Communication is an important part of any relationship. After engagement it's even more important. Each partner should think about why they are getting married, then the two should discuss your planned marriage.

Landolphe D'Aquin-B MD, THD stated, "Marriage is not the next step; it is a decisional step rooted in something beyond your feelings for each other." In other words, you need to look past the electricity and contemplate life with your chosen partner.

How committed are you?

Do you love your partner? I mean the love that will do anything needed to keep the marriage strong. Verbally express 'I love you' regularly, share your feelings and thoughts and be generous with your emotions. Both partners need support, appreciation and understanding from each other.

"Love requires the tenacity to decide to remain in a relationship through good and bad times and to remain committed to your partner no matter what," Landolphe D'Aquin-B said.

I recently read a story in the book, True Love: Stories Told to and by Robert Fulghum, about an elderly man painting his wife's toenails. When asked why he did this, his response was that he loved his wife and this act made her feel complete and beautiful. He was willing to do for her what she could no longer do for herself. What is love? It's commitment to the end.

Why are you marrying?

Is it because your relationship is familiar? Comfortable? Because it's the next step? Are you in it for the party? Because of your partner's potential? Of what the future could bring? Is your partner a fixer-upper? Umbilically attached to your future in-laws? Is this a rescue?

There are no right or wrong answers. Even the oddest, or what appears to be incompatible, marriages may work with the right level of commitment. You need to decide how much of yourself you can put into your marriage.

When discussing long-term relationships or commitments, I often remember a story a friend told me about wanting a puppy. She and her siblings promised their parents they would walk it, and feed it and take care of it every day. Her next statement floored me. We didn't know she was going to live 14 years. Marriage can be up to five times as long. Are you ready to take care of your love for the next 50 to 75 years?

Have you thought about children?

I've heard so many couples blindly say they don't want children. And there's nothing wrong with that, but longing or accidental conception may bring this question to the forefront sooner or later. Discuss it now. Children also bring about the desire to share childhood experiences. This is where different cultures may stress the relationship. Each partner will want to raise them in their culture. This may be difficult, especially when that culture involves different religious beliefs.

Growing up I often heard the story about how my father asked for my mother's hand in marriage, "How many children are we going to have?"

"But you haven't asked me to marry you," mom said.

"I already know you're going to marry me. How many children are we going to have?"

To which she responded she wanted a dozen. I am the oldest of five.

How many children are you going to have?

What is love?

A friend of mine told me she asked her husband why he loved her. He said it was because her eyes were in the right place.

What is love? It's long term and deeper than sex. Love is the excitement that flows and fills you with the desire to keep your partner happy through the good and bad times.

"It's a decision, not because of what you feel or because of what your partner is, but in spite of what your partner is," Landolphe D'Aquin-B said.

Love is willing to sacrifice for and hug, cry, laugh or scream with each other. Love is committed to growing old together. It's not the dream of forever after, but a reality tightly wrapped around that dream. True love cares, is full of compassion and duty, and is faithful in mind and body.

I told my husband, "Love is forever and continues beyond the grave."

Is there a higher purpose or mission?

Is there something you can do better as a couple? What will your marriage accomplish other than the feeding of two people? As an example, many couples bring children into the world with the idea that they're going to give them a better life and greater opportunities than they had. A marriage with a mission is more likely to survive.

These questions do not have a right or wrong answer, but may bring to light the status of your relationship and strengthen your commitment to a marriage that will carry you into your golden years. So, why are you getting married?

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