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Preparing for marriage

Published:Sunday | June 3, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Heather Little-White, Contributor

Are you planning to get married soon? Well, that would mean that you have found a partner to whom you are committed and with whom you are prepared to spend the rest of your life. You may have made up your guest list and you are caught up in the euphoria to come with the wedding day without really focusing on the institution of marriage. At some of the popular north coast hotels, there may be several weddings in one day, with most of the couples marrying in a simple outfit of a pair of shorts, but a meaningful ceremony. One groom who wore a polo shirt and shorts though his bride was dressed in a fabulous bridal gown quipped: "My wife looks fabulous and that's all that matters ... it's now official - we are husband and wife for life and that's what matters."

Right partner

Finding the right partner is one of the essential ingredients. Take the time to get to know them. When you find someone with positive qualities, it's easy to live with them for the rest of your life. When you establishing a long-term relationship, sex will be better because you have come to learn what your partner needs and enjoys.

AIDS talk

You should talk openly with your partner about AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections before getting married. What kind of lifestyle did your partner have before you met? You should talk frankly about very intimate and personal details of your sexual life before you met. Opt to take an AIDS test, a simple test that checks for antibodies for the HIV virus in the blood. Of course, HIV antibodies take some time to appear in the bloodstream after having sex with an infected person. While awaiting the results, you and your partner should not have sex with anyone else.

Contraception

Discuss contraception and safe sex. The issue of being faithful should not arise, but be responsible enough to wear a condom if you give in to temptation.

If you are not ready for children, discuss the matter of contraception as a couple and with your family doctor, who will be able to offer both temporary and permanent options.

As a couple wanting to practise safer sex, you could explore sex without intercourse. In today's jargon, it is called 'dry humping' or 'outercourse' and is a perfectly safe way for sexual satisfaction without penetration. Activities include heavy petting, mutual masturbation, oral sex and sensual massages.

Commitment

As you cement your plans to get married, you should be solidly committed to each other. Commitment means a willingness to work together for the good of the union ahead of putting personal needs aside, especially in times of family crises like sickness, job loss or natural disasters that may affect your household.

Romantic honeymoon

Honeymoons set up the sexual chemistry for your marriage and you should plan to make it a memorable event in your sex life. The experience in your new state as 'man and wife' should excite and you should create new responses to lovemaking on your marital journey.

Financial arrangements

Without a plan to finance the wedding and to sustain the expenses of your marriage, you are on a path to failure. What if one or both of you are not working? It may mean delaying marriage until you have some money. It may also mean staying in the family home a little longer until both of you have enough savings with which to start. You should also discuss how you will take care of expenses in the union and whether you will operate joint or separate accounts.

It is important to spending to plan for all aspects of marriage and not just focusing on the wedding day. That is only the start of the marriage.