There is a never ending stream of books, articles, blogs and websites dedicated to planning a perfectly magical wedding on just about every budget, in just about every venue imaginable for themes that are new or tried and true. This is often referred to as the marriage industrial complex. The industry creates new must have treats, favors and traditions every year. Along with this creativity is the burgeoning, almost explosive cost of weddings. These are often two day events produced to mimic a small Broadway theater production. Untold hours, a myriad of details and plenty of frayed nerves accompany the planning of these huge productions. The one component that is so often over looked, is planning for the actual marriage. Think about the reality of spending a year planning for a an event that will last less than two days versus spending less than two days planning a marriage that is intended to last a lifetime. Simply falling in love and finding your soul mate is not the foundation for a lifetime spent navigating the challenges that life presents.

Whether you attend a church that has premarital counseling, head over to  Best Buy with a  Groupon and explore the titles available for marriage planning and counseling. Software selections are plentiful on this topic. How will you handle finances? Do one of you have large student loan commitments? Discuss savings versus spending. At what point do you consult the other prior to making large purchases? Who will take care of the housekeeping and bill paying? How will it be split? These things don’t just happen, they need to be discussed.  How will you handle clashes and challenges with extended family? While the solution to most of these issues lies in trust, compromise and clear communication, they must be discussed prior to the wedding.

Life throws a lot of curve balls that can’t be anticipated. How will you argue and disagree? How will you handle conversations that you’d rather not have but know are necessary? Certainly many issues will arise over decades of marriage that you can’t anticipate, but you can certainly discuss and commit to how you will handle the challenges as you navigate the changes life will inevitably bring.

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