Before you say, “I do”

Dr Nighatoli P Achumi
Pastoral Counselor and SYMBIS 
facilitator IICC, Sovima 6th mile

Imagine a typical engaged couple and the schedule that follows. You are elated about the wedding day preparations. The date is fixed, and the venue checked. The invitation card, program and guest list are done. The planner, caterer, photographer, and videographer are engaged. The wedding gown, and suit are in the process of finishing up and the make-up artist is booked. The bridal shower planned. This is that one auspicious day in a lifetime and requires meticulous planning. It involves a grand budget, terrific support team and innovative ideas. This euphoric phase of preparing for the wedding day is made possible because of the love and support of near and dear ones. Finishing off the celebration will be followed by a honeymoon trip.

The wedding day arrives. The team work of many days and months of preparation pays off. You are the apple of everyone’s eyes; you stand tall, and say the vow, "I Adam, take you Eve, for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. I will love and honor you all the days of my life. Then, you officially become husband and wife.

After the ceremony, the venue loses its grandeur as the planners take off the decorations, the scrumptious cuisines clear off, guests leave, the invitation card and program leaf, having served their purpose, lay dormant. The expensive gown and suit go back to the closet, make-up washes off, photos and video become a thing of the past, and you find your solace going off on a honeymoon trip. And thus, the journey of a married life unfolds. 

Well! If things go well, you will enjoy the honeymoon phase. A study by Michael F Lorberet (2015), shows that the honeymoon lasts for approximately two and a half years. It could be much shorter for many. Stories of couples who have had big conflicts that flared up during the honeymoon trip are not uncommon. When the honeymoon phase tapers off, couples become more real and aware of each other’s shortcomings. As Mouhtis puts it, “You begin to realize that this person isn’t perfect; you see their imperfections, and inevitable conflict will start to creep in.” The gratifying notion is that, “the end of honeymoon phase is when real life with this person settles in and long term relationships start to build”. The irony is many couples fail to visualize this phase as a potential time for a deeper, intimate and meaningful relationship. Perhaps, lack  of knowledge and unpreparedness could be one of the many reasons why at this phase couples either  allow their differences to tear  them apart or take ages to come to an understanding, acceptance and moving on as a team

We live in a fast-paced generation. We like to have everything delivered quickly and in a convenient way. We prefer better houses, better cars, better gadgets, better this, better that, etc. And provided finance is in flow, upgrading material things is much easier now than ever.  However, a marriage relationship does not get upgraded as material things. Marriage is enriched by investing time, getting to know your partner extremely well and playing together as a team.

If you desire the grandiose venue and all the hard-toiled preparation of the wedding day to be the epitome of truly preparing to mean and live out the vow, “I do” then there is something within your reach: investing for your marriage. Pulling in the notion of being in a fast paced generation, marriage preparation counseling is that one tool that will help you elevate your marriage relationship. Therefore, before you say “I do,” amid the assiduous task of the wedding day preparation, save for yourself some dime and time for marriage preparation counseling. You will find that when the wedding day is done and the honeymoon phase has waned, you have the keys to unlock the treasure that lies within your marriage relationship. When a marriage relationship is great, upgrading other material aspects will be an added sparkle to a great life.