Before “I Do”

Written by: Shenise Gatson

Dazzling dress. Check. Beautiful bridesmaids. Check. Sentimental songs. Check. Valiant venue. Check. Does this list sound familiar? The journey to a woman’s wedding day is often filled with check points. The bride-to-be is on cloud nine as she happily plans the biggest day of her life. While these moments are often joy-filled and promising, it is important to make sure you and your spouse have check-listed some very important areas.

man and woman looking at earch other

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A friend once asked me, “What advice do you have for a woman looking to get married? What are some important factors to consider before marriage?”

I pondered for a minute, then gave her three valuable insights and lessons I learned in my own relationship.

Make sure you and your significant other are on the same page in these three critical areas:



Before you and your significant other walk down that aisle, have important conversations about your financial beliefs and practices. During the “puppy love” stage, everything is so fun and flowy that sometimes we brush past conversations and topics that need to be addressed beforehand. Sometimes couples view finances in two different ways. Better to learn that sooner than later. For instance, one person may be ready to purchase a home while the other prefers to wait a few years. One person may want to buy a new car while the other person prefers to pay off the old one first. One woman may prefer to be a stay-at-home mom while her husband prefers two incomes to enter the home. We avoid future confusion and miscommunication when we discuss financial goals and dreams ahead of time. In turn, you and your spouse can better grow and support each other when you understand each other’s financial beliefs and practices.

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There’s a quote that reads, “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure that you realize that what you heard is not what I meant”.

– Author Unknown

woman and man sitting on brown wooden bench

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Confusing, right? I had to read this quote a few times before I internalized what it meant. Isn’t that how communication in a marriage is sometimes? One person makes a statement and believes it is as clear as day while the spouse looks confused or upset. I know many of us have heard the common saying, “Communication is key”. It is overused but the statement holds so much validity and truth. Often times we communicate differently from our spouse. Understanding the difference in the way that people process and communicate is vital. Before marriage, observe and initiate those conversations about how you both communicate and receive information.

When I am upset at my spouse I tend to use the silent treatment, hoping that he will “know that I am upset”. However, silence may not always mean anger. Maybe an individual needs time to process, think and then discuss. This is often the case with my husband. For me, I am a talker. When I am trying to make a major decision or vent, I need to talk it out until I figure it out. My husband, on the other hand, likes to silently think about the matter, ponder and then discuss it with me.

We are all different. Understanding and respecting those differences make your marriage stronger. Learn to appreciate the varying aspects you bring to the table. Find ways to communicate that allow both of you to respectfully express yourself.


“Intimacy begins with conversation”. – Author Unknown

man and woman holding hands together

Photo by Jasmine Wallace Carter on

We hear the word intimacy and automatically our minds go to the romantic or sexual aspect of a relationship. While this is an important aspect, we must remember that being intimate with our mate also “begins with conversation”.

We all have met couples where it seems like they have the physical aspect in check, but they can’t stand to be in the same room with each other or actually talk to one another.

We must communicate. Emotional connections create lasting bonds with our spouse. Share your goals. Discuss your dreams. Communicate your vision. Your five-year plan. Talk about that business that you have always wanted to start. That book you have always wanted to write. The class at the college that you have always wanted to take. Include your mate. Support each other. These conversations create even stronger intimate moments.

Not only that, but sometimes individuals are raised with differing views on intimacy in a relationship. In turn, some may have had unique experiences. Share your views, beliefs and how you communicate and receive love. If the topic gets too heavy, make it a light-hearted experience. Discuss it over popcorn after a movie has just ended, or when you’re curled up on the couch snacking and laughing.

Having those discussions with your mate are vital. In this way you begin to understand their likes, dislikes, concerns and needs.  Internalize what your husband likes romantically and physically. In turn, he should be in tune with your needs as well. In order for that to happen, these things must be addressed so that you both can enjoy the greatest fulfillment and pleasure in your marriage.

Overall, marriage is one of the greatest blessings I have received during my life. If I had to do it all over again, I would marry my husband over and over because I am a greater woman because of the man that he is. He has seen me during some of the lowest and highest moments in my life and….he stood by my side through it all!  In order to get to that point in your marriage, both parties have to be willing to discuss and tackle those hard topics and conversations in order to enjoy all the wonderful things marriage offers!

Copyright @ 2018 Shenise Gatson

Photos provided by Pexels.

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