time now, if you haven’t already, to talk openly and honestly about your plans and expectations for married life. What To Do Before You Say “I Do”, a new book by Susan Ziggy, came across my desk recently, and it’s a great read. As Susan says, “Relationships really are jobs. You have to show up every day and pay attention to what is required…getting through the hard stuff can make it better in the end. A long term relationship is priceless, divorce isn’t!”

In her book, Susan describes the seven stages of a relationship (dating, reality sets in, engagement, marriage, married with children, empty nest syndrome and retirement). She also delves into topics that need to be discussed before you wed, such as household chores, finances, children and unexpected occurrences that may arise, like a job transfer or one (or both) of you wanting to further your education. Chapters on compatibility, compromise and communication offer solid, common sense advice. Believe me, the time you invest now to address what you both want from your married life and how you envision the years ahead will be well worth the effort. You want all the love and joy you’re feeling at this moment to last forever…and it can and will last if you’re both willing to work together on a relationship you deeply value.

Oh, and two of my favorite tips from What To Do Before You Say “I Do"? Keep a sense of humor, and always, always plan a Date Night — just the two of you spending quality time together, reconnecting, talking, laughing and cherishing each other. What To Do Before You Say "I Do" is available online at, and ($14.95, paperback and $24.95, hardcover).

—Diane Forden

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