Prepping for Lifelong Love Part 2

So…with the Junior Tribe Member now engaged (Woo hoo–toooo exciting!), the happy couple asked the Mother of the Bride (MOTB) and Mother of the Groom (MOTG)–(that’s me!!) to attend the Wonderful Wedding Show last month.

Sigh. Swoon.

When a mother is expecting, she dreams of the day that baby will find the person of their dreams.  What pregnant mother doesn’t imagine a grownup child at the wedding?  And now it happened. And I was invited to tag along in the dreaming of The Wedding. An honour!!

We made an occasion of it.  We met at Stella’s on Sherbrook for brunch. The bride was a VIB (Very Important Bride, thank you very much!) and so we arrived early at the Convention Centre.

The Wonderful Wedding Show provides the opportunity for every bride to explore every option for wedding planning, and be able to discover extravagances previously not thought possible.

Picture this:


  • centrepieces with birdcages with live birds in them
  • some floral arrangements being in 4 foot tall vases, others in 6 foot vases for table centrepieces…which would you prefer?
  • tables with dozens of rose buds in a sunken pool under the plexiglass tabletop
  • a variety of flooring for your wedding (yes, flooring–I didn’t know either)
  • magicians to loosen the crowd up at your reception (he fooled me completely–impressive!)
Centrepieces featured the Wonderful Wedding Show in Winnipeg, Manitoba 2015

And I could go on.


Rows upon rows of booths of flowers, reception venues, honeymoon destinations, sound systems, DJ’s, caterers, chocolate shops, cake shops, stationary designers, wedding favours, chair rentals, gift registries, jewellers, photo booths, photographers, men’s formalwear, limo services…

And I could go on.

The four piece string quartet was exquisite. I stood there for a long time listening to them.  The food that CanadInns let us sample was delicious–who doesn’t like fruit run through a chocolate fountain? And the party limo/bus was a beautiful place to sit and rest for a minute.

But mostly, as the MOTG, I was a sherpa.

Myself, and the MOTB each had a large shopping bag on our shoulder (which increased to one on each shoulder for each of us by the end) and we obediently trailed behind the happy couple, one of us opening our bag after the visit to each booth to have the brochures and info deposited. The bags got heavy.

(That was after the bride put the pre-printed name-and-phone-number label on the contest entry at that booth–brides have been told to come prepared–seriously)

It was a hoot…but a little overwhelming. (scratch that–completely overwhelming!!)

And then we got to the end…and my back was sore, and while it was great fun…I. Was. Done.

…and then I found out we had only done one floor…and there was yet another whole floor awaiting.

Hundreds of booths preparing brides and their grooms and their mothers for the big day of the wedding.

And…sigh…this marriage therapist saw NOT ONE booth preparing the couple for their marriage–the rest of their lives.

And I couldn’t help but look at all the very many excited VIB’s and feel a sadness…because while they are excited about the wedding, statistically, only about 82% will reach their 5th anniversary.  Depending on which set of statistics you read, about 30-50% of these women will become divorced.

For a good chunk for the starry-eyed brides…the wedding of their dreams will end up in heartache and disappointment.  Devastation and loss.

That’s not pretty, or fun to think about, or something that anybody wants to contemplate.  But, dem’s da facts!

 “People do not get married planning to divorce. Divorce is the result of a lack of preparation for marriage and the failure to learn the skills of working together as teammates in an intimate relationship.”  ― Gary Chapman, Poster by Bergen and Assocaites Counseling in Winnipeg Manitoba
This is a plea for engaged couples everywhere to prepare for the rest of their lives…the marriage is more important than the wedding.
That sounds so obvious…yet what percentage of effort do couples put into couples put into their marriage vs the wedding?  What percentage of the budget is spent on preparing their relationship for the rest of their lives vs. “The Big Day”?

Advantages of Premarital Counselling:

  1. It lets both bride and groom be in a counsellor’s office together and know what it feels like.  It lets them get to know a therapist–it makes the walk into the therapist’s office a shorter distance when in the future there are significant issues that need resolving.
  2. It affirms to the strong couple that they have extensive resources in their relationship.  They know what their strengths are and are better able to access them in their relationship.
  3. It highlights growth areas. No one likes to focus on those. It’s uncomfortable to talk about areas that aren’t going well. But guess what?  Not talking about them doesn’t avoid them…in fact, they are more likely to undermine your relationship if they aren’t acknowledged and addressed.
  4. It points out under discussed areas.  How can a couple address a blind spot if you can’t see it?  Some couples I’ve worked with haven’t even thought to talk about how they would raise children, or how they would combine finances.

As a bride and groom planning your big day…will you also consider planning for the marriage?  You WILL hit rough spots that you can’t imagine or plan for.  Life will throw you a curve ball, you will hit a rough patch, and conflict you hadn’t foreseen will happen.

By doing premarital counselling, you position yourself to be better able to weather the storms that life will inevitably bring to your marriage.  It’s not gonna magically bulletproof your marriage, but it will begin to give you tools and strategies for dealing with the challenges that will happen…and connect you with a resource you can return to, should the need require.

We have a premarital counselling package that I’m proud of, and that I think works.  But don’t use ours if you have another option you like.  Do your research.  Go where you are comfortable. Check with your rabbi, imam, pastor, priest or whomever what they would suggest.

Get good premarital preparation somewhere.  Please.  I’m not pushing our program…I’m encouraging you to attend a course of counselling that you are convinced is of good quality and will meet your needs…any good quality preparation is soooo important. Go where it will work for you.  Please.

Wedding preparation is a blast…a dream come true.

How about making marriage preparation the same?

Wouldn’t you love to be able to, several decades from now, be the way this couple is?

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