Growing up with a big sister, I paid attention, I took advice. Even though she probably never knew it (I would have never let on she was imparting any kind of wisdom to me) there were a lot of things I took from her in my earlier years. How to settle into ‘big school’, when to wear the blue top, and when to wear the red, how to cope moving out from our parents for the first time… Now as she announces her engagement I couldn’t be happier, and find myself in a unique position to impart whatever bit of advice I can to her.
Well 18 months into marriage, I’ve whittled down the foundations of a happy love story into what I like call ‘the 3 C’s’. Important when planning your big day together, and equally as core in building the foundations of a happy marriage – or so we have found anyway. So to the newly engaged, this is my advice to you…
You work well together. You bounce off each other. You may challenge each other or agree at every turn. No matter what the dynamic of your relationship, remember to bring yourselves together in planning your big day. Your wedding is about both of you, as your relationship has been up until this point, and your marriage will be thereafter.
Andrew and I collaborate on all aspects of our lives. We’ve built a marriage based on our combined views and morals. We’re building a home that reflects our individual personalities and encompasses our joint passions. And as I write this, the ultimate collaboration grows in my belly. A perfect blend of him and me.
So you see, collaboration is a natural part of marriage, even if you don’t consciously notice that you’re doing it.
Always be open to collaborating with your partner, and you’ll find you will create the most wonderful, unique things together, including your big day!
Collaboration I suppose naturally leads itself onto compromise. So you may not always agree with how your partner wants to do things. They may not always like your choice of wall colour or place settings. From my experience, there needs to be a bit of give. Remember that a wedding, as much as a marriage, is about the two of you. You are both individual. You will both have your own ideas. Learning to compromise for each other will allow you to each have an equal footing in your combined decisions, whether that’s planning the colour scheme for your wedding, or deciding on your next holiday destination.
Sometimes compromise can seem like a negative. Why are we not on the same page? Why won’t they just let me do it my way? No matter how in-tune you are, there are going to be things you disagree on. Listening to your partner, understanding their views, and having them do the same with you, will allow you to reach a middle ground that keeps you both happy, and makes you stronger in being able to sacrifice a little bit of what you each want in order to build something that will work equally for the two of you.
Now neither Collaboration or Compromise are easily achievable without the number one core trait: Communication. Talk to your partner about what you want. Listen when they tell you what they want. Discuss areas that you disagree on. Life is too short to expect our partner to second guess what we’re thinking so just put it out there and tell them.
If that’s not something you’re used to, it could be difficult at first, but the more you open up to your partner on the small things, the more you will get used to sharing your thoughts with each other. Good and bad. Even though he may not always agree with me, I know that Andrew will give me the time to put my view across, and as heated a temper I have, I have learned to pay him the same courtesy. Arguments get dispelled quicker, and collaboration can be achieved much smoother.
I can only give the advice that works for us, so make up your own mind about whether these 3 Cs will work for you and your marriage. The one thing I would say to all those who are newly engaged is to enjoy the experience together. Make time to appreciate the planning stage, try not to let the pressures of expectation weigh too heavy on you, and ultimately, do whatever makes the two of you happy. At the end of the day you are starting a journey together, so only the two of you matters when you’re planning the day that will kick start the rest of your lives together.
Any further advice my married blogger friends can contribute? What advice would you go back and give to your newly engaged self? Comment below or join the conversation on Twitter @LoveinMindBlog