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Laura Hunt

Relationship Guide
Wedding Planning is Good Practice

by Amy Honigman, Ph.D.

Love may conquer all, but life always poses dilemmas for us to deal with and a married couple can anticipate numerous opportunities for problem solving. Wedding planning provides many chances for a couple to look at and refine their problem-solving skills together. How couples deal with planning a wedding typically portrays how they will deal with other issues in their lives together.

Take a minute and think about you and your fianc├ę's style of working on a problem together. Do you work together and share ideas and responsibilities? Or do you two carry out certain roles according to each person's specific ability? How comfortable are you with your style and how well does it work for you both? If either of you feel excluded, burdened or dissatisfied with the other person's decisions then the team work approach may be better. If delegating works best, then each person has to trust and support the other's actions.

Here are 4 tools that engaged couples can start practicing now, while planning your wedding, to develop healthy marital skills. The first is Clear and Constructive Communication. Communicate honestly to your partner the essence of you hopes, needs and concerns. Put out what is important to you and help your partner understand your position. The next tool is Understanding. You and your partner need to be open and considerate of each others' values and apprehensions. This does not necessarily mean agreeing to or giving in. But instead, by trying to put yourself in the other's place you both will feel listened to and therefore more likely to negotiate. Which leads me to the third tool--Negotiation. Choose your battles wisely, hold onto the most important values, but be willing to compromise in order to promote harmony. Finally the last tool which I believe to be essential in a good marriage has to do with dealing with goals and difficulties as an Adventure.

Maintaining a positive attitude and a sense of humor helps couples know they can tackle most things in life together. And it is these kinds of accomplishments which help strengthen the bonds of marriage.

Amy Honigman, Ph.D. is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY11755). She practices in Danville, California.

DISCLAIMER: The generalized information presented is not intended as advice regarding any specific person or problem. Individuals reading this column in need of specific advice should consult with a licensed mental health professional.

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