Instead of preparing for marriage, engaged couples usually just spend their time preparing for the wedding.
And while that’s really exciting to do, the wedding lasts one day whereas your marriage is supposed to be a lifelong commitment.
Marriage prep is essential because marriage is hard. It brings blessings that are unique and brings so much joy and laughter. However, it will take some work. It’s going to take a lot of work throughout your life.
So if you’re looking for ways to prepare for marriage, add these five things to your Wedding To-Do list.
Picture Your Life Together
You’ve probably pictured your life together before, perhaps before you were even engaged. You might even have some baby names picked out. But think through the day-to-day stuff practically. What does your daily life look like? When you want to have a date night, can it be a cozy relaxed night or are you going to prefer fancy date nights? Are you expecting your future spouse to spend every waking moment with you when you’re both at home? Or will you both need alone time even if you’re both home at the same time? How often will you be hanging out with your friends? Are you okay with your in-laws stopping by unannounced?
It’s good to talk through your future life together especially since you will each have specific needs. This will help to create a realistic view instead of having unrealistic expectations that you will inevitably be disappointed by.
Go To Pre-Marital Counseling
If you are getting married in a church, you are probably already required to participate in counseling. But if you aren’t, consider finding a place where you and your fiance can go to receive counseling. It may seem awkward and unneeded, but studies show that couples who do this actually divorce less. The professional you meet with will ask good questions to get you both thinking about the inevitable struggles of marriage.
You need to think about things like who will do the cleaning, the cooking, the bill paying. Think about daily life and what it will look like. For example, you may feel like one person can handle all the cooking and another do the cleaning. But what if you just had a baby? What if life gets busy and you’re doing everything? What is your agreed upon plan so that you do not get frustrated with each other? This stuff sounds basic, but I promise you that if one person is carrying the majority of the load, he/she will get frustrated and feel underappreciated.
While in pre-marital counseling, you should discuss things like compatibility, finances, and children. Also talk about sex, religion, disciplining children, parenting styles, your childhood, etc.
Read A Marriage Book Together And Discuss It
There are so many good books on marriage that you and your partner can read together. Marcus Kusi writes several good non-religious marriage books while there are handfuls of Christian marriage books to read.
Marriage books are helpful to read together because the author’s words serve as a third party without actually involving another person. You can discuss your opinions and feelings based on the readings, rather than trying to produce meaningful conversations on your own. The topics you read about are then likely to produce other deep heart-to-hearts and help to create more vulnerability/honesty between you two.
Set Your Mind Straight
If you’re going into marriage thinking that divorce is a possibility, you’re missing the whole concept. And our brains are so powerful that you will think of the possibility of a divorce repeatedly whenever you argue if you let it. A thought like that will only poison your mind and allow it to wander, thinking about what life would be like with a different spouse…a thought that easily leads to an affair.
It’s good to set your mind straight now and realize that you are both going to make mistakes. A lot. You are going to let each other down, and you may even be shocked at some choices made. Both of you are imperfect, and so it is ridiculous to expect a perfect marriage.
Of course, there are times when divorce is the safest and healthiest option, especially if abuse or another unhealthy, toxic behavior is present. Hopefully, you are choosing to marry someone you trust and are getting married knowing that you will be loyal and accepting.
View your marriage as a covenant promise rather than a legal contract. When we think of our marriage as a covenant, we understand it is based on love, loyalty, and will last “as long as we both shall live.” However, when we view marriage as a contract, we can think of it as lasting only as long as the love is still passionate. It is based on behaviors, and we feel like we can leave whenever we want to.
This sounds negative, but it’s a good thing. Say goodbye to your old life. Your new life as a married couple should be different than before. Your spouse is now your priority, over both close friends or family. It is you and your spouse first. Set boundaries accordingly and recognize that your commitments, hobbies, and overall lifestyle will change.
Five Marriage Thoughts and Tips To Keep In Mind As You Prepare For Marriage
- Marriage is not about you. Despite what our society is trying to teach us, marriage is not about your constant happiness. No one can always be there for you, and no one will fulfill every need you have. If each of you expects to get everything you want, you will both be hurt and angry. Marriage is beautiful when both people serve each other and aim to be selfless.
- Your spouse needs both love and respect. While you will not be able to love them perfectly every day, it is something you will have to work at to make the marriage work. You will find that you have more power than you thought when it comes to the words you say. You can hurt each other deeper than anyone else could but also encourage each other like no one else can. Love each other physically, emotionally, sexually, and mentally. Respect each other by the words you say to your partner whether you are together or away.
- Never stop dating. Have fun with each other! Remember why you fell in love and enjoy each other frequently. Life is too short to live in a marriage where you basically cohabitate. Always be kind and keep on flirting!
- You will have problems. Not only are you marrying a flawed person, but you are also imperfect and will bring problems to the marriage because you’re human. Don’t run away from them and don’t attack each other. Instead, attack the problem together and use it as an opportunity for growth.
- You are different, and that’s a good thing. In fact, remember that you were attracted to the differences. It would be so boring if you married someone exactly like you. Celebrate each other’s differences and accept each other for the way you are. Complete each other, don’t compete with one another.
I hope this post encourages you to prepare for marriage. While it may seem unnecessary, it can produce a lot of fruit and save you from some avoidable pain. I wish you the best of luck in your future marriage!