In this series, I will give you my perspective on marriage based on my personal and interpersonal experiences. (For the record, I am not an expert.) However, marriage is a big part of the urban landscape, but is failing miserably amongst the millennial generation. This series was created in effort to help couples prosper in their marriage, or help individuals make the decision to get married. This series is also designed to help couples on the brink of seperation or divorce. Although the topic is a very serious one, there will be some some fun involved like musical verses to accompany each topic of discussion. So, without further ado...
Alright! Congrats! You proposed! This means that you are willing and wanting to spend the rest of your life with your new fiance'. What kind of ring did you get? How many carats is it? Where did you get it? Are you ready?
That is a question that you have to ask yourself because everyone is going to ask you. Therefore, you need to be thoroughly prepared because marriage is serious business. It is a lifetime commitment; A LIFETIME COMMITMENT! You are in this thing. Ain't no turning back. You spent the money that you saved. (Remember: Purchasing an engagement ring is easy, but saving that three month salary is hard. Yes, I said THREE MONTHS!) I mean you sacrificed hanging out with friends. You probably did not buy those shoes you wanted, or that new software for your computer. In other words, you sacrificed. That right there is a step in the right direction, my good friend. You are willing to SACRIFICE. I mean you do love the person you proposed to, right? You to have to be willing to give. You have to be willing to make some significant changes. Your life is headed for a journey called SHARING. (Remember: Sharing is caring. That sink in the bathroom is going to belong to both of you. Oh yes, and that last corner of juice in the fridge belongs to both of you. But are your really going to drink the last of it? Better ask for first. There is one last thing to remember about that juice. You better use a cup! The savage life is over!)
Besides sharing silly things like juice and the bathroom sink, keep something else in mind. When you get married, you inherit things that you may not like. One of those things unfortunately is debt. Whether its mounting credit card debt or student loans, those things will effect you, too. Hell, toll booth violations can have an effect as well. Debt can stop you and your fiance' from purchasing the house you desire. It can stop you from making your full salary at work because of wage garnishment. This effects the income in your home. (Remember: Financial strain has a huge influence on the stability of your marriage.) Now, let's say hypothetically you know that your fiance' has ridiculous amounts of debt. Are you prepared to support? I mean, two incomes are better than one. (Remember: You two are in this thing for richer or for poorer) The less debt there is, the more money and material things you both can have. The more debt you bring to the table potentially introduces you both to financial strife and a sense of unhappines. So, before you and your fiance' say "I do", try to knock out some debt. Less is more.
People say things.
"Why are you getting married?"
"You are too young to get married."
"Why are you marrying him/her?"
The list goes on and on and on. It comes from everyone. It may start with your parents and trickle down to a person you haven't seen since high school. Be firm in your decision. Honestly, you may not be liked by your fiance's circle. The worst thing you can do is let a person make you second guess your decision. Love is a beautiful thing, but it is even better when the loyalty comes with it. (Remember: Not everyone is going to support you. It is up to you to always remember who you are marrying.) Something you that must pay attention to is the interaction with the family. When you marry your fiance', keep in mind that you are marrying the family, too. You will see them at Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Grandma's birthday party. Being involved with someone whose family makes you feel awkward is a red flag. Hopefully, you can address that before the marriage. If you can ignore it, more power to you. If you can't, however, maybe you should reconsider. Being alone makes you tough, but it can make resentful as well. You may not feel welcomed, and that hurts so bad. Perhaps, you can look past that, or thankfully you don't have to go through that. Either way, keep your eye on them.
Okay, so we have addressed debt and family. What could possibly be next? Oh, I have one. Clean out that closet. Get rid of the old flames. Get rid of the bad habits. The time to do it is now. No. It is RIGHT NOW! The last thing you want to happen is your new husband or wife finding all of those bones in your closet. Those bones could potentially fall out, and hurt that person bad. (Remember: Hiding things is just as bad as lying. It may be worst than lying because you are holding something back. What happens in the dark eventually comes to the light.) Sometimes letting go is hard. However, are you really willing to gamble the longevity of your marriage? Man, let that shit go. It ain't worth it. I will be honest, that "for better or for worse" thing doesn't mean a lot when shit goes down. You can get divorced for just hiding things and bad habits. Apparently, that right there is enough for some people to leave. If you have a secret phone number, get rid of it. If you have a secret bank account, close it. It'll be harder to do later. (Remember: The day you proposed was the start of a new beginning. So, out with the old so you can enjoy the brand new.)
Something that is very seldom discussed during the engagement is religion. I'm not big on religion, but it is something you need keep in the front of your mind. Some couples may not have this issue. To those who do, remember, if you both go to church or one does and the other doesn't, you need to figure it out. Let's take a scenario: A grew up in a Lutheran church. B grew up Baptist. Both are forms of Christianity. However, they are very, very different. The Baptist church may be to loud and dramatic. The Lutheran Church is very conservative and laid back. Where do you find your median? During the engagement, start visiting churches together. Maybe, you should look into a non-denominational church. This is only a big deal in my opinion because if children are in the fold or in the future, you can't confused them. Be consistent on how you worship and where you worship. If either of you don't go to church, this section isn't for you.
The last thing you want to make sure of during the engagement is be supportive. Wedding planning is stressful. It's even more stressful because EVERYONE has an opinion. Opinions are bothersome. Everyone may not like the invitations, but everyone wants one. People may not like the food choices, but people really show up to the wedding just to eat and get drunk. (Well, it's true. Only a quarter of your guests may be there to actually witness the nuptials. Some want the party-like atmosphere. I'm just being honest.) Needless to say, this day belongs to you and your soon-to-be husband/wife. Outside opinions do not matter, period.
The hardest part of any adult's life is shedding that bachelor/bachelorette lifestyle. But if you can make it to wedding day, it'll be one of the greatest accomplishments in your entire life. Now, put down that honey bun or slice of pizza. You have twenty pounds to lose for the big day! See you on wedding day!
TO BE CONTINUED...