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The Big Day: Wedding Day or the Day After?

Mar 31st, 2009 by Dr. Gourgouris | 0

Many of us expect the biggest day of our lives to be the day we finally tie the knot! So many life-long expectations, dreams and aspirations are finally coming true. To have the “perfect wedding day” is often seen as the ultimate goal, and “bridezilla” is a humorous term often used for this phenomenon. However, it seems that the focus on being the center of attention, or on having the perfect party, really serves as a distraction from the true focus, which is this new eternal union.

Planning so many things that have to work out just right takes up great time and energy: the music, food, guests, seating arrangements, flowers, pictures, transportation, the wedding dress, hair styling, groomsmen and maids-of-honor (and their clothing), make-up, timing, the photographer…well, the list could go on and on.. It is, after all, a day that has been dreamed of or down-right planned for years in advance. The trimmings are abundant.

Amidst all the hoopla, however, comes amazing stress as the details of the “BIG EVENT” take over. It’s not uncommon for that very stress to cause hurt feelings when things don’t quite work as anticipated. Often the bride-to-be feels so overwhelmed and busy that she forgets to “check in” and see how others are feeling—her fiancée included. On the actual wedding day, running around during the event, the bride may not be able to even enjoy it! Many brides confirm that the wedding itself was exhausting, and that they felt quite empty and let down afterwards, almost like “that was it?”

All this expectation linked to having one perfect day (not to mention the honeymoon), can be expensive and start the marriage out with unnecessary stress (including debt). Simplifying the costs as well as the details will allow both the bride and groom to be able to focus on the spirit of the occasion, and the days after the “Big Day.” Simplifying can allow time to truly enjoy and visit with their guests and their families, instead of creating empty details for the “perfect” future wedding album.

For the success and longevity of a thriving and loving marriage, how important is the actual wedding day…really? President Spencer W. Kimball answers this question with great clarity and wisdom. He was once interviewing a young man returning from his mission and asked him what he was looking forward to the most when he got home. The young man answered, “I’ve been praying to marry the one I love.” Clearly this returning missionary had a girl back home with whom he was deeply in love and had planned on getting married.

President Kimball’s loving and wise response to this young man (and to all of us) was: “Don’t pray to marry the one you love, but pray to love the one you marry.” It’s not that the young man’s prayer was wrong, by any means, but that his prayer would be answered the day he got married, and the days thereafter.

It is the month, or the year, after the wedding, when those rose-colored glasses are gone, that we truly learn to love. It is the morning when we wake up to a crying baby after sleeping only two hours that we make a marriage union real. It is when you don’t really feel loving, but choose to act loving towards your new spouse that a marriage is truly born … not the wedding day or the honeymoon afterwards.

Praying continuously for an increase of love towards our spouse throughout our lifetime and acting upon those promptings is the real recipe for success. It is in the daily effort of thinking and praying about improving our spouse’s life that true love is found and grows.
So, it is true that the day of our wedding is a milestone in our eternal progression, a great day to celebrate with family and friends our eternal union. However, the greatest days start after the wedding day and continue for the remainder of our lives with daily, weekly, monthly and yearly deposits of loving prayers and actions.

Elia Gourgouris Ph.D.

Dr. Elia Gourgouris is a nationally known speaker, relationship coach, and the president of With over 20 years of experience, he has inspired thousands of individuals and couples to find greater happiness and fulfillment, both in their careers and their personal lives. He holds a degree from UCLA and a Ph.D. in psychology. Dr. Gourgouris speaks to groups around the country regarding women’s issues, self esteem, communications skills, and relationships. He is also a favorite presenter at both BYU and BYU-ID Education Weeks, and Time Out for Women conferences. He is the author of “DTR: What You Need to Know Before You Get Married” and he has an upcoming CD entitled “The Multi-Platinum Marriage: Going from Just Surviving to Thriving!” He and his wife, Sona, live near Boulder, Colorado, with their children.

Families and Money

Oct 15th, 2008 by Dr. Elia | 0

Dear Dr. Elia,

Thank you for addressing so many questions about marriage and
relationships in general. I know a lot of couples are benefiting from
your answers! My question has to do with finances which is something a
little different…In these VERY uncertain times, financially, what
would you recommend for couples and families to do. I realize that you
are not a financial expert or adviser, but I respect your answers in
other topics, so I wanted to know your thoughts.


Dear Jackie,

Thank you for your kind words of appreciation. Your question about
finances and families couldn’t have been more timely. I know there are
SO many families who are struggling to deal with their ever-dwindling
financial resources. These are very difficult times for the average
family with seemingly no end in sight. Every day we are bombarded from
the media with more negative or troubling news.

You are correct when you say that I am not a financial expert. I can
share with you however, the counsel that I received when I was about to
get married many years ago. I have shared this counsel with many
individuals and couples over the last two decades with great results. A
really good friend of mine and very successful, I might add, who worked
in the financial sector shared it with me. At the time I was in graduate
school, with some debt because of school loans and some credit card
debt. He told me that finances were easy, if we all did 4 things every
month. Can you believe he said that it was EASY???

I was a little skeptical at first, but listened intently as he explained
to me this financial plan. “First thing you do is pay the Lord every
month! No exceptions whatsoever!” I was not surprised by that so much,
as I was by the second step which was to pay myself. He told me that
“after the Lord you must put yourself…Right now it might be $5 a month
(at the time that was the price of a movie ticket)…afterwards it could
be $50, $500 or even more.” The point was to recognize the importance of
savings early on.

The third step was to “pay your bills and do it on time: no late fees,
no bounced checks and most importantly NO INTEREST.” The only exceptions
were for a mortgage, car and school loans. The fourth step was my
favorite. He said, “If you have any money left over, go out with your
wife and enjoy yourselves!”

Like I said before, I’m no expert, but this sound financial advice has
been helpful during good times and tough times, like what most are
experiencing right now. I hope that’s helpful…Good luck implementing it!

Elia Gourgouris Ph.D.


Sep 15th, 2008 by Dr. Gourgouris | 0
Dear Dr. Elia,

My husband and I are in huge debt because of his addiction to gambling. I knew it was a problem for him when I met him, but I was hoping he was getting passed it. We have 5 beautiful children, and we are in debt up to our necks. He’d rather spend time with the machines than with us. Anything you could recommend would be helpful.


Dear Gamble,

Gambling is an insidious addiction for it will destroy everything in its path. Serious debt can be debilitating to the way a family functions. At this point it sounds like your husband loves the machines more than he loves his family. The question is, what if anything is he willing to do about it, before he loses everything! If he acknowledges his addiction then there’s hope. He can start attending a 12-Step program called Gamblers Anonymous. The good news is that it’s free…He can get a sponsor that will act as his mentor as he works through the 12 steps. Ideally, he would need to immerse himself in the solution just as much as he has immersed himself into his addiction! They say that 90 meetings in 90 days is the best way to make a significant shift in behavior…Will he be willing to make such a commitment?

There are also counselors that specialize in gambling addictions. Anything less than these two steps, I’m afraid will lead to more heartache for all of you. By the way, is there a spiritual leader you could talk to, that might bring you some comfort and support?

If your husband refuses to get help, then you’re faced with another dilemma…Ultimatums only work if a person is willing to go through with them.

God bless you and your family during this time of need.

Elia Gourgouris Ph.D.

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