New Years, Weddings and Wedding Priestesses!

Well, Happy New Year, my friends! I seem to have taken a short hiatus (unannounced even to myself). I had a wonderful holiday, full of singing and fmialy and friends and food. Sweetpea and I even did some recording which was so much fun!

But it’s January, and time for putting into motion all the plans and dreams from before the holiday madness intervened. So, look here for more helpful hints and thoughts about your relationship, your wedding and your marriage. You’ll want to check in occasionally on the writing I do for Examiner.com and Over at Ezine articles (check out the right-hand side of the page.) and this week, no really, I promise!, you’ll get a glimpse of my new monthly newsletter (called, what else? The Wedding Priestess!) with all sorts of reflections about gettin’ hitched from me and from some of my most beloved wedding colleagues!

It’s going to be a great year. After all, you’re getting married! Or you’re woroking on a really wonderful relationship! Let’s celebrate together!

Believing in you and in your love,

Ann

Fireworks Champagne Glass

Celebrating Holiday Memories

One trick to creating your own “new family” holiday memories is to revisit was was special and wonderful in your own holiday history. Even the most horrible childhoods had some great memories, even if sadly they they were at someone else’s house!

The fact is you’ll do better building new memories if you start from realizing what was the sweet thing at the heart of your memory. I recently heard a woman tell the story of how her parents made a big red ribbon line that she followed around the house until she discovered her present… a great big cuddly bear. She got the bear when she was 4 and has him still. Part of what made that particular bear a great gift was the build-up… (Hint: build up costs nothing and requires simply a little inventiveness and a bit of humor.) The bear represented companionship.

If you discover the heart of the memories, then the plans you make can grow out of the positive things: Rather than, let’s not spend any money on gifts because we don’t have any: Let’s not spend money on gifts because what we want are gifts from the heart. And we’ll give gift money to someone else. Or, it may be that this is the year to give one another sparkly shiny things because your love is sparkly and shiny. But whatever it is, spend some time remembering and sharing what was best for you about the holidays.

Tip: Create the holidays you want to have not the holiday everyone thinks you should have. And base your plans on what was wonderful for you when you were a child.

Money Matters

I recently heard from a bride who had money regrets. Somewhere in the midst of the wedding planning process she had slipped on the “oh, let’s make this more and more beautiful” banana.

End result, she outspent her budget. She’s not the first and she’s not the last.  Unless you decide to make it different. It’s not a great idea to combine wedding party post partum slump with how do I manage my life. It can easily become a bit overwhelming, and lead to tussles with your new spouse.

Tip: As with everything else, a little planning can help this. And that’s not just wedding planning, it’s life and marriage planning. What’s important in your wedding? You’re marrying your beloved. Your job, together with your partner, is to figure out what’s really going to make that work. And then design a celebration that suits the life you’re going to build.

What Does It Mean to Be Engaged?

Once you get engaged, it seems all the focus goes on the wedding. Brides and grooms bustle about getting this and that in order for the big party.

What they don’t do enough of is be engaged in the relationship. This is a time period best used to work out issues, establish patterns and deepen your relationship.

Planning a party is fun. Planning your wedding ceremony is important. But planning a path for your love to grow? It’s essential. And it’s the goal.

Tip: What were the most important moments of your engagement period? How did your relationship deepen over this time? (other than the financial ties you built when you took out a second mortgage to pay for your wedding?)

10 Steps to Building a Perfect Wedding Ceremony: #4 The Statement of Intent

If there is a Statement of Intent (SOI) in most wedding ceremonies, it is a pledge by the couple to the religious institution to abide by their tenents.

Many of you, however, are not being married in churches. So should there be a SOI?

Absolutely. And even in religious ceremonies, those intentions should be augmented. The only way to live into your dreams is to establish them as real.

  1. What do you intend with this marriage? (Hint: to live happily and healthily ever after with your beloved.
  2. What is it about your partner that makes this not only possible but realistic for each of you?
  3. Do you love this person? (This is something you would do well to volunteer in your wedding ceremony in your own voice.

Tip: Declaring in your own voice that you intend to live in lifelong marriage with your beloved creates a mission statement that you can live into for the rest of your lives!

Should Women Marry Money: The Planning

The Wedding Priestess has been walking around mulling this over in her head.  The only reason Smart Girls Marry Money by Ford and Drake is interesting is that we’re looking at an institution gone wrong. Most of us would hesitate before an operation with only a 50 percent survival rate, particularly if our chances of muddling through without it were so-so as well.

But we often don’t think before we marry about how we’re going to make this relationship work. Hey, I’m a geezer babe, supposedly full of wisdom, and I never thought about this. Steve’s and my marriage is odder than most in the way we have arranged our money and our marriage.

But money matters. We’re finding that out as everyone hits the recession. You have to plan wisely for your family. Even wise planning doesn’t always help, but planning helps better than no planning. How are the two of you going to provide for your family? And by family, read that not only as your darling babes and their college educations, but also as your retirement. Money is one of those things that breaks marriages up, and guess what, when you break up a marriage,  money doesn’t get easier and the fighting doesn’t stop. Particularly if there are children. So, not so helpful.

Tip: This is one of those things that you can talk about. This is one of those things you should talk about. Plan for your future. Because whether or not you do, it’s coming. Sometimes it’s better to plan.

Should Women Marry Money: The Divorce

The Newsweek article about Ford and Drake’s Book: Smart Women Marry Money details more of their thinking: ‘Then there’s divorce. Ford and Drake say that since women suffer economically much more than men when they get divorced, snagging a good provider is ultimately critical to an equitable settlement. And if current statistics hold, half of new couples are likely to eventually split up. Given that depressing reality, Ford and Drake say that a husband’s earning power is a more important indicator of a woman’s future happiness than his cute smile. “If the marriage crashes,” they write, “it’s the women who are exposed to an extremely high risk of poverty.” They urge their readers to look for a Mr. Right “who just happens to be Mr. Rich.”‘

Their statistics are correct. Their thinking, practical. Their conclusions, depressing.

What are you doing to make sure that your marriage is on the right side of the divorce split? What financial management skills are you developing? What are your plans for developing financial security for your new family? What communication skills are you honing? How do the wedding vows you’re crafting reflect both your determination to succeed but also your blueprint for a successful marriage?

Tip: You can marry whomever you want. You can have a successful marriage. It does take more than a wish and a prayer, however. Start building a successful marriage as you start planning your wedding. You’ll be very glad you did.

If it’s a gay wedding is it a gay marriage?

At what point does a couple become simply a couple in marriage?

Now there are certainly problems in many marriages occurring between same-sex couples that occur because of outside hatefulness. But from what I’ve seen, marital problems with same-sex couples follow fairly predictable lines.

  1. People are different. It’s sometimes hard to agree on things.
  2. People have failings. No way around that.
  3. People get sick or tired and partners have to step up. It’s not always graceful.
  4. People lose jobs and parents and children and life is difficult. And you have to cope.

We need to be thinking about how to keep marriages of all kinds succeeding. One reason I advocate for public weddings is that we involve the community in the success of our marriages. Communities need stable relationships. It’s in their best interest to support them.

On today’s NY Times Op-Ed Page a transsexual, Jennifer Finney Boylan, wrote about her marriage and it’s ability to withstand the problems that arose when she realized she needed to be living as, to become, who she felt she was: a woman. Her wife, she tells us, ultimately found that she loved the essentials of the person more than the physical manifestations of that person. They have gone on building a marriage between them.

And yet, the courts think they have the rights to decide (and differently from state to state) whether they are married, whether they can inherit one another’s property should one spouse die, and whom they might marry should a partner die and the survivor decided to remarry.

Gender politics are always confusing, but rarely more so than in marriage. And adding the trans-gender thing to it, seems to add to the confusion. I loved these two paragraphs from this mornings editorial:

Similar rulings have left couples in similar situations in Florida, Ohio and Texas. A 1999 ruling in San Antonio, in Littleton v. Prange, determined that marriage could be only between people with different chromosomes. The result, of course, was that lesbian couples in that jurisdiction were then allowed to wed as long as one member of the couple had a Y chromosome, which is the case with both transgendered male-to-females and people born with conditions like androgen insensitivity syndrome. This ruling made Texas, paradoxically, one of the first states in which gay marriage was legal.

A lawyer for the transgendered plaintiff in the Littleton case noted the absurdity of the country’s gender laws as they pertain to marriage: “Taking this situation to its logical conclusion, Mrs. Littleton, while in San Antonio, Tex., is a male and has a void marriage; as she travels to Houston, Tex., and enters federal property, she is female and a widow; upon traveling to Kentucky she is female and a widow; but, upon entering Ohio, she is once again male and prohibited from marriage; entering Connecticut, she is again female and may marry; if her travel takes her north to Vermont, she is male and may marry a female; if instead she travels south to New Jersey, she may marry a male.”

Tip: Here’s the truth. Marriage is complicated. We need to spend our time getting people ready for healthy and happy marriage and then finding ways to keep them in those marriages. Our children will do better. Our society and our communities will do better. Let’s here it for making marriages stronger. Let’s stop worrying about who’s in the marriage and start worrying about how they’re making it work.

Begin the Search for Community Support with your Invitation

The first step in your campaign to build support for your marriage is to create an Invitation that explains to your guests

  1. that they are your beloved friends.
  2. that you want them to witness and celebrate your wedding vows.
  3. that you will want them to support you and your marriage in the future.

Tip: Invite your Wedding Guests and let them know that they have a vital role to play in your life going forward. They’ll come to your wedding with different expectations of what they will see and what role they will play in your life and marriage.

Use your wedding to solicit support for your Marriage

Marriages do better when supported by a community. Your community came to your wedding wanting to celebrate and support your wedding vows and your marriage. This relationship that is so perfect for you deserves to be celebrated.

Tip: So give your community a chance and they will give you all the support you could ever want. Check back tomorrow for the beginning of some pointers on how you can use different segments of your wedding to build the support you want.