A Message from the Founder of Collaborative Marriage Planning

You have to admire people who have the courage to make a commitment to intimately share their lives with another person. Not so terribly long ago, the wedding commitment was made not by the people exchanging vows, but by their families. The basis for the commitment was political and economic. Weddings had to do with wealth, power and security.   When Love developed within a marriage it was, after years of being together, a deep, comfortable Love based on knowledge and acceptance.

Times have changed.  Political and economic considerations have receded in importance. Two worker households, greater gender equity, and geographic mobility have made inter-generational empire building, and protection through marriage, important considerations only for the very richest. At the same time Love has become the basic requirement for the formation of a committed relationship. The integration of Love and marriage that today characterizes committed relationships, provides a source of stability to replace that formerly provided by clan and land.

So, while Collaborative Marriage Planning is about planning and contracts in committed relationships and their contribution to the durability, success, and satisfaction of your relationship, it is also very much about Love.

Volumes upon volumes have been written about Love. Hopefully, it is a feeling you know well. Love is a naturally occurring phenomenon. It is difficult or impossible to predict where and when it will show up. When it is present, however, it sustains us, fills us, and empowers us. You can think of love as a Well, fed by a hidden spring. But, if you have lived and loved, you know that the well can run dry and its source be lost.

Every couple runs into uncomfortable differences in values and priorities.  Throughout your relationship there will be disputes and conflicts.  Its natural. When these issues are not fully and amicably resolved, or fully accommodated, you go to the well of your Love and withdraw soothing waters to restore your bond. When a couple experiences progress in their relationship, as they move forward on the journey of becoming ‘married’1, when they feel good about themselves and the state of their relationship, when they laugh and joke and play and find humor in the world and in each other, they add to the source waters of their well. The Love available and present in a relationship is the net result of the couple’s additions and withdrawals from their well of Love.


Collaborative Marriage Planning is a process that helps couples keep the well-spring of Love flowing. So that when times are rough couples can go the well to have their wounds soothed and their love refreshed. You see, once the ceremony and partying are over, couples find themselves in an unromantic, but very real, world where rational behavior is essential. The transition from romantic to rational can be abrupt and stressful. A significant number of relationships fail to make this essential transition, despite the sincere and dedicated efforts of the couple. It isn’t a failure of love. It’s a failure of understanding and adjustment.

Collaborative Marriage Planning is the rational counterpoint to the love a couple feels. The Yin to love’s Yang. Unquestionably, for a couple to expend time, energy and money building structures for their life together, especially at a time that is filled with anticipation, eagerness and anxiety, requires discipline. So does marriage. For those willing to make the investment, Collaborative Marriage Planning offers dramatic and sustaining potential rewards.

Whatever path you choose to follow, we sincerely, wish you the very best for your relationship success. Know that Collaborative Marriage Planning is available to you throughout your relationship at www.CollaborativeMarriagePlanning.com

Dennis S. Lerner, BA, MA, JD
Collaborative Marriage & Family Lawyer,
and Founder, Collaborative Marriage Planning

You will observe that throughout this site ‘wedding’ and ‘marrying’ are distinguished from each other. To ‘Wed’ is to exchange vows and rings in a licensed ceremony, usually followed by a party. To ‘Marry” is to be in intimate contact over an extended period during which the traits and characteristics of the marrying parties are blended, producing more pleasing and capable individuals and couple. A Wedding happens in a day, while Marrying takes years of hard work.