Before the "I Do"

Falling lustfully in love happens at the beginning of every relationship. Before the love is the lust, and then everything feels like a fairytale. But is that true love?

Those feelings of love that we all feel may come at first sight or they may take years to get there and with clouded minds, couples often jump into marriage because of those feelings. With the extremely high divorce rate, it seems that too many of us think that we are in love and think that we have found our soul mate, which clearly is not the case.

Before taking the huge step into marriage and committing yourself and your entire life, each and every day, to that one special person, there are many questions that need to be answered, discussions that have to be done, and arguments that must occur. Because without all of this, we don't truly know a person. And honestly, we will never know everything there is to know about one another, but will continue to learn each and every day we have together.

So while you may think he or she is your soul mate, the one and only person for you, I urge you to take a step back and think about the commitment you are making. Divorce is not a word that should ever be spoken about in a marriage, nor should it be thought about. Marriage is always and forever, for better and for worse, so let's make sure we are sticking to this vow and this promise, and let's make sure we are ready for this step before we say, "I Do."

Taking an extra year to get to know each other is a lot better than having to go through the hassle of a divorce.

I've compiled a list of items that I think every couple should experience, talk about, and know about each other before a marriage commitment is made. So I urge you to use this as a checklist to plan the marriage you want to have. A beautiful marriage that lasts a lifetime is possible, so make yourself part of that statistic!

Marriage Planning Checklist

1. Spend time with each others' families
2. Talk about your future...your dreams, your hobbies, goals, and loves
3. Go to marriage counseling together or a marriage class
4. Talk about financials
5. Discuss the separation of household duties
(cleaning, cooking, paying bills)
5. How many kids do you want?
6. How you want to raise your kids? (religion, punishment, school)
How will religion play a role in your household?
8. TALK, TALK, TALK..speak your mind when you have something to say, especially if it relates to your relationship!
9. Continue to date each other (set time aside at least one a month)
10. Show each other what "normal" is...personally, I think that this is why The Bachelor and The Bachelorette often don't work out (although I do love the show!)
11. Keep your relationships with will need a girls/guys break every once in a while!

12. Discuss your views on divorce (if your views are in favor of divorce if needed, you may need to think about your shouldn't even be an option!)
13. Read a book together
14. Ask your family and friends what they think about him or her (just in case you're still in lovey dovey la la land)

15. KNOW 100% for a fact that there is no one else in the world more perfect for you

I urge you to check off every item on this list BEFORE your wedding plans are set. And if you have done so and still cannot imagine your lives without each other, then you are on your way to a lifetime of happiness :)

And don't forget to comment below and tell me how it went for you!! We can all learn from each other!