The first two years of marriage represent an adjustment period for every married couple. Unlike living with a roommate, there are a host of financial and legal responsibilities; as well as, social and personal expectations connected to marriage. Even couples that have lived together for years and then enter into a marriage are often surprised when they experience new challenges to their relationship during this initial stage of life as a married couple.
 Journal Questions
I have prepared proactive questions to assist you in minimizing and avoiding misunderstandings and hurt feelings during the first two years of marriage. Give a wedding gift to yourself and your fiancé/fiancée: Sit down with a notebook and pen and write down your thoughts and feelings on the following questions.“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” 

Sharing your journal responses with a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, may greatly enhance your marriage and lives. I want you to enjoy both the wedding and marriage of your dreams.

I respectfully suggest that you consider including pre-marital counseling as part of your marriage process. As a wedding gift to you both, a thirty-minute complimentary counseling session with Dr. James Walton is included as part of your wedding services. 


 * What if one of our careers requires us to relocate to another part of the country/world? 

  * Prior to your marriage/domestic partnership are you both signing a Prenuptial Agreement? 

  * If you and your partner are signing such an agreement, was it freely agreed to by both of you, or did one person feel coerced into signing such an agreement?

                                                                         IN-LAWS & FRIENDS 

When you marry a person, you marry into their family and adopt their friends. 
                                   Often this is a joyous occurrence. However, some new in-laws or adopted “friends” can be irritants, or outright hostile. 

  * What if I am placed in crossfire between a relative/in-law/friend and my partner? 

  * How will I deal with these people and how will my partner and I 
                                                                                           address these concerns? 

  * Where will we go for Thanksgiving and other holiday dinners? 


  •  If your partner already has children, how do you get along with them?

  • If you are both bringing children into your marriage, how do they get 
         along with each other? 

  • Do you feel that you are prioritized after your partner’s children?

  • What is the nature of your relationship with the children’s other parent? 

  • What values/beliefs do you wish to impart to your children?  

  • How will you as individuals and as a couple discipline children? 


Speaking with a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist may be an excellent starting point in laying a foundation for a cordial relationship between co-parents, their new spouses, children and new siblings. Beneficiaries of this proactive approach include the children, their self-image, psychological/emotional health and development; as well as yourself, your “ex” and new spouses/family members.  


Dr. Walton holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology and is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. He also has an extensive CD self-help series available. Some titles include “Surviving the Wedding” and “After Breaking Up: Healing the heart and finding happiness” and “Ultimate Weight Loss.” These and other self-help albums are extensively described and available at

As Dr. Walton says on his Premarital Counseling Website:

"Now that you have found each other, premarital counseling is about deepening your commitment to the relationship and building upon what you already have. 

According to The Enrichment Journal on divorce rates

The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%

Premarital counseling can greatly improve your odds by learning how to get through difficult times before they arrive on your doorstep.  Sadly, by the time couples begin to think of getting help through counseling, it is often too late.  Planning ahead can save the most precious thing in your possession: your love for each other."

Divorce ends a marriage; however, a divorced couple will continue in relationship with their children and; therefore, through their children, with each other. You will encounter your “ex” at your children’s graduations, weddings, funerals, holiday meals, and other special occasions. You will hear about what is happening in your “ex’s” life from your children. An adversarial relationship hurts and harms everyone; it holds the present and future hostage to the past. 

       Proactively consider and discuss the subject of children. 

  • Do you want to have/adopt children and if so, how many children do you want?  

  • Your fiancé/fiancée may enter your relationship with children. In contemporary society blended families are common. The “blending” process is precisely just that and it usually entails  a host of emotional and relational issues.

  * What are my short and long term financial goals for us as a couple? 

  * How will we make decisions regarding our household expenses? 

  * Will we create and live by a budget? 

  * How will we handle payment of our monthly bills and periodic expenses?

  * How do we address an income disparity between us, if one exists? 

Dr. James E Walton, PhD. 

Dr. James Walton has generously offered a free thirty-minute counseling session to couples to review their Journal Questions. This will help you to start your new life as a married couple in the most positive way possible.