In the hustle and hectic pace of wedding planning, it can be easy to lose sight of what the event is all about. The ceremony, the celebration at a lovely venue, and the gathering of friends and family are all fun elements, sure—but ultimately, the day is about you and your significant other making a serious, visible commitment to each other on a new level. And that commitment comes with its own serious of complications and challenges—which is why it’s so important not to dive in blindly. Check out these suggestions for how to prepare for marriage while planning a wedding.
Chat with a couple you admire.
It’s always a good idea to glean advice from people you respect, who have experience in the area of life you’re about to enter. Some people have mentors for career-related aspects of their lives, and gaining a mentor in the area of marriage is a great way to prepare for marriage.
Find an older couple with a solid, happy marriage and ask them to get together for dinner, drinks, or coffee so you can pick their brains for tips on how to make a marriage work. Chances are, they’ll be happy to give you some practical advice.
Start thinking as a team.
It’s wonderful and necessary to be your own person, to be independent; but when you’re entering into marriage with another person, you have to change your perspective a little bit. Marriage is a partnership, and you’ll need to work on making more decisions together.
If you haven’t already discussed how to merge your finances, this is a good time to do so. Decide how much of your assets will be jointly handled and how much will remain in your individual control. If you haven’t already lived together, talk about your new living arrangements, belongings, and ground rules for sharing space.
Go to couples counseling.
Couples counseling gets a bad rap in some TV shows and movies, but in reality, it’s not just for couples on the brink of divorce. The communication strategies and conflict resolution tips they teach you in these counseling sessions can make your marriage stronger and may even prevent you from reaching that breaking point in the future.
You may already be struggling to communicate about certain issues, or to find the necessary points of compromise on hot topics. Couples counseling can help you work all that out and come together even stronger for your new marriage.
Drop the old baggage.
Before you get married, it’s a good idea to de-clutter your life, your possessions, and your relationships. Go through your belongings and decide what you can let go of to give yourself a cleaner, fresher start in your marriage.
Then think about your personal connections. Do you have toxic family members, awful exes, or former frenemies you need to disentangle yourself from? What about mementos from other relationships? It’s up to you how much you keep or discard, but your wedding day is a wonderful time for a new beginning.