It’s been a busy year of planning, with non-stop details, never-ending lists and issues popping up all the time. Costs that keep rising out of control, and tensions that continue building between parties involved in planning and paying for the event. What was supposed to be the happiest day of your life, often feels like if has been replaced by overwhelming anxiety and frustration. Hopefully you and your fiancé have stayed the course and remained a cohesive unit who remembered what the day was about because you may still face the wrong flowers being delivered (this happened to me), drunk and inappropriate speeches (this happens very often), fights between families, CD’s without words (this happened to me too), and too much free alcohol resulting in bad and embarrassing situations. You have earned that honeymoon, and a chance to decompress, but when you return, it’s time to start to focus on what this has all really been about.
Hopefully amidst all the chaos of wedding planning, you have had time to have some important discussions about what life is going to look like in terms of living together, if you were not already. This includes some very important issues. How will you manage your bills and finances? What is a happy balance of time together and apart? How will you divide household chores? Will you have combined or separate bank accounts? Will you have utilities in both your names or just one? How will you handle the holidays? What is the plan for children and childcare? How are you going to handle boundaries with your families? How are you going to handle the fact that one of your families completely inappropriate at the wedding? Simple topics, right? Of course not, but they need to be addressed, and they need to be address right away, or it is almost shocking how fast tensions can build, and things can spin out of control.
The key to most of these issues is communication is compromise and communication. Try and understand where your partner is coming from and how they grew up in terms of issues such as finances, holidays, family, and boundaries, and work hard to find middle ground that each of you can live with so that you each feel that the other is trying to understand your feelings and needs. The fact that we quickly learn is that marriage is about compromise. It is not about getting exactly what we want and exactly what we have always known. That is not realistic, and that is not fair. It is about creating a new way that meets both of your needs on some level. It is showing our spouse that we are willing to meet them halfway on anything because this is a partnership, and partners brainstorm until they find a solution that works for them both.
This comes back again to the ideals of compromise and communication. We must have strong communication skills with our partner. We must be able to be open with them, to tell them what we are thinking and feeling, even if it is a little uncomfortable. With this level of open communication, we can truly understand where our partner is coming from, and what their needs are, and with this we are better able to come up with compromises that work best for you both. When we understand what truly matters to our partner and why, we are far more willing to meet them partway, and to concede a little more than we might have, as it is not about winning and losing, it is about making sure they have something we know matters to them, and because we love them, that matters to us. Keep these few keys points in mind early in your relationship, and even years later, and you will always be on solid ground.