HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR MARRIAGE, NOT JUST YOUR WEDDING
We chat with Kate Robinson, a wedding photographer with 11 years’ experience, married to Sam for 13 years and counting, and owner of The Love Club – a membership for couples who want to be intentional about celebrating their marriage.
Thanks so much for chatting with us Kate! We know there’s a tendency to get absorbed by wedding planning – after all there is so much to prepare ahead of the big day. However, once the wedding gives way to the honeymoon, newlyweds have a little thing called marriage ahead of them. What sorts of steps can couples take to prepare for their marriage, not just their wedding?
Absolutely! I’m passionate about helping couples look beyond the short-term wedding planning to the end goal of becoming incredible life-long partners.
Here’s some practical tips that will hopefully be helpful:
- DON’T BE TEMPTED TO COMPARE RELATIONSHIPS
In the beginning, I really struggled with this! From the outside, some of our friends’ relationships seemed perfect: they always held hands, they praised each other in public, and honestly sometimes I would get jealous! But comparison is so destructive, in any aspect of life. I was looking at others’ relationships from an outsider perspective, and drawing my own conclusions of what they were like as a couple, when in reality I had no idea! I soon realised what I was doing was completely unfair to my husband, my friends, and myself.
- MAKE TIME FOR EACH OTHER WITHOUT YOUR SCREENS
I think this is so important. It’s tempting to have your phone with you at all times, checking messages and social media, when really, what matters most is sitting right in front of you. It’s healthy to have boundaries around disconnecting from the internet when you are with your partner. This will allow you to give your full attention to each other, which you both deserve.
- DISCOVER LOVE LANGUAGES.
I would highly recommend taking the Love Languages quiz online. When we were first married, I would frequently communicate to my husband how much I appreciated and loved him. But turns out, his love language is Quality Time. So, my Words of Affirmation don’t have the same impact on him, as they would on me. When I realised this, it was really eye opening! Even though it doesn’t come completely naturally to me, I know that spending quality time with my husband (no phones, no distractions) has more of an impact on him, than a kind word would.
Yes, THIS! We wholeheartedly agree. Understanding the Love Languages is a game-changer for your relationship. It breaks down communication barriers so that you can show and receive love in the most meaningful ways. How else can couples prepare for marriage?
- SHARE YOUR STRUGGLES WITH EACH OTHER
Being open and honest with each other is so crucial! There have been times where I’ve been tempted to keep something that is bothering me close to my chest, because I didn’t want to burden my husband with it. But that’s what being married is all about! Sharing your life together, the good, the bad, and even the ugly. It’s important to be vulnerable, and chances are it might just bring you closer together. This is a big reason why I started The Love Club, it’s a chance every week to connect on a deeper level in an easy way.
- BE CAREFUL WHO YOU CONFIDE IN
Use wisdom when it comes to sharing relationship struggles with family or close friends! Even though it might seem natural to confide in those closest to you, consider how much information is really necessary. When you and your partner sort things out and move on from the issue, there’s the chance that your loved ones might not. Try to maintain the two golden rules: always speak with your partner first before anyone else; and never speak negatively about your partner behind their back.
There really is so much wisdom in that! We can often be quick to vent and slow to forgive. Now, tell us more about The Love Club!
I created The Love Club for couples who at the end of a long day, find themselves collapsing onto the couch and living a bit like ships in the night. Relationships quite often break down over time: we stop prioritising the other person, we’re too tired to communicate deeply, we stop being interested in their lives, or being excited about being together. TLC gives you the tools and resources to keep the spark alive in your relationship, to enable you to have richer conversations, and develop a deeper connection.
Every month we focus on a different topic (things like money, sex, communication, etc.) and each week there is something small (that will take less than 30 mins) to do together – whether it’s a video from an expert on the topic, a mini workshop to watch, a challenge to do, or questions to ask each other. All of these have the goal of building a consistent habit to connect more deeply.
We love that! Over time relationships can lose their excitement and become lacklustre. So, creating a space to nurture communication and connection is so important. How do you think building solid foundations for marriage can be worked into wedding planning?
Here’s how to handle it (without knocking back the rosé, screaming at your fiancée, and eating allll the ice cream):
- REMEMBER THE BIG PICTURE
Being stressed about the details doesn’t change the fact that you’re marrying the love of your life. Remembering the big picture will help your perspective, and this will filter down to the smaller details too.
Take the time to chat with your partner about what you want to achieve for your wedding. If your families have contributed financially, sit down with them early on and talk about your vision, hear their thoughts, and find ways to compromise so everyone is happy.
Communication is key indeed! We’ve recently just discussed how to include family in your wedding.
- PRIORITISE THE ESSENTIALS
Decide with your partner what your top priorities are for the day and refer back to this list when you feel tempted to go down the spiral of DIY projects you saw on Pinterest. Teamwork makes the dream work.
- LIMIT WEDDING PLANNING/TALK
Try to make this season of wedding planning fun! Plan regular date nights, and be intentional about not letting wedding planning take over every conversation. Make time for self-care (think getting a massage, taking a yoga class, listening to music) as this will be an investment in both your physical and mental health.
And don’t forget to call on wedding professionals for support!
Absolutely! We offer far more than just our services on the big day. I know the team at Factory51 are always keen to do whatever they can to support their couples, as am I.
It really is such a privilege to work in this industry and support our couples during their season of wedding planning. Any final thoughts?
Remember, this is the start of your forever. Marriage can be hard work. There is no quick fix, magic wand, or 5 simple strategies to follow. If you want to last the distance in marriage, it requires time, intentionality, patience, and perseverance. But it is so worth it!
Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and experience with us Kate! We’ve loved getting your insights into preparing for marriage.