I must admit, as a wedding planner and designer, I spend a great portion of my work day thinking about timelines, budgets, color schemes, table layouts, and more. And even though I have a deep, deep passion for design and all things creative, this is not the true purpose of a wedding. A wedding is a celebration that symbolizes the joining together of two people and two lives into one. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (Genesis 2: 24 NKJV). It would seem that God had marriage on his mind at the very beginning of creation, even before the fall. Therefore, marriage should not be entered into lightly and should be held with the utmost esteem, honor, and respect. I am noticing a shift: more and more engaged couples are embracing a wedding planning process with a greater emphasis on marriage; and this is one trend I will absolutely support. In light of that, there are some steps that can be taken during wedding planning, that will help you prepare for the marriage as well. Read below for some tips on prepping for the marriage as you plan for the wedding.
Seek Premarital Counseling
Sure, this may seem like an outdated or obvious suggestion, and even though many people are foregoing premarital counseling these days, I still highly recommend it. Meeting with an unbiased, third party prior to the wedding can help to reveal areas of strength or weakness in your relationship. Learning about your areas of weakness, specifically, and ways to cope and grow from those weaknesses can potentially save you heartache later on. A premarital counselor, pastor, or spiritual leader can give you advice and tips on how to play off of your strengths to overcome your weaknesses. For example, communication is key to successful marriages. A premarital counselor may notice gaps in your communications styles and be able to provide techniques that can help you to bridge those gaps when things begin to escalate. These meetings can also prepare you and your spouse-to-be on how to deal with the hardships that many people face in life and how those hardships can impact your marriage. And even if you have been dating for years, marriage is a completely different ballgame. It is a commitment to each other for the long haul, and your relationship will constantly evolve through the ebbs and flows of life. Finally, a spiritual adviser will be continually pointing you back to what a Biblical marriage looks like.
Along the same vein of premarital counseling is having open, frank, and honest conversations about money prior to getting married. Money is often cited as the #1 reason for divorce. I am unsure of the validity of this statement, but I do know this: money is stressful for everyone. I don't care if you have a million dollars or one dollar, money stresses people out. And marriage often makes this harder. In marriage debt is no longer separate, and if we learned anything from the financial crisis, it's that your security cannot be in your job. Talk about money before getting married. Talk about the debt you each have and how you plan to pay that debt off. Talk about savings, retirement, budgeting, etc. Having these conversations beforehand can prevent any "surprises" that may appear down the road. God cares about our money. He cares about how we spend it, how we steward it, the stress it creates, and the way we can use it to bless others. The fact is that, unfortunately, money is necessary for our survival and therefore an issue that should be handled with preparation, wisdom, and prudence.
Experience: The Best Teacher
Seek marriage advice from people that are godly and trustworthy. Talk to couples who have been in successful marriages, and talk to people who have been in failed or unsuccessful ones. There is much to be gained by listening to someone with wisdom and experience. Ask questions. Find out what worked and what didn't. You have the benefit of learning from the mistakes of those who've gone before you. Find a couple at your church or in your community that's been married for a while to walk alongside you as your accountability partner. The trick here is to be selective in who you listen to. You only want to seek advice from someone that will point you back to God, hold you accountable, and push you toward love. Most of us have been given bad advice at one point or another from folks that were well meaning and good intentioned but unwise. Also, you want to be very selective in who you share your marriage struggles with. This was some advice my aunt gave me before Don and I were married, and it has proven to be solid, sound advice. Be protective or your relationship and of your spouse. If you run your spouse through the dirt too much, there's no amount water that's gonna make them look clean to your family and friends.
So there you have it. Hopefully these tips will help you to think through some ways to prepare for your marriage as you get ready for your fun and joy filled wedding celebration. The old adage rings so true, "The wedding is one day; marriage is forever." Fight for your marriage. Forgive. Love each other selflessly.
Thanks for stopping by.