I have found myself surrounded by my thirty-something girl friends and brides who are obsessed with the idea of getting married as soon as possible. So what is their motivation? Is it the deafening sound of their biological clock ticking away? Could it be the pressure of everyone else getting married and all the older people at the wedding telling them, “You’re next!” Or is it the overwhelming need to see the wedding day they’ve dreamt about since they were little girls become reality? Or maybe…now just maybe…love at first sight really does exist. Any of these scenarios could be true, but before you continue to move forward with a jet-pack on your back, let’s take a moment to reflect on the facts.
I once saw an email that contained pictures of billboards/signs with messages from God. One that stood out the most to me was, “Loved the wedding. Invite me to the marriage. -God” This short statement is more powerful today than ever before. We live in a society of convenience. If we see something we want, we want it right now. And when things get a little uncomfortable, we’re more inclined to bail. So let’s talk about the reality of planning a wedding, marriage and divorce.
The average cost of a wedding in Nashville is $22,000. According to TheKnot.com, the national average wedding cost is $27,000. If you’re one of those individuals who just wants to have their big day, consider just throwing yourself a phenomenal birthday party or ball and then leave with some friends for a fabulous vacation after the party. You would probably still come out cheaper than a wedding.
Let’s say you choose to get married anyway. Here is the reality of marriage. MARRIAGE IS HARD WORK!!! There are some days that are more trying than others. On those days, your spouse may look a lot better leaving out the door than coming in. There are difficult adjustments that have to be made when 2 people combine into one household, and it involves compromise on both sides.
My parents just celebrated 38 years of marriage at the beginning of the month. I told my mom that it is truly a miracle to see couples who have been married for 40, 50, and 60 years, because it is so uncommon now for marriages to last for even 15 years. It’s really a shame.
Now let’s talk about the cost of divorce. At the very least, divorce will cost a couple $500. This is only if both parties are civil towards each other. In many cases, it’s not going to be this easy. There can be a lot of resentment about the years invested or wasted (depending on the individual) with this other person. Revenge could be the next order of business, which could make for a long messy war. “The Battle of Splitting Assets”…”The Battle of Custody/Visitation”… “The Battle of Alimony/Child Support.” This scenario can be a financially draining war, but it will definitely be emotionally costly as well. Some of these battle wounds take a long time to heal and the scars can remain forever as a reminder of a past that’s hard to block out. According to DivorceMag.com, divorces that go to trial can range from $8,000 to $132,000.
Now that you have the figures, is it really worth the rush???
Before you continue your hunt, think about the habits in your everyday life. Do you show discipline in other areas of your life that AREN’T easy? Do you use a budget and refrain from impulse purchases and overspending? Do you stay at jobs for longer than 3 years to show your commitment level? Do you stick with your workout regimen until you meet your goal? Do you keep the same haircut for at least 2 months to see if it’s going to work out for you? You may want to be honest with yourself about discipline in areas that are more difficult to maintain before considering a serious relationship.
If you believe that you have found your soul mate, be realistic to know that your significant other has a mind of their own, and you are each wired differently. NO, THEY CAN’T READ YOUR MIND, NOR SHOULD THEY BE ABLE TO DO SO. You both have unique approaches to situations and you will not always agree on how to reach a conclusion. Your significant other will not follow your script. Until you can fully come to grips with this reality, you should stock up on a lot of forgiveness and patience if you plan for this relationship to be a forever-kind-of-thing.
So as you’re in your courtship with your significant other, enjoy the ride!! Don’t rush this phase of life. Enjoy getting to know each other better during this time (you’ll always be learning new things…even during marriage). If you get engaged, take advantage of premarital counseling. Not only is this cost-effective in getting a discount on your marriage license (in Nashville, Davidson County), but it also allows an objective third party to give a neutral perspective on your relationship that could help you avoid potential disaster down the road.
After successfully completing premarital counseling, enjoy the planning process! This is the fun part! But please don’t stress over the details. Remember that the ultimate goal is to have the bride and groom show up at the altar, both of you say “I do,” and then the real fun begins!