So, we could only talk about all the great things that come along with your wedding, or we can be realistic and prepare you with what you really need to make your marriage last… yep, we could be Pollyanna’s and walk around with rose colored glasses, but the chances that we will fall victim to the almost 60% of couples who get divorced would be way too high if we did that… Let’s be different! Let’s be part of the new generation who is actually realistic about our marriage and up for the challenge to do what it takes to make our marriage one that we can be proud of and truly enjoy. Throughout my career as a therapist and marriage planner, I have had the honor of stepping into people’s relationships and helping them to connect some dots that had been left out after the marriage. I have seen the ups and downs, rights and lefts, and everything in between. After all these years, I’ve pin pointed 6 very common mistakes that couples made before they got married that ultimately turned out to be the cause of their divorce. I’m going to share these mistakes with you in hopes that you will be different and have a better chance.
1. Getting Married for the WRONG reasons
All too often do people get married for the wrong reasons. If you’re getting married for one of the following reasons, think again:
(A) You feel pressure from friends, family, yourself or get an ultimatum from your partner
(B) You’ve been dating for a while and it’s just time
(C) You want to have kids
(D) Comparing yourself to friends and don’t want to get old and be the only one not married
(E) You’re trying to stop partying and you think marriage will give you stability
(F) You’re arguing a lot and you think getting married will help your relationship
2. Don’t know yourself enough
The MOST important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself. If you don’t take the time to get to know yourself, your values, your passions, your limits and your deal breakers, how can you ever share them with your partner? One of the most important things you need to do in order to make your marriage successful is to know yourself and be able to articulate your needs and wants to your spouse in a way they understand and want to give them to you.
3. Failing to discuss goals
Look, the way I see it, you can either let your marriage happen to you or you can make it happen the way you want it to by creating goals and a vision that you can both get excited about. Having goals not only provides a common passion for you to work on together as a couple, but it also adds excitement to your relationship because you now have things to look forward to.
4. Getting too blurred by the idea of the Wedding
Ok, we can’t leave out the wedding! Yes, it’s all very exciting and has it’s place in the process. Just don’t make it the only thing you think about. Make it great, but don’t let reality subside in order to get into flower and cake fantasy land. Doing that has the potential to blind you to the realities that come along with being a new wife or husband.
5. They don’t do some type of preparation or really investigate and educate oneself
Some of the most prestigious research shows that just 12 marriage prep sessions decreases your odds of divorce by 50%. In addition, there is a marriage movement going on where marriage coaches, educators and experts everywhere are providing ridiculous amounts of information, tips and skills for engaged couples to help prepare for their marriage. In fact, I’ve worked with couples who say they’d never have an unsupervised marriage again. When you prepare and have someone to help navigate and negotiate, it makes things better and easier… you know what they say, “work smarter, not harder!” It’s also true for marriage!!! Now there’s no excuse, because the information is out there. You wouldn’t go skydiving without learning how, right? ..So why would you EVER commit to a life of something with someone with out learning how? Don’t do it!!
6. Don’t ask enough questions
Asking questions in your relationship is one of the most important and inexpensive ways to build a solid foundation for you marriage. Talking about roles, household responsibilities, finances, parenting, social activities, in-laws, intimacy, sex and several other important topics can make a world of a difference in the future of your marriage.
Hopefully, you can learn from the mistakes of many others who have taken the path you are about to begin. Remember though, a mistake is NOT necessarily a bad thing. In order to truly experience love in it’s purest form, you must be willing to take risks. If you never take any risks, you’d never make any “mistakes.” And if you never make any mistakes then you wouldn’t learn about the right way to do things for you! So embrace life and don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake, just make sure you learn something from it to take with you!
7. They try to do everything on their own
As I’m sure you’ve heard, the time leading up to your wedding can be a very stressful one. If you really want to build a solid foundation for a life together with your main squeeze, learn how to delegate. Delegating works well in most aspects of life and is also a sign of a strong leader- a quality you will need to be a successful parent, and if you’re already a parent, then you know what I’m talking about. Don’t try to do everything yourself…. You’ll get burned out and you’ll be no good to anyone; besides, there are people out there that… umm … yes, do it better than you! So, go ahead, work help into your wedding budget, it’ll actually end up saving you more time over the long run.
Did you know that working with a coach or counselor in the few months before your wedding reduces stress and allows you to enjoy the big day a whole lot more? Check it out- if you and your honey meet with a mediator once a week for three months before your wedding, and verbalize differences and anxieties, not only will it help you develop a great communication style, but it will help you with that solid foundation that’s responsible for life long romantic love!!Lots of Love, Cory B. Honickman, MSW, CLC Doctoral Candidate http://wherelovehappens.com http://www.