Hold the seating charts and favors.
Have you thought about what you really need to do before you get married? Maybe you’re not digging one of those premarital classes required by your church or perhaps you don’t think your relationship is going to change all that much once you tie the knot.
But according to one expert, there are some things you need to make sure to check off your pre-wedding checklist.
What you need to know before you say, "I do." 1 of 11
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Have one big fight. 2 of 11
I'm not saying you need to pick a fight with your partner, but as I found out the hard way, there is a wrong and a right way to fight. I tended to shut down and invoke the silent treatment early in our marriage whenever we would fight, which wasn't exactly a productive way of solving problems. If you don't disagree before marriage, how will you know how to handle disagreements later on?
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Discuss your finances. 3 of 11
Sit down and have an honest and in-depth discussion about each of your finances — we're talking the good, the bad, and the ugly. Write down everything you owe, from credit card debt to student loans. Be honest and make decisions about how you'll handle your future finances. Will you have joint checking accounts? Who will pay the bills? Deciding important financial details now may save you heartache later.
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Bring up the baby factor. 4 of 11
Maybe kids aren't on your horizon just yet or maybe you're already a parent. Either way, it's a good idea to check in with your partner about where he's at on the baby-making scene before you tie the knot. Are we talking a honeymoon baby or lots of child-free years ahead of you both?
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Be honest with your partner. 5 of 11
"Bring the skeletons out of your closet," says Dr. Carla Marie Greco, a clinical psychologist in California. "This doesn't mean hanging out your 'dirty laundry' indiscriminately. What is a true necessity is being honest about anything you've hidden or forgotten to disclose that might impact your partner now or later. Your partner deserves to know the full truth of who you are and how you 'came to be' (including any mistakes you made or any untruths you may have previously told him or her). Better honest now than devastated later!"
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Talk about your life goals. 6 of 11
"Take time to really look at your personal goals and ideals in regard to important issues such as finances, employment, household duties, religion, politics, children and family," says Dr. Carla. "If you and your partner can't come to an agreement about each of these issues, then now is the time to sort it out. During courtship (dating and engagement periods), there can be a tendency to sublimate goals or ideals in order to be better aligned with a partner. Relationships can be ideal when couples have shared goals and ideals. However, marriages can also be very successful when there is not a meeting of the minds as long as there is respectful honoring of the other's goals and ideals. If goals or ideals are too far apart and compromise is impossible, the chance of a successful long term marriage is diminished."
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Accept your partner. 7 of 11
As Dr. Carla points out, this tip sounds simple, but it's actually at the root of many failed marriages. "Couples often enter marriage believing that he or she will change the other person," she says. "Some hold the belief that the other person will morph over time because of the power of love and marriage. However, people tend to become only more of who they are over time. If you enter your marriage thinking your partner will change once the wedding band is on, be prepared for a harsh awakening. If you can't accept your partner as he or she is, marriage will not be the cure."
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Invest in communication. 8 of 11
"If you feel that your relationship has communication issues now, take the time to invest in a communication course for couples," Dr. Carla advises. "Many health plans offer such classes, and they can be worth their weight in gold. By learning to invest in communication (and your marriage) now, you set the stage for years of solid teamwork in the future."
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Schedule date nights now. 9 of 11
"Take time now to set a schedule of date nights and couple time that will become an integral part of your marriage," Dr. Carla recommends. "Promise each other that you'll have weekly time to date and enjoy each other. Also set the intention that you'll have weekly time set aside (different from date time) to discuss issues, concerns, and problems. Make these times the bricks and mortar of your marriage. If you set these patterns now, you'll find that they'll carry you through the rockiest times ahead."
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Don’t expect your spouse to make you happy. 10 of 11
Yes, of course marriage can be rewarding and help you live a longer, happier life. But if you're going into marriage expecting your future spouse to be your end-all answer to eternal happiness, you're going to be sorely disappointed. And I know this because I did it. Your spouse can't make you happy — only you can do that.
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Make a vow to protect each other. 11 of 11
One of the first things that my husband and I did when we got married was go on the hunt for health and life insurance. Sure, it's not romantic, but it was a sign of our commitment to each other that we wanted to make sure that the other was protected, through good and through bad.
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