Plan Your Marriage—Not Just a Wedding

Photo Credit: Holli B. Photography

I’m less than seven months away from being a bride, but lately I’ve been thinking less about that role and more about the new one I will have to fulfill as a wife. Brides (myself included) can become engrossed in wedding plans, and I feel that we need to remember this journey is about the rest of our lives, not just one day.

Understatement of the year: A lot of work goes into planning a wedding. From picking the centerpieces to booking vendors, there are endless tasks to complete. However, more time and effort goes into a marriage, and frankly, that's more important. Yes, it's easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of planning the biggest day of your lives, and really, I think that's fine! Choosing each detail and checking off to-do's is a fun and memorable experience—but that shouldn't be "it." My fiancé Corey and I often discuss our celebration to great lengths, but what I've found is that we brides don't often discuss what happens after the cake is cut and the dress is packed in your closet. Don't get me wrong, we've had the kids talk and discussed finances thoroughly, but I know marriage is deeper than any single conversation.

When I got engaged, my sister told me, “Well, I can give you advice on how to be happily married… for one year.” (She and her husband just celebrated their one-year mark and are still happily married). Her advice touches on an important point: We ALL need to work on our marriages until death do us part. It's not a one-year (or 10, 25, or even 50-year) commitment—it's forever.

I expect marriage to be fulfilling, joyous, comforting and loving, but I’m not naïve enough to believe there won’t be difficult days. I think it’s important that newlyweds-to-be discuss what is expected in a marriage—what each person hopes for and how they plan to make it work forever. Corey and I make it a point to discuss our plans after marriage, but I think we need to focus on it even more. Couples are really doing a disservice to their lives together if they don’t discuss the big issues before they take that final walk down the aisle.

Need to get the conversation going? I’ve come up with a list of questions to discuss based on a few different online sources:

  • How can your partner make you happy on a daily basis?
  • Besides love, what is your main reason for marrying your partner?
  • What does the word "compromise" mean to you and how will you apply it to your marriage?
  • Who will do the majority of the household chores or how will they be divided?
  • If you plan to have children, how many would you want and when would you like to start growing your family?
  • How much of your income would you like to save?
  • Where would you like to eventually live: beach, city, suburbs?
  • How do you prefer to spend your free time?
  • Are you impulsive or a planner? How do you deal with the unexpected?
  • Do you share the same level of religious commitment?
  • How will you resolve disputes?
  • What’s your 5-year plan (both personally and professionally)?

Tell us: How are you preparing for your marriage?


— Nikki Stroud