Match Your  Dreams to Reality

Psychologists have identified a phenomenon that’s probably been around as long as the Jack & Jill but hasn’t been talked about much: The Post-wedding Blues.  After the frantic build-up to the big day, the let-down can be huge, particularly for brides.  If you’ve been managing a team of service providers, coordinating a b’zillion details and spending like there’s no tomorrow, the day after can seem like the big fizzle.

Now it’s time to get down to the business of life. And if you want that life to be fabulous, you have to come to terms with your reality. While it’s wonderful to dream that you could make every day your wedding day where everyone does your bidding and money isn’t top of mind, it’s time to grow up and get real.

The only way you’ll be able to create a life that is satisfying and magical – yes, there is magic still to come – is to set some realistic expectations. Don’t just pull wishes out of the air and then hope that you can make them come true. “I want to own my own McMansion by this time next year” may be a little bigger bite than you can chew.  Instead, figure out what you really, really want, prioritize your goals and then create the plan to make it all come to pass.

Whether you want to own your own home, start a family or go into business for yourself, you need to break your goal down into manageable steps. Step #1: Talk to your partner. Now that you’re part of a family, you can’t go off half-cocked, assuming your buddy is on the same page as you.  You’ve got to talk about it. Sit down and discuss what it is you each want to achieve, and what kind of timeline you each have in mind.

Your new life partner may want to have children, but may want to wait a year or four until you’re settled in a home of your own. You, on the other hand, may be dying to get pregnant. Step #2 is to work out a time frame that meets both your needs.

Which brings us to Step #3: make a plan that lets you achieve this dream without putting your new family at risk financially. Will you live on one income and bank the rest so you can save up for a down payment on a home? Will you practice living on one income so that when baby does come along you have a big fat slush fund to supplement your paltry maternity benefits? Will you delay your family long enough to get your student loans paid off? Figure out what’s important to both of you and plan together to make your real life work.

Now that you’re married and moving forward together, you can use each other’s strengths to keep you on track. Share your dreams. Talk about your expectations. And make a plan that takes you from where you are now to where you want to be. Working as a team, you can make all your dreams come true.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade is the host of “Til Debt Do U$ Part” and “Princess” on Slice. Gail blogs daily at her website, Gail’s book, Debt-Free Forever, published by HarperCollins shot to the top of the bestseller list in 2010. Her latest book, Never Too Late, is poised to do the same thing in 2011.

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