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Knowing when to get married is important. Preparing for life after the wedding takes preparation and planning. Honestly, most of us enter into “I Do” without thinking about the impact of these 2 little words. Here is a story about Samantha and Simon to help you see what we mean:

Samantha and Simon

Samantha and Simon are in love. They have been dating and believe that moving in together is the next best step to seeing if this relationship is really going to work. They do that for a year and everything is peachy keen. So they decided to get married because living together worked so well.

They have a medium-sized wedding and go on a honeymoon, it is glorious! They come home and figure now it’s business as usual, only it’s not… Even though they have the same jobs, live in the same house, and have the same friends, something is very different and they don’t know what! They don’t talk about it, at least not with each other. They are both pretty preoccupied with their careers, in fact, they start talking to their friends outside of the marriage more than each other because neither wants the other to get wind that something doesn’t feel right.

Life after the Wedding

At home, they pretend it’s business as usual but for the rest of their lives. Samantha is talking to her “special friend at work. She is trying to figure out how her fun, slightly rebellious husband seems to be turning into just another working guy. About why he only wants a beer and a quickie before he watches the game and goes to sleep.

Simon is trying to figure out how his beautiful sexy wife Samantha seems to be tired all the time, and never available so he distracts himself by going out with the guys at work to have more beers and watch the game. All the while they are deepening their friendships outside of the marriage, the relationship itself gets weaker and still they don’t get it!

This is A Really Big Decision!

What Samantha and Simon did not account for in their plan was that the decision to get married is a major game changer both for individuals and the relationship itself. Marriage is a major commitment in any culture. It comes with all kinds of ideas about who a husband/wife is and how they act.

The moment they said “I do” everything changed in a way that there can be limited preparation for, and living together is the least effective form of preparation since it assumes that people don’t change much.

We Change When We Commit

In the moment they said their vows, each individual’s value system, life experiences, concepts, and principles all shifted and altered.  The relationship altered along with them. In fact, their experience of living together before they got married and after was completely different. People who are living together are playing house because life gets a whole lot more real when you say “I do”.

What’s missing?

Playing house is well and good. Preparing for the change that the marriage commitment inevitably drives involves exploring generational ideas about marriage. Also, establishing a shared vision. Exploring values and principles. Not to mention gaining clarity on how each individual will manage changes in each other and the relationship as they inevitably occur. Last but not least, a shared understanding of what love is and how to apply it to life. These will ultimately be what carries couples through the relationship transitions of life after the wedding and beyond.