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Celebrating & Preparing For Your Big Day with OurWeddingDay.com Today is Thursday, March 23, 2017

Pre-Marital Counseling: Have You Considered It?


Premarital counseling is a type of therapy designed to help couples better their relationship on several different levels. With divorce rates on the rise, more couples than ever are approaching marriage with caution. They focus on what they need to do in order to have a strong marriage. Relationship counseling is one of the many healthy ways you and your husband-to-be can solidify your relationship before you take it to the altar.

Couples counseling varies in structure depending on who you see, but the issues that most sessions cover include:

  • Communication skills
  • Expectations of the marriage
  • Financial matters and roles
  • Parenting and children
  • Sex
  • Past and present family issues
  • Religious beliefs

Prior to going to a premarital counselor, it’s smart to sit down with your partner and make a list of things you would like to work on. This will give you a better idea of what goals you have so you can start working on them even before you begin therapy.

If you’re on the fence about taking the step to seek counseling, take a look at some of the common reasons couples partake in this therapy:

  • Resolve differences that have or could have caused conflict
  • Commitment concerns
  • Ensure past relationship issues don’t happen again
  • History of family issues including abuse

Read more:

Caring for Wedding and Engagement Rings


by Bridal Expert Alison Rowe

Your wedding and engagement rings are important symbols. Outwardly, they signify your commitment to your relationship. To each other, they are timeless symbols of your love. No other jewelry you buy will have greater sentimental value, so it’s only natural that you want to take care the greatest care of them.

The general caveat with all jewelry--especially pieces containing diamonds or gemstones--is to remove them before any heavy work, or when you are using harsh bleach or chemicals. Despite being incredibly strong, even diamonds can chip or crack if they are struck hard.

Be aware that all precious metals will get scratched over time, and this means different things for different metals. Platinum’s durability means that any scratches it sustains will just displace the metal, so you can polish it back to its original condition. However, when white gold gets scratched, the metal is lost. Your jeweler can buff out the scratches but you won’t get the metal back. They will probably suggest re-plating it then, too. As white gold is an alloy with a yellow gold base, it gets its white color from being plated in rhodium. As the metal is lost, so, too is the rhodium plating, so the ring will eventually return to its natural gold color. Platinum is naturally white, so no upkeep is needed to retain its luster.

Have your jeweler inspect her engagement ring each year to make sure the stones are firmly in place as they can come loose with everyday wear and tear. Depending on the setting, this might need to happen more--or less--frequently. Because of its density, a platinum setting will hold stones more securely than any other precious metal so you’ll have more peace of mind.

Be sure to keep your ring clean by removing natural buildup like dirt and grime. (This also ensures the maximum brilliance from her diamonds.) Do this easily at home by soaking the ring in a mild solution of soap and warm water, or jewelry cleaning solution, and gently rub it dry with a soft cloth. It’s best not to do this over the sink as soapy hands can be slippery hands and you don’t want to lose it down the drain! For a more thorough clean take it to your jeweler.

Visit PreciousPlatinum.com to view more tips for caring for your jewelry.

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How Much Does Your Parents' Marriage Affect Yours?


Most of us know people with negative associations with marriage because their parents fought a lot, or got divorced.  But what about people who are scared to marry because their parents' marriage was too perfect?

Meet Benjie Goodhart: he's in a long-term relationship that he pursued and is the father of a 2-year-old.  Now his girlfriend wants to "make it official," but he's dragging his feet because his parents' marriage was too good:

"I know how self-pitying and lame that sounds. I am entirely aware of my own good fortune in being raised in a family filled with love and laughter. But the fact remained that I was terrified of getting married because my parents had done it so well. I felt like an emotional freak. Not so, according to Christine Northam, a relationship counsellor with Relate. "It's like having a terribly clever elder brother at school – it sets a competitive standard," she says. "It's a normal anxiety about a big change, and you've got the added pressure of wanting an idealised version of your parents' relationship."...It seems such anxiety is not uncommon. "As much as it's hard to cope with parents being imperfect, cheating, splitting," says therapist Tracey Cox, "it is sometimes harder to be presented with the ideal happy marriage." Avy Joseph is a cognitive behavioural therapist and founder of CityMinds. "It's quite common for people to put pressure on themselves," he says, "if they've grown up in an environment where, in their view, things have been perfect."

Read more about the cheerfully-named Benjie Goodhart and his predicament here.

So, no matter what, is it inevitable for us to compare our marriages to our parents?  And is that fair?  Or good?

How To Get Your Marriage Off To A Good Start


Jim Stein, Ph.D. just posted a new article: How To Get Your Marriage Off To A Good Start. (via The Huffington Post)

It seems like everybody's got "the answer" for a happy married life, but this article's a bit different because the expert writer is no "love doctor," but a mathematics professor:

"I'm going to be writing about marriage... but what I'm really writing about is decisions.

"In the twentieth century mathematics greatly expanded its scope, and one of the areas that it studied was the process of making decisions. The result of this was a set of ideas and principles for making good decisions. Your life is basically the result of the decisions you make, and I hope that these articles will help you to make better decisions."

It's an interesting perpective to be writing from, and we love that he doesn't pretend to have simple answer, but good strategy that we can try to keep in mind.  Read the article here.

Read more: Married Life, The First Year of Marriage: Communication Is Key, The Awww-Inducing Wedding Anniversary Blog Post


The Awww-Inducing Wedding Anniversary Blog Post


Check out this simple, understated and overwhelmingly sweet anniversary-day blog post:

"Alex, I love you more than ever." [via A Cup of Joe]

All together now, swoon!

Characters Who Are Really Made for Each Other


Even in romantic films, you often get the sense that the fictional characters would really last.  That their whirlwind romance won't be able to sustain the daily grind.  Every now and then, characters seem so fully-developed and perfect for each other that you can imagine them truly living a "happily ever after."

Today at the A.V. Club, a reader asked the critics: "Which fictional couples could you imagine dropping in on 20 to 30 years after the credits roll, and still find them in love with each other and weathering the storms?"

There are some really fun responses about characters from films like His Girl Friday and I Love You, Man, and from tv shows like "The Office" and "Lost."

Our favorite was their first pick, Nick & Nora from The Thin Man films:

"They aren’t particularly realistic as couples go—they’re both exaggerated character types, they banter like comedians and drink like alcoholic fish, and they’re pretty over-the-top. But amid all the comic sniping, they have a real affection and respect for each other, and more to the point, they’re perfectly matched, with the exact same interests: solving crimes, sucking down booze, and admiring their obnoxious dog."

Read all the responses here.

Which fictional couples do you think would "really make it."

Married, but Sleeping Alone: The Debate Over Separate Beds


Check out this New York Times article by Bruce Feiler, Married, but Sleeping Alone:

"Nearly one in four American couples sleep in separate bedrooms or beds, the National Sleep Foundation reported in a 2005 survey. Recent studies in England and Japan have found similar results. And the National Association of Home Builders says it expects 60 percent of custom homes to have dual master bedrooms by 2015."

We've discussed sleeping in separate beds before.  A couple times, even!  Not to mention separate bedrooms and even separate houses!  Different married couples have different personalities and needs, and find happiness in different ways, right?

But the balance between personal space and keeping marital romance alive can be tricky, as Feiler is quick to point out and call for an embracing of bediquette:

"We need a campaign. One of those national initiatives politicians are always calling for. "The War on Bed Divorce," call it, or "Brush Up on Your Bediquette." Thirty-five years after "Save the Whales," it's time for "Save the Sheets."

But is it Bediquette Vs. Separate Beds?  Is it one or the other?  Can enjoying separate beds actually increase romance for some couples?

Do Romantic Comedies Ruin Real-Life Relationships?


An Australian study (ironically intended to promote the dvd release of Valentine's Day) has found that half of its respondents claim romantic comedies ruin their ideas of what makes a perfect relationship.

According to the report, “One in four Australians said they were now expected to know what their partner was thinking, while one in five respondents said it made their partners expect gifts and flowers "just because."

"It seems our love of rom-coms is turning us into a nation of "happy-ever-after addicts." Yet the warm and fuzzy feeling they provide can adversely influence our view of real relationships," said Australian relationship counselor, Gabrielle Morrissey.

"Real relationships take work and true love requires more than fireworks."

Read more about this here.

Rules and Advice for Your After-Wedding Brunch


The Day-After Wedding Brunch is a wonderful tradition that gives you a chance to honor many of your guests, as well as let them celebrate a little longer. Typically, all guests who’ve traveled a long distance to your wedding should be invited to the day-after brunch, as well as the wedding party. There’s no rule as to where you hold the brunch, but you should opt for a convenient location, like the hotel where most of the guests are staying.

Budget-wise, you can go all-out and serve Eggs Benedict and Mimosas, or do something simple like bagels and coffee.  Some people like to have the brunch outside to give it a casual feel. You can coordinate it with an afternoon ball game or adjacent hike, or you can serve up copies of the daily paper or crossword.

Feel free to invite everyone from your wedding, but remember that it’s not required. “If you’re worried about your budget, don’t overdo it,” says Daniele Bobish of Curtain Up Events in New York City. “If it’s between a big brunch or a big cake, go for the cake.” The important thing to remember is that the brunch gives the long-distance travelers something more to do than just hang around their hotel before they’re scheduled to leave. The actual brunch is completely optional, and no one should be offended if you don’t have one.

There’s also no rule on who pays for the day-after brunch, so it’s a discussion you need to have with your groom and anyone else who’s involved in planning the wedding. Make sure all the information is included on your web site, or on a list of activities placed in people’s rooms.

When deciding on the time of your day-after brunch, keep in mind that a lot of your guests are going to be tired, not to mention hung-over. “Noon is fine,” says Bobish. “Eleven is okay, but nine a.m. is just offensive.” Bloody Mary’s are always a good idea, and so is making the invitation informal so people can opt out if they wish. Formal brunches are great, but be warned that a lot of guests won’t realize their RSVP count. “Sometimes guests don’t realize you need a head count,” says Bobish. “So try and spread the word around beforehand.”

Read more about Married Life here.

What Do You Think of Married Couples Who Live Separately?


Meet Sandra & Todd Foster: She's "42, a size zero and wears pink wellies, black tights and a paint-spattered Irish knit sweater over a brown jersey."  He is 51 and "a man whose chest gives the impression that he has to go through doors sideways. An independent spirit who left high school at 15 to see the country, he has worked as a carpenter, a cook and a landscaper."

They married in 2000, despite of the fact that they are very different people:

“This is when I discover, much to my horror, that Todd and I aren’t completely alike,” Ms. Foster said. “He is not a tidy man, he likes to collect things and stuff, most of which is very large, like tractors. My idea of houses is Victorian, cute, magazine-perfect, lots of white.

Their different ideas about decoration and homelife came to a head when they were renovating:

“The huge house was half renovated, the life was killing me,” she said. “The only thing holding me together was Todd’s love, and his love of food and feeding me, and his love of flowers. Every single day I come here, there are flowers. A whole path of rose petals leading to a bath full of rose petals and candles. He’s a magical man, despite his flaws.”

Their great big farmhouse, they realized, was ruining their lives. In 2007, they found this wooded property, with the trailer and cabin, for $46,000. Ms. Foster, seeing the hunting cabin on the hill, knew it could be her dream house.

“It was like coming home,” she said, after Mr. Foster had gone to do chores and the conversation had moved up the hill to her cottage. “I get tears in my eyes thinking about it. It was everything I had dreamed of, in every novel I had read, every song I had heard.” (via The New York Times)

So now she has her dollhouse-like private space and he has his "man-cave" ("a truck-size shed covered by an enormous tarp. It’s furnished with a big-screen TV, lots of videotapes, cooking equipment and two lamp-warmed cages for the chicks and pheasants."), and they couldn't happier.

The Fosters are hardly an everycouple, but maybe their arrangement deserves to be more popular: Married life is complicated and famous married couples often make it work: Helena Bonham-Carter & Tim Burton have separate houses nearby one another.  And Dolly Parton's 35-year marriage remains happy in part because she spends so much time away from husband Carl Thomas Dean, that their time together always feels magical to them.

Bonham-Carter famously said, "to me it makes complete sense: if you've got some money, and you can afford it, why not have your own space?"

And the Fosters are proof that creating that space can be achieved pretty modestly (he's out of work and money is tight).

Obviously, for many a shared living space is a financial or childrearing necessity. And for others, the benefits of togetherness outweigh the annoyances of compromise.

But for others, the readily-available option of distance perpetually makes their hearts grow fonder.