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  • Writer's pictureTracy Morgan

"Have you Counted the Cost?"

Couples are getting engaged all over the place! Love is definitely in the air. In fact, we just left December – the most popular month for proposals. But our millennials aren't keeping it mainstream anymore. As a wedding photographer, I've seen engagements and weddings run the gamut, all of them breathtakingly beautiful and heartfelt regardless of the season. However, what strikes me most is not the timing of the proposals and weddings, but the "how" of them!

Couples are doing the "next level" with everything from prom date requests, to gender reveals, to wedding proposals. I like it! I'm sure like me, you have seen the "most." I certainly have. I've seen gender reveals that seemed to have started out cute and harmless, but ended up with a panicked call to 911 and several emergency vehicles on the scene. I've also seen high school prom date requests that rival the most romantic of gestures, complete with bouquets of flowers and pimped out limos. But it's those wedding proposals, for most of us women, that open up the floodgates of tears.

Somehow, some way, these men from the planet Mars are able to concoct the most whimsically romantic, tear-jerking experiences when asking for their girlfriend's hand in marriage. They manage to covertly contact all of the girlfriends in her tribe, and to get her most important family and friends to come on board. The brothers swear everyone to secrecy before telling them exactly what they are planning to do. And then the Martians have the nerve to select the most perfect venue for the deed – perhaps it was where they first met at a neighborhood coffee shop, or maybe he selected the park where they enjoyed their very first kiss. But it's always, ALWAYS the perfect place.

And the ring!

They've taken the time to select the perfect ring, even soliciting her closest friends' opinions about what stone and design they think she will absolutely love. He might even bring his own mother into the plan as he searches high and low, throughout every mall and storefront jeweler's for the perfect ring . . . the ring she would show off to her co-workers and the one her inner circle of girls would swoon over and become jealous of all at the same time. That ring!

And when he beckons her to the center of the room, grabs her hand and their eyes lock, and then drops to one knee as he asks her to spend the rest of her life with him, and everyone in the room (including the men) begin crying and clapping . . . there's that one person who's hands are in her pockets and although she's smiling and there is one tear on her face, she's not fully engaged in the celebration. No, she's not jealous; no, she's not angry; no, she's not even in shock. She is thinking: "Have they considered the cost?"

By the time you accept a proposal from your intended, you should have already counted the costs of marrying your partner. You should definitely enter into pre-marital counseling, but begin your calculating before you begin the ring flossing and the marital counsel. Does he have a job? Is he motivated to move upward in his career/field? How does he treat his Momma? Is he a protector and a defender? Is he marriage material? Is he ready for this? Does she have children? Does he love her children as if they were his own? Does she have a sword in her mouth and cut down everything and everyone she sees as a problem with that sword? Is she respectful? Is she supportive? Is she marriage material? Is she ready for this?

Take a good look around the relationship before saying your "I do's." No woman is a princess and no man is a prince. That only happens in fairytales. There are no perfect people, so when looking inside of what you and your mate share, you can put the magnifying glass back on the shelf. Instead, whip out that small, black, fine-toothed comb and run it through your relationship a couple of times. Review your list of deal-breakers and "must haves." Take an objective, honest but not brutal, assessment of this man or that woman and your relationship. See beyond the swag, the romance, the sexy way he licks his lips and the way she throws her hips when she walks into a room, and look past that gorgeous two-carat diamond you've been dreaming of since your were 11 years old. Neither of those things will save your marriage, but counting the costs just might save your life.

I love marriage!

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