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Ask Koren Art
Your personal E-therapist is in the house!

Koren Norton

Preparing For Marriage

Dear Koren,

My fiancé and I are getting married in August. We've had some premarital counseling and the sessions were good but I'm still nervous. We've only been together for a year and a few months. We do love each other and have a lot in common. Can you give me an idea of what other last minute things we should consider to help us to have a happy marriage?

– Nervous bride to be

Dear bride to be,

I can imagine your nervousness and excitement rolled into one and your anxiety about doing all the groundwork to ensure a happy marriage. Many couples focus mostly on the wedding day and neglect to lay a solid foundation for what comes after. Not you! You are serious and putting your energy where it matters. High five, girl!

While your time together is shorter than usual, if you spent a lot of it getting to know each other, you could still be better off than a couple who has known each other for 5 years but only had a superficial relationship. You must both consider if you love each other unconditionally and if you're willing to commit to being trustworthy, to communicating well and fighting fair. Along with those basics, here are some other things to consider:

Children. Discuss whether and how you will raise kids. If you have children from previous relationships, you should have an idea how involved you will be with your partner's offspring and how much time they will spend in the home. Finances. Be honest with your partner if you have a bunch of debt coming into the relationship with and how much money you plan to pool together or keep separate as you live as a couple. Identify what amounts you will save for long term plans and what you can spend individually without having to consult with each other.

Know some of each other's family. It's good to see your partner in his natural environment and note how he behaves towards his family. By engaging with them, you will also learn things about him so as to better understand him.

Talk about your career plans, life goals, etc. Share with your partner the things that matter to you and what you want out of life, and listen to what he sees for his future. It will be a difficult marriage if your plan is to be a nomadic missionary in Africa and he wants to set down roots and have 6 children starting next year.

Discuss medical history; who suffers from depression or high blood pressure should not be kept secret. Both partners need to know what to do or who to call if either of you gets ill, what you are allergic to and any other relevant information related to your health.

Know that things will change. The most important consideration is that even with all you know, people do change. The person you fall in love with today is evolving and so are you. Keep an open mind, learn to compromise and don't try to control every little circumstance in your life. While you can't predict every change, you can be responsible for how well you adapt.

A little nervousness is normal, but don't worry too much. It's a learning experience for both of you. Just take baby steps together and laugh when you stumble and get right back up. You've got this.

Send your questions confidentialy to askoren@live.com or via twitter @korennorton