THE BLOG
02/03/2014 05:03 pm ET | Updated Apr 05, 2014

Marriage and the Art of Compromise: It All Starts With the Wedding Planning

Peter Dazeley via Getty Images

Marriage is all about the art of compromise. That may sound trite, but it's really true. And the compromising begins long before the actual marriage. Before they're even married, couples start learning to compromise in ways that they never have before for the happiness of the one they love. Being able to come to a compromise most of the time is a key indicator of whether your relationship will be able to stand the test of time.

I'm not sure that engaged men and women realize how much working together and compromise (yeah, there's that word AGAIN) is required to plan a wedding without killing each other. Some guys still let themselves off the hook, playing the charming "just tell me where to be and when" role because they honestly could care less about the finer details of the wedding. And many brides are fine with that because it means they get to choose everything they want without compromising.

However, as more couples are paying for their own weddings, grooms are starting to have more opinions and be more vocal about what they're spending their money on. My theory is that he didn't care how much you were spending per person on favors, for example, if he didn't have to pay for it (spare me the flaming emails please -- I know some of you boys are offended). With the change in financial dynamics, now the groom has more opinions to share. And that means that brides have to be willing to compromise more.

Wedding planning together, with or without a wedding planner, is a challenge. I think of it as a little pre-marital joke God is making. As in, get over yourselves -- it's a ceremony and party and certainly nothing worth screaming and yelling at each other about. Once you're married, you will face much bigger and more important decisions than where to get married or which bar level to serve at your reception. And if you think dealing with your fiancé's family pre-wedding is a bear, you better step back and think about dealing with them much more frequently for the rest of your life. Because after the wedding and reception and honeymoon glitter all finally rub off, you are stuck with the person you married, and his or her various and sundry family and friends, for the rest of your married life. Let the compromising begin!

Of course, you'll be in total agreement from the beginning on many aspects of your wedding planning, but there are a number of decisions that have to be made that could become sticking points. Most of them you should try to have fun with -- going out and tasting cake together and arguing over what flavor the third tier should be after you've both chosen one for your favorite flavor, for example, is a fun compromise that can be achieved any number of ways. The bride not wanting to do any special dances beyond the first dance because her father will not be at the wedding at the same time the mother of the groom is insisting on a mother/son dance isn't fun and can't be an easy compromise (by the way, no question on that one -- MoG can do without her special moment so that the bride doesn't feel uncomfortable).

It's the moments like those that will determine how well your married life will go, assuming you make it through to the big day. Sometimes a bride or groom has to stand up to their parents or close friends during the course of wedding planning, to support their fiancé's preferences on some matter, or to protect their dignity in another (see example in prior paragraph). If your future spouse can't stand up to his or her family for you before you're married, they aren't going to change after you exchange rings.

More than one spouse has given up his or her job to move to a new city to support their other half's career move. Parents give up entire lives to move to better school districts for their children. Life will throw you curve balls, and you and your spouse will have to take them, find solutions and, frequently, compromise on how to handle things. All of those real-life issues are far bigger and badder than anything you'll encounter planning what, if you really want to break it down, amounts to the most expensive one-day party ever thrown in your honor. I may be a wedding planner, but I'm also a realist.

Don't misunderstand me -- I'm not saying marriage isn't important. Or that the ceremony isn't a big deal. After all, that's what the whole day is supposed to be about, right? But I don't usually deal with couples who are fighting over religion or vows or important things. My clients who have disagreements prefer to have battles royale over matters mostly related to the reception, the wedding party and their families. You know, the stuff that isn't supposed to be as important as the actual wedding ceremony.

Which brings me back to my initial statement: marriage is all about the art of compromise. First, you get through the wedding planning, and then you tackle the other things one at a time. Trust me, you get better at it as you go along. The longer you are together, the easier it is. In a good marriage, both partners share EVERYTHING with each other, so when there are differences of opinion, you both understand where the other one is coming from even if you don't agree. What's important is that there is balance in the relationship - that one partner isn't always the one to give something up to make the compromise. It's about meeting halfway, or taking turns winning so nobody feels like the subservient one in the relationship.

Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!

Sandy

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