As I shared HERE last week, each Friday for the next few months I will be sharing advice and tips for brides. Today I am starting with something that can easily be overlooked during the wedding planning process: how to prepare well for marriage. A wedding is a beautiful, momentous celebration – but it’s just the beginning Your wedding day marks the start of married life together! And while there is so much preparation that goes into your wedding day, it is important to prepare even more for marriage.
Your season of engagement is the perfect time to build a strong foundation for your future together. In this post, I’m explaining how to prepare well for marriage to have a strong start to married life. Preparing well for marriage can help to strengthen your communication and clarify your expectations as a couple. Today I am sharing some of the things that Dillon and I did to set ourselves and our marriage up for success in the months leading up to our wedding. While this list is certainly not exhaustive, it’s a great place to start and covers what I consider to be the most important bases.
Seek Wise Counsel
Choose a few couples who are ahead of you in life or in marriage, such as parents/grandparents, older couples in your church or community, married siblings, or friends. Think of couples in your life who have marriages that you admire. Once you have a few names in mind, approach them and genuinely share what you admire about their marriage. Then, ask if they’d be willing to share some wisdom from their experience. This can be as casual as talking in the moment, or as formal as inviting them out to share a double date with you. It is incredible how much wisdom can be found in the lives and stories of others if we simply take time to ask!
Get On the Same Page Financially
According to a recent study from Ramsey Solutions, money is the top cause of arguments between couples. Further, almost two-thirds of couples enter their marriage with debt. I highly recommend Financial Peace University (FPU), a nine-lesson course that teaches financial stewardship. One of the best things Dillon and I did to set our marriage up for success was taking FPU together during the first few months of our marriage. It got us on the same page and equipped us with tools and techniques to steward our money well.
Start Praying Together
Prayer draws couples closer together and deepens their connection. Dillon and I started praying together daily right before we got engaged and have continued to do so ever since. Most often we take turns, with each of us praying aloud a couple of nights a week. On the other days, we’ll pray silently for each other while sitting together, taking a few minutes to lift up prayers for the other. We firmly believe that our faith is the strongest foundation for our marriage, and this reaffirms that for us day after day. It serves as a helpful reminder that we’re not facing life’s challenges alone, too!
Make Time for Date Night
During engagement, it can be so easy to fall into the habit of talking about your wedding every time you are with your fiancé. There are so many moving pieces, details to coordinate, and excited anticipation. I highly recommend setting aside time every couple of weeks to go out on a date and not talk about the wedding. Instead, talk about your future and dream about married life together. When your wedding day is over, you’ll be so glad that you did!
Read Books to Prepare Well
Books on marital wisdom can help you to get on the same page about what’s important and to prepare your heart and mind for the season ahead. I’ve gathered my recommendations HERE for easy access! Disclaimer: I haven’t read all of the titles on that list but each one comes highly recommended! We read several of them and found them to be very helpful. Choose a few to start with and either borrow them from the library or buy a copy for your family library that you can someday pass along to bless someone else. They also make great gifts for engaged couples, too!
While this post presents a lot of different information and ideas, simply choose one to start with. Perhaps you can choose a book to read, schedule a date night to dream about your future together, or discuss who you might reach out to to serve as a mentor for you. If there’s one thing I can assure you, it’s that you won’t regret taking time to build a strong foundation for a joyful marriage!