Whether you are a bride to be or still playing the singles game waiting for Mr. Right, you've probably thought about what your wedding day will look like.
According to a recent survey conducted by Mashable and The Knot.com, 70 percent of Pinterest users conceded that they have pinned wedding related items before they were engaged to be married.
While this pre-engagement pinning is probably harmless, it can create some false expectations of what your big day might look like. With countless bejeweled gowns and gigantic diamond rings populating your social media, it's easy to forget what's really important on your wedding day and why you're actually getting married.
Here are a few things engaged couples can focus on as the big day approaches that can lead to a lifetime of happiness.
Managing marital expectations
Marriage may have the connotations of being romantic and lovely forever if you've found your "soul mate," but this is hardly the case in today's fast-moving stressful world.
In a 2012 Huffington Post article on marriage expectations, Clark University psychology professor Jeffrey Jensen Arnett told the HuffPost that young people are not very realistic about marriage, according to his study.
"A lot of research that I and others have done has shown that [young people] have a very romantic view of marriage. And I think the thing about it that is troubling is that it's a very romantic ideal that is very difficult to sustain for a lifetime," said Arnett.
Arnett discusses that as life's stresses take hold during a marriage, the romantic feelings once felt can subside and often young people may think there is no love left in the marriage.
"It'd be smarter to view that as a realistic adjustment to the new phase of life, of raising children. I think that's an adjustment that's sometimes difficult for young people to make."
Understanding that marriages go through high and low points before you say "I Do" is an important step in creating a solid foundation for a lasting union.
The material things
If you've ever spent any amount of time watching the TLC channel, you have probably encountered one of its many wedding-centered programs. "Say Yes to the Dress," "Four Weddings," "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding," the list goes on and on. It's no wonder brides to be get so wrapped up in the materialistic "I must have that dress and that cake and those flowers" mindset. But materialism can be harmful to a marriage, according to Jason Carrol’s study at Brigham Yong University’s School of Family Life.
"Spouses who place a high value on money are often less responsive to their partner and less focused on the relationship … they seek happiness in possessions and not people, putting less time and energy into making their marriage a success."
Trying to put less emphasis on the material aspect of your wedding, and more on the values and reasons behind your decision to get married in the first place, can lead to a more meaningful and special wedding day for you and your future spouse.
Are you planning a marriage or just a wedding?
What are your reasons for getting married? Besides the fact that you love your significant other and you have always wanted to plan your own wedding, have you thought about it?
A Catholic Marriage Care Service’s article on marriage readiness notes that engaged couples should really take the time to talk about important life decisions that will come up during the course of a marriage. How will you handle finances and budgeting together? If needed, would you be willing to put your career on hold for the other? What about kids? The answers to these kinds of questions will be the backbone for your marriage, and discussing these decisions together before the wedding will make your big day even more memorable and significant.