It is easy to connect the words “happily ever after” to a beautiful life. In the fairytales, beyond the wedding, we just assume those three little words are all that is needed for happiness in a marriage. The next chapter is very much an undocumented secret. In thinking beyond the wedding day, brides and grooms need to plan their own “happily ever after” dream of everyday life. It begins with a conversation to eliminate uncertainty and questions.
House and Home
There is often an immediate desire to feel settled as a newly married couple. The first thought is to buy a home; yet, the smart decision is to wait. Your lives may change shortly after the wedding. The emphasis on what you want now, may drastically change in a year or two. Dave Ramsey, a respectable name in assisting couples with their finances, recommends, “Spend the first year of marriage getting to know each other, piling up cash, and getting out of debt; then, you can focus on buying a house. In Deuteronomy 24, it says that in the first year of marriage a man is meant to stay home and bring happiness to the woman he married. That translates today into not making any major decisions like buying a house, but instead just loving each other.”
It’s a wonderful feeling to sit on the couch on a Tuesday night and watch a movie together while sharing a big bowl of popcorn. In this moment of togetherness, who will be responsible for vacuuming dropped kernels and washing the bowl? Before assumptions are made, talk about what you enjoy. Who enjoys cooking or shopping for groceries? Do either of you enjoy lawn care, watering plants, or running the vacuum cleaner? One of the best ways to enjoy your marriage is doing your least favorite tasks together. At least conversation and laughter will make the time go quickly!
One of the first promises to one another is always to be honest, and keep no secrets. This rule is especially important when it pertains to your finances. You may decide to keep a joint account with separate checking accounts. Decide early who will maintain the finances, and constantly determine the priority for saving money, and what that looks like. To avoid unhappiness or speculation, a shared, online spreadsheet offers transparency for couples. To eliminate the trap of debt, it is wise to consider creating a monthly balanced budget for food, gas, and purchases. Conversations before marriage will keep you on track and ensure both of you know, and are aware of, the plan.
The excitement of being a newlywed may spark a desire for extravagant dining and long weekends out of town. There are other ways to make an evening special without the high cost. Whether it is once a week or monthly, take turns planning something special for your spouse. Why not set up a fort in the living room or a dinner in with candles, a walk through the park or downtown, it doesn’t really matter except that you are spending quality time together.
Contentment Ever After
Through open communication, the bride and groom will find understanding. You cannot read each other’s minds or know exactly what the other wants without stating it in clear, concise words. Life is not a fairytale and the dream of “happily ever after” is based on individual perspective. Weighing the hardships and loss with the miracles, support, and timely opportunities, you may discover that every aspect of your journey helped build your strength as a couple. You will need the bumpy roads to appreciate the great moments, too. Together, the journey is always worth it. Blessings to both of you! Cheers!