Dear Tom and Ray:
My fiancee and I were discussing our wedding plans the other day, and a question came up. We'll be driving away in my VW convertible (there was no discussion on that). However, her maid of honor insists on decorating it. I told my fiancee no. I don't want my car dressed up like a clown car. I compromised and said that a magnet on the back that simply states "Just married" would be fine. But I'm afraid I'm going to walk out and there will be stuff all over my beautiful car. What do you think? Am I crazy? — Ray
Ray: We're sympathetic to you, Ray. As are all of our male readers who live in houses with pink kitchens and bathrooms.
Tom: But "getting married" is really the first act of "being married." Planning a wedding and dealing with increasingly crazed relatives and friends as the date gets closer forces you to work together as a couple.
Ray: In order to succeed as a couple, you have to learn to make decisions that are acceptable to both of you. If the way you settle arguments is that one of you wins and the other one loses, it's going to be a short marriage.
Tom: Actually, here's where I noticed a problem, Ray: You say that you'll be driving away in your VW convertible, and that there was no discussion on that. Well, maybe there should have been discussion on that. Just as there should be discussion on anything you both feel strongly about.
Ray: When you disagree, one thing you each want to assess is the relative importance of the given issue.
Tom: When you don't agree on something, start by asking, "How important is this to you on a scale of 1 to 10?" When there's stuff that she rates a 9 or 10 and you rate a 2 or 3, do it her way. And vice versa.
Ray: And just a warning, Ray: If you rate everything a 10, you'll be joining my brother very shortly in the marriage-of-the-month-club.
(Car Talk is a nationally syndicated column by automotive experts (and brothers) Tom and Ray Magliozzi. Write to them at the Car Talk website.)