Judging by the number of wedding invitations arriving at our house, it must be the wedding season. With so many people taking the leap of love, it seems appropriate to give some food for thought to the newlyweds. And we hope their parents will listen, as well.

To the newlyweds

When you marry you are forming a new family unit. At the beginning, it's only the two of you - the bride and groom. As time moves on, children will most likely enter the picture. In the meantime, you need to realize that even though it's just you two, you are a family.

At a recent wedding, the man performing the ceremony gave wise counsel to the young couple. He said, "You are a new ship being launched on the waters of life." Then, he emphasized, "It's your ship. Now everyone else needs to get off board."

Too many times, parents try to stay on the ship thinking they need to help steer it in the proper direction. Have you ever seen a ship with multiple captains? It just doesn't work. This newly launched ship needs only two co-captains, the husband and wife, to steer it to their desired destination.

Asking for advice

That doesn't mean you won't be asking your parents for a little guidance from time to time. When that's needed, we strongly suggest you go together to whichever parent you're seeking counsel. This is your joint responsibility. Getting suggestions from parents will work best if you go as a couple and present your questions or concerns together. If only one of the partners goes, it may cause conflict or misunderstanding.

When one or the other of the couple keeps running to Mommy or Daddy with a problem it will eventually lead to bigger problems in their marriage. Stay united. Remember, you are a family, and you are jointly steering your ship.

You need to know that there will be rough waters at times. When that happens - and it will - whatever you do, don't jump ship. Hang in there together. Work out your problems. You'll be surprised how quickly the waters will calm, and you'll have a season of smooth sailing again. Each time that happens your journey will be blessed with greater wisdom. We all learn from experience. Holding on through the learning time is crucial.

Uninvited parents

Sometimes it's not the couple running to the parents with the problem, it's the parents who are the problem. They see something that concerns them and they, uninvited, board your ship to set things straight. If parents keep jumping on board trying to steer your ship, it can be a disaster to your marriage. You're in charge. You can kindly set a boundary by letting intruding parents know when they are invited and when not. The key word here is "kindly." Treating your parents with respect, and yet still being in charge of your lives can have the best outcome.

Enjoy your journey

Author Louisa May Alcott said, "I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship." This is true of every marriage. As you captain your ship together, you will find a great deal of joy in your journey.

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