Preparing for your marriage is vital for success. During engagement, you and your betrothed are laying the foundation for the rest of your marriage. If you get off on the wrong foot, of course, God is still able to help you and heal you. But while you have the tools now, why wait until things get worse to make them better? If you don’t want the house of your marriage to crumble, make sure you have a strong foundation, one that is built on Christ and His teachings.
Here are the ways that we prepared for marriage, and specifically, how they have helped us thus far:
Deciding you are a team. Lenny and I are a team, as we have been since we made our relationship official. Knowing we were a team made it easier to make decisions, and to show respect to one another. Your finances are connected, your boundaries are connected, and you are connected. Marriage connects you to your spouse on a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual level. Get accustomed to practice being a team, even as an engaged couple.
Pre-marital counseling. I struggled with pride big time in the beginning of my relationship with Lenny, so getting a diagnostic test of how well they thought we would do as a couple was both intimidating and eye-opening. It is a counselor’s job to be neutral, but reflective. If you get your pre-marital counseling from a pastor, you will get counsel from a person who loves you and cares about you, but will know how to keep it biblical rather than personal. We also had our pre-marital counseling at an office about forty minutes from where we lived, so we had the opportunity to catch up before our session, and then process on the way home. Most churches require you to have pre-marital counseling in order for you to get married there, but even if you aren’t required, I encourage you to find a local Christian counselor who can start you and your betrothed off on the right foot.
Other married couples. From the moment we got engaged, we were blessed with so much encouragement from more mature couples. A week after our engagement, one of our small group leaders saw me from across the atrium at church and invited us to their group specifically for newlywed and engaged couples. Since that invitation, we have connected with our small group, as well as other young married couples in the church who are just a little bit more mature in their marriage than us. It has been great simply to have people who understand what we’ve gone through, especially in a world that says that marriage is when your life ends. You would not believe how many people told us that we’d have a couple of good years, and then it would get very difficult and we wouldn’t be as close as we are now. Two years later, I’m not saying that marriage is perfect, but it has not been as bad as people had warned. I’m thankful for the people who have spoken life into our marriage rather than declaring our marriage a curse from the beginning. For those who are married, speak life into these newlywed and engaged couples, instead of setting them up for failure. For those who are engaged, find couples who will speak life into you and your betrothed.
Marriage devotionals. Lenny and I both like to read. In our small group, we’ve done several marriage Bible studies, that have each spoken to us in different ways and have helped us in each season so far. We also do marriage Bible plans on the YouVersion app and pray together as a couple. But we started that when we were engaged, seeking God’s will and blessing for our future marriage. You can search for marriage plans on the YouVersion app, or you can study a topic together from the Bible to increase your faith and grow in God together.
The heart behind Marriage Monday is to show you how to have hope and love in your marriage through the power of God. Lenny and I thank God that we have seen God’s power and blessing in our marriage, because we have chosen to honor Him from the very beginning. We challenge you to make the same decision. Put God first in your marriage, and everything else will fall into place. It may not be perfect, but it will be much easier and more fun with God on your side. I pray that the posts that follow and that I have written about marriage will encourage you in this next step toward your marriage. In this next season, have fun preparing for marriage!