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Why you need to say a little more than 'I do!'

Love is in the air with thousands of brides and grooms exchanging vows today, promising an everlasting union. Some will make it, many won’t. Once the wedding party is over and the honeymoon tan faded, relationship reality bites; and for nearly half of all married couples their future has divorce written all over it. As nearlyweds it can be easy to get carried away planning dream nuptials, however making Mr. and Mrs. last longer is about focusing on your relationship as part and parcel of the wedding preparations too.

Money can’t buy you love…or relationship success

Your wedding day is no doubt going to be one of the most significant events of your life; of course it’s worth celebrating. However, in recent years the celebration has become a huge focus, often putting strain on a relationship and shifting the focus onto a one-day occasion rather than on a potential lifetime together.

With nearly 200 guests invited, the average wedding day budget is around $20,000, with Chicago weddings averaging out at nearly $50,000. Across the US, over $70 billion is spent on weddings every year. It’s not surprising that a couple’s relationship can often seem to come second to such monumental event planning!

How did it all go so wrong?

If planning a wedding can be stressful, going through a divorce can be downright life changing. The number one reason many couples decide to call quits on their marriage is due to poor communication. Other reasons include arguments about finances, abuse, a feeling of falling-out-of-love, as well as infidelity.

What this comes down to is an inability for couples to understand themselves and each other, or to successfully express what they think and feel. The result is a chasm of miscommunications, feelings of betrayal, and an ever widening gap forcing couples apart. With one divorce in the US every 13 seconds, try to work on your marriage issues early to give your marriage a chance.

Start by saying more than ‘I do!’

It’s easy during the wedding preparations to have conversations filled with the minutia of the Big Day but before making a lifelong commitment you need to give your relationship time too:

  • Keep your relationship at the center of your wedding day – It’s easy to buckle under social or family pressure to create the perfect day for everyone, but you need to keep in mind what’s important to you as a couple and be true to that.
  • Keep communicating – Being married is the start of a new chapter, not the end of putting in effort to express yourselves and listen to one another. Take the time to truly listen to one another and talk about both the good and the bad. If you feel that things are starting to get out of control, your partner should be the first person you talk to.
  • Look at why you’re getting married – People marry for all sorts of reasons, not just because they’re in love. Consider why you are making this commitment and whether marriage at this time is truly what you and your partner want.
  • Discuss your expectations – What does marriage mean to you and your partner? Are you both expecting the same relationship results?
  • Talk about your short- and long-term future – After the wedding day, what next? Are you both on the same page when it comes to what you want to do with your lives and where you want to go with your relationship?
  • Exchange ideas about beliefs, opinions, and moral issues – It’s important that you know someone you are going to share your life with on many levels, including their perspective and attitude on all significant issues.
  • Agree to tackle any problems – When faced with strong emotions or relationship difficulties, do you shut down or open up? Make sure coping mechanisms are in place, as well as practical strategies, to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of any close union.

Couples counseling

Commitment is about putting time and energy into your relationship and this means identifying issues or getting support for problems as they arise. You don’t have to wait until your relationship hits rock bottom to seek help. Our counseling sessions for couples can help you navigate the bumps, diversions, and major challenges en route to a happy marriage. Contact us today to schedule a session with one of our counselors.

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