What’s the difference between a loving, warm marriage and one full of friction and conflict? Trust. There are probably many items on your checklist for having a strong marriage. If there’s one that ought to be at the top of the list, it’s trust. 

How do you establish trust in marriage from the start?

1. Trust is built over time.

Trust is built through moments that confirm for your spouse that you are who they think you are. How you respond when someone speaks negatively about your relationship or how you care for each other during a difficult time will either confirm or cause questions about who you are. Don’t be disappointed when you find areas where trust needs to grow, especially early in your marriage. Opportunities will come that will strengthen your trust or give the two of you something to work through.

2. History matters.

Do you trust in your marriage easily? Is it difficult for you to trust? Have things happened in your past that make trusting someone hard? How have your past experiences affected your ability to trust? You want your spouse to have a fair opportunity to be trusted and not be the victim of your past experiences with other people. However, it’s important to be aware that your past is not to be forgotten but to be used as a learning experience. Talking through your ability to trust helps you develop clear expectations. Your past shouldn’t control your ability to trust. Rather, it provides understanding to help build trust.

3. Believe your spouse’s actions.

There’s a saying, “When a person shows you who they are, believe them.” When dating, it’s easy to create a mental image of what you think your spouse will be like once you’re married. This can cause you to ignore the behaviors that give a more accurate picture of each other. Many people have trusted others in spite of all the evidence showing that they are not trustworthy. And other times, you may have withheld trust from people despite the person being extraordinarily trustworthy. 

4. Be open and honest about everything.

This includes the big stuff: family, money, in-laws, parenting, the future, and sex. Avoid the temptation to keep secrets and withhold information. Setting aside time to talk honestly about finances or your expectations of the in-laws, for example, is important. 

As quick as transparency can build trust in marriage, secrecy can betray it.

5. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Be willing to hold each other accountable for your words and actions. You can’t build trust by telling your partner what they want to hear. If you say you’ll be home from work at six, then follow through. Trust is built when your spouse has confidence that the words you say are true.

Related: How To Tell If Someone Is Trustworthy

6. Admit mistakes.

Don’t let pride get in the way. Trust will not stand if built on the premise of perfection. It’s built on the promise that the two of you have the relationship’s best interest at heart. Admitting your mistakes sends the message that the relationship is more important than you being right

7. Consider the effects decisions will have on your marriage.

Nearly everything you do will affect both you and your spouse. (There is no I in Us.) Talking through decisions together helps you understand the potential effects. Before making personal commitments, get in the habit of talking to your spouse.

★ Ask the question, “How will this affect you and affect us?” 

Establishing a solid foundation of trust in marriage can provide the groundwork to building trust that’s as strong as a 100-year-old oak tree with deep roots. Some foundations aren’t solid. It’s good to know early that a person can’t be trusted. It’s not wise to trust someone to be honest if they continue to build a record of dishonesty. Trust will grow if you’re consistent in your words and actions.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Weddings are time consuming, expensive, and stressful.

We totally get it. There’s hardly any time to breathe, let alone enjoy this season with your soon-to-be spouse! But that’s why we created Preparing for Marriage Online. This online class will guide you both through the answers to these questions and MORE! And the best part is, you can watch each video in the comfort of your own home and on your OWN TIME – and right now, it’s all for FREE!

During this class, you’ll cover topics like…

  • Clear & effective communication skills,
  • How to handle the in-laws,
  • Conflict management,
  • The importance of dating your spouse,
  • Planning, budgeting, and finances,
  • What to expect your first year,
  • And more!

You’re getting ready to marry the love of your life, and you’ve been reading card after card wishing you a marriage full of love and adventure. With that comes the hope of fulfillment in each other and the desire to have fun, because who wants a boring marriage?! No one…

Here are 3 easy things you can put into place NOW to keep the fun in your marriage relationship forever:

1. Add elements of surprise when you’re married!

  • Text your spouse something spicy during the workday. Make it out of the blue and with no business attached, (aka no talk about what’s for dinner or what needs to get done) just some good flirtatious banter.
  • Surprise your spouse by wearing their favorite outfit and suggest an impromptu date night.
  • Send them something at work—could be something as small as a coffee or and grandiose as an edible arrangement.
  • Pick something up for them while you’re out running errands, just because.

2. Play together!

  • Play is essential to having fun in marriage. There are not only relationship benefits to playing together, but health benefits, too! The National Institute for Play (NIP) believes (and has research to back it up) that play can dramatically transform our personal health and our relationships. It can be board games, video games, a puzzle, Minute To Win It challenges, Dominos, cards, or whatever your favorite way to spark some healthy competition is.

Play generates optimism, novelty, makes perseverance fun, and leads to growth. Bonus feature: it gives the immune system a bounce, fosters empathy, and promotes a sense of belonging and community. 

3. Don’t shy away from romance!

  • Light the candles, turn on some music, and enjoy cultivating intimacy. You have lots to look forward to as you step into married life together. Take the time to be curious about your spouse, compliment them, cuddle up close, and tune in to each other. Alone time can be so beneficial and continually draw you closer to each other. 

BONUS: Free date nights for a more fun marriage!

  • Surely you’ve heard it before, so you’ll hear it again: Date your spouse. The romance doesn’t need to go down as the anniversaries go up. Try new places, carve out quality time, cultivate intimacy, and enjoy being one on one. There are tons of date night ideas, free virtual date nights, and date night DIYs right here on our site—free to you!

It’s easy to have fun in your marriage when you embrace that to have fun means to create fun! Enjoy laughing together, kissing one another, and everything in between. ; )

Some more blogs you may be interested in:

Weddings are time consuming, expensive, and stressful.

We totally get it. There’s hardly any time to breathe, let alone enjoy this season with your soon-to-be spouse! But that’s why we created Preparing for Marriage Online. This online class will guide you both through the answers to these questions and MORE! And the best part is, you can watch each video in the comfort of your own home and on your OWN TIME – and right now, it’s all for FREE!

During this class, you’ll cover topics like…

  • Clear & effective communication skills,
  • How to handle the in-laws,
  • Conflict management,
  • The importance of dating your spouse,
  • Planning, budgeting, and finances,
  • What to expect your first year,
  • And more!

You want to have good relationships. You want a healthy marriage AND you want to be a great parent, a wonderful friend, fiancé, or co-worker. 

But relationships are sometimes complex. They aren’t always easy. Issues arise. And if you’re like me, you could just use some help sometimes.

The internet gives us ENDLESS information on relationships. Just Google how to resolve conflict in marriage or how to parent a rebellious teenager. Then watch TONS of articles, blogs, videos, how-tos, and step-by-steps fill your screen.

It’s overwhelming. 

And here’s the thing: can they all possibly be right? I mean, with literally thousands of resources out there on any given relationship subject, there’s got to be some conflicting information and something that’s not accurate. (As a matter of fact, there is.) 

★ So when you and I are trying to get help in the area of healthy relationships, how do we know what kind of information to trust? How do you wade through the countless sources of information on your screen and determine which advice is legit?

I’ve been on both ends of this spectrum, searching for accurate relationship advice as well as writing relationship content as accurately as possible. And I can tell you there is a lot of good information out there, as well as a lot of bad. 

Here are some pointers I’ve found helpful on how to identify reliable relationship advice. 

Understand that relationships are something that’s actually researched

Seriously, there’s a whole science behind it. There are a lot of experts and researchers out there looking at questions like what makes a marriage great, what kids need from their parents, what are the best ways to resolve disagreements, what role does intimacy play in relationships, etc. And, they’re observing and testing answers using psychological research techniques. 

This is good to know because it tells us that there is, indeed, reliable information out there to tap into for our relationship questions and struggles. Good sources of information are typically (but not always) written by researchers who have either done the science themselves or by professionals who have used the science to counsel others. That’s usually what I want to look for when it comes to good relationship advice. 

On the flip side of the coin… know that just because the word “research” shows up doesn’t always mean it’s great advice. 

I’ve read countless articles using the words research says… or studies prove… or a survey of 500 people tells us… If you search for any kind of advice about relationships, you’ll find this, too. And it sounds very convincing. 

But for many reasons, it doesn’t always mean you can trust the advice. For one thing, it’s easy for writers to twist the words of a piece of research out of context to fit their own point of view. Not to mention, a lot of research just plain isn’t done well. You don’t have to be any kind of research expert to take what you read or watch with a grain of salt or even sense there could be some missing information. 

I’m not saying count these kinds of articles out. Give them a chance. Just approach them with a more critical eye. And here’s something I’ve found: if you come across an article that says some sort of research proves something, approach with caution. Researchers don’t try to prove anything. The goal of the research is to provide evidence of one thing or another and spark people to study the question even more. Claiming proof for something could be a big red flag that the writer could be twisting some facts.

All this goes to say, of course, to consider the source.

With any article or video, take a quick look at the author’s bio. Google them. Do they have a background in relationship research, education, or counseling? Are they associated with a university or an organization specializing in relationships like marriage or parenting? Do they have a product to promote? Does their writing seem to have an agenda? Does it sound like they have a chip on their shoulder (like they’re ready to pick a fight)? Or, are they simply trying to report the best information out there as objectively as possible? These are all important questions to consider. 

Do a quick search on “reviews” or “criticism” of the author or the organization they represent. See what other people are saying about them. 

I particularly like authors who are transparent about their own relationships and balance it with trustworthy fact-giving. Rather than making bold claims saying what they are doing in their own relationships is the way to go, thank you very much, they tend to admit where they’ve messed up before and humbly say let’s look at evidence of what’s healthy.

Prepare to do a little digging.

I’m confident telling you it’d be a mistake to only consider the first few pieces of relationship advice at the top of your search list. Sometimes these are reliable resources, but not always. The first sites popping up on a search list many times are determined by popularity factors or advertising dollars. This means you could very well be getting relationship advice based on opinions instead of qualified research, and on the fads families of “the rich and the famous” are doing. (This is just my two cents: it’s difficult for me to swallow trying to relate to Hollywood trends in marriage and parenting. I’m not dissing actors or performers; it’s just a totally different world from the norm, and it rarely reflects what we know to be healthy in relationships.) 

Dig down below the first few search results and see what else lies beneath. This is often where you’ll find the real gold of reliable relationship advice. 

Be cautious with sources that seem to run against the grain of what we already know to be healthy in relationships.

I get a little twitchy when I see titles like The Way We’ve Been Doing Marriage for Decades Is All Wrong! I don’t ignore those sources completely (Who knows?—they might have some good info after all…), but I do tend to read or watch it with a lot more discernment and savvy. Apply what’s been said above to these kinds of articles and determine for yourself if the information given is truly on the level. 

Understand how easy it is to find information that supports your current view and quickly rest your case.

These days you can just about find anything that will claim to back up even the wildest of ideas on how to do healthy relationships. (“Survey Proves a Steady Diet of Tacos Will Improve Your Marriage” — I knew it!

So if you’re simply trying to find something to support the opinion you already have, then guess what? You’re going to find it.

When approaching a piece of relationship advice that may run counter to your viewpoint, I find it helpful to give the information a chance. I’ll often think to myself, “Could there be the possibility that this differing opinion (other than mine) might have some truth to it?” And then, based on all the things I’ve talked about above plus a dose of common sense, I determine if the advice is worth taking. 

If you truly want to learn what healthy marriages, parenting, friendships, dating, and work relationships look like, good information is out there for you to get your hands on. But it’s like swimming in the middle of the ocean. There is a virtual sea of information to swim through. Much of the advice is like currents which will guide you safely to the shore of healthy relationships. But there are some riptides of bad information that can drag you further out to sea. 

One more thought to leave you with: finding relationship experts online can be extremely helpful.

But let’s not look past the fact that you probably have actual people around you in healthy (but not perfect) relationships who you can lean on. A get-together over coffee where you can ask this person (or couple) questions about how they do things in their relationships can provide some very practical wisdom. 

Put the above ideas into practice, lean on the healthy people you know, and I guarantee you’ll learn more about what makes relationships healthy than you ever thought you could have. 


***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Weddings are time consuming, expensive, and stressful.

We totally get it. There’s hardly any time to breathe, let alone enjoy this season with your soon-to-be spouse! But that’s why we created Preparing for Marriage Online. This online class will guide you both through the answers to these questions and MORE! And the best part is, you can watch each video in the comfort of your own home and on your OWN TIME – and right now, it’s all for FREE!

During this class, you’ll cover topics like…

  • Clear & effective communication skills,
  • How to handle the in-laws,
  • Conflict management,
  • The importance of dating your spouse,
  • Planning, budgeting, and finances,
  • What to expect your first year,
  • And more!

When you marry the love of your life, they bring so many different things to the table for the two of you to share. Their personality, adoration for you, commitment, maybe some furniture or experience with things you don’t know how to do. And don’t get me wrong—this sounds lovely (and it is…) until one of the things they bring to the table are in-laws. If you’re honest, it’s possible you aren’t crazy about your future in-laws, to put it politely. In fact, you’ve decided what you want to bring to the table in your relationship is an extra table 😡 … one that doesn’t always have seats for the future in-laws… but that’s not really the solution. (And don’t assume that your fiancé doesn’t have any issues with YOUR parents.)

It’s okay to not be fond of your fiancé’s parents, but you also have to be okay with them being a part of your lives in some capacity. You can’t marry your fiancé without also understanding you are essentially marrying into their family. So let’s put together a game plan so when the visits begin, you won’t be nervous to pull up a chair to the table!

What to Do When You Aren’t Crazy About Your Future In-Laws:

1. Talk about your concern with your fiancé.

If it hasn’t come up already, be honest with your fiancé about your concerns and why you feel they’re important. Also, consider the possibility of your fiancé not being crazy about your parents either! Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are they interfering with your relationship?
  • Do they say things that hurt your feelings or rub you the wrong way? 
  • Is it that you don’t like them or don’t get along with them?
  • Do they point out every little thing you do differently or “wrong?”

The least you can do is invite an honest conversation to try and clear up any potential misunderstandings. If you’ve never really gotten along with your fiancé’s parents, ask your fiancé to talk to them on your behalf. Try to get to the bottom of what they’re feeling or what could be misinterpreted. Perception is reality until you get a different perspective. This would be a great place to start before any serious decisions of how to allocate your time are made. 

✦ The two of you will form your own family once you’re married and you have to make decisions based on what’s best for your family (the two of you) before anyone else. When you’ve decided what to do for the holidays, for drop-ins, like calling before, use “we” statements and each of you should tell your own set of parents. In doing so, you protect your future spouse from getting thrown under the bus or having your parents put blame on your new spouse!

2. Set Boundaries Early-On.

If you know your in-laws have a knack for being overbearing, giving unsolicited advice, criticizing things you two enjoy, and even guilt trips you by saying things like, “If you lived closer we could have dinner more,” or “It’s a shame you don’t have enough time for us.” Prepare yourselves and have a plan in place. This is why the first step is to talk about your concerns with your fiancé, to get it all out there so making a plan will be easier! 

You don’t have to live in the Anticipation Zone; you have an opportunity to decide with your future spouse what the relationship with your future in-laws will look like and entail. The two of you need to talk about what the relationship expectations are for them, what you want the relationship to look like, and then work toward meeting a compromise. For example, calling before you/they stop by. Or, it could go from seeing them weekly to calling weekly and having a meal together once a month. You could trade off holidays, family vacations, or maybe decide to just see them a few times a year and send cards. 

However you decide to make it work, decide that’s how it’ll be for now, but leave room for the relationship to change. It’s possible in the future you’ll want (or be okay with) more or less time together. The last thing you want is extra stress, drama, or tension in your marriage because of your in-laws. The two of you need to come together and figure out the best way to have the least drama and tension.

Here are some great topics to get the conversation going:

  • How much time will you spend with them?
  • Topics that are off limits for discussion.
  • How you allow (or won’t allow) their behavior to impact you.
  • How do you honestly feel about my parents?

3. Location, location, location.

If you both know your future in-laws are the type to drop by, overstay their welcome, or cross boundaries like finish lines, then it may be a sign to move somewhere that makes it less of a possibility. Travel time is a great buffer. Normally, if you live further away, you have to make a plan before you see each other. This is great news because it gives you the space to prepare mentally and physically for a visit. Plus, it’s much easier to suggest coming for just a weekend every so often than feeling the pressure if you live nearby to have weekly meals. (This could be difficult because of work or school situations, but it is something to keep in mind. Downside: Less free babysitting for date nights.)

At the end of the day, you and your soon-to-be spouse will come to a compromise, and compromises sometimes include sacrifices. On the big day, you’re committing your life to them, for better or for worse, and promising to make it work. And making it work takes work! But it’s worth it when the love of your life encourages you, pushes you toward your best self, helps you realize your dreams, and has committed the same things as you. You’re about to be your own family!! Good luck, and I hope you both find the balance that works best for your relationship.

Other Blogs You May Find Helpful:

Weddings are time consuming, expensive, and stressful.

We totally get it. There’s hardly any time to breathe, let alone enjoy this season with your soon-to-be spouse! But that’s why we created Preparing for Marriage Online. This online class will guide you both through the answers to these questions and MORE! And the best part is, you can watch each video in the comfort of your own home and on your OWN TIME – and right now, it’s all for FREE!

During this class, you’ll cover topics like…

  • Clear & effective communication skills,
  • How to handle the in-laws,
  • Conflict management,
  • The importance of dating your spouse,
  • Planning, budgeting, and finances,
  • What to expect your first year,
  • And more!

Engagement season is upon you—congrats, by the way!! With the pretty ring comes some planning, excitement, questions, and ultimately preparing for marriage! With that being said, here are 5 tips to help newly engaged couples thrive during the engagement season:

1. Have the big conversations before you’re deep into planning.

If you haven’t already, make sure you and your fiancé are on the same page about big ticket items by having intentional conversations. Things like whether or not you want kids, job/career expectations, finances, how you handle conflict, spirituality/religion you want to carry forward, etc. 

Here’s a great blog to walk you through why each of those is important! You’re making a wonderful lifelong commitment.  Reminding each other you’re on the same page (or finding out that you’re not) with these things can help you decide what’s best for you both in the long run. Also, consider some sort of marriage preparation to enrich your relationship! We have a free online preparing for marriage course you should really check out! (And, if you live in WV, TN, GA or FL, it will qualify you for a hefty discount on your marriage license. Cha-ching!)

2. Decide how long you want your engagement to be.

Before you worry about picking a date, consider what’s best for your relationship. Long or short engagement? Is there a particular season you want to get married? What’s going on in your life currently that could affect when you can get married? If you’re not sure how long you should be engaged, you can read research-based reasons for both a long and short engagement here.

3. Discuss your budget for the wedding.

This will affect how many people you’ll invite to your wedding, the location, and may even help you decide on a date. If you’re paying for the wedding yourselves, the length of your engagement may reflect the time it’ll take to save. Remember, this day marks the beginning of a lifetime together. You want to start out on the right foot. Because finances can be one of the main sources for conflict in marriage, consider planning a beautiful day that doesn’t leave you or your loved ones in debt. This may sound crazy, but U.S. weddings cost an average of $33,900 in 2019, including all the expenses related to the engagement ring, ceremony, and reception, according to the latest Real Weddings study from The Knot. So, remember, the cost of your wedding doesn’t reflect how successful your marriage will be.

4. Make time for quality time.

As I’m sure you’ve been told and can imagine, planning your wedding can become time-consuming, a conversation hog, and, to top it off—overwhelming. If you feel stressed, irritable, or unusually short-tempered with your fiancé, it’s probably time to do something other than talk about the future and hash out the details. Your wedding day is a celebration of your relationship! It’s sooooo important not to put your relationship on the back burner. So, make spending quality time together a priority. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but doing things to help you take your mind off of wedding planning will be helpful for sure. Check out this link for some great ideas! 

5. Don’t assume—ask!

You and your fiancé are in this thing together. Just because you know them best doesn’t mean you know everything they want or you can accurately anticipate all of their opinions. I’ll be the bearer of bad news: getting married won’t make you mind readers either. Everyone likes to feel heard and likes what they have to say to be valued. It’s possible you two have very similar ideas when it comes to your dream day, but just to be safe, talk about it. Each of you write down your dreams for what you want your wedding to be like, then compare notes and find places to compromise. You’ll find out not long after you’re married how important it is to invite the middle ground into your relationship.

This is an exciting season for you and your relationship! Don’t let the details get the best of you; instead give your best to each other and take it one step at a time. This is just the beginning of a beautiful life together. Cheers, for the best is yet to come!

Weddings are time consuming, expensive, and stressful.

We totally get it. There’s hardly any time to breathe, let alone enjoy this season with your soon-to-be spouse! But that’s why we created Preparing for Marriage Online. This online class will guide you both through the answers to these questions and MORE! And the best part is, you can watch each video in the comfort of your own home and on your OWN TIME – and right now, it’s all for FREE!

During this class, you’ll cover topics like…

  • Clear & effective communication skills,
  • How to handle the in-laws,
  • Conflict management,
  • The importance of dating your spouse,
  • Planning, budgeting, and finances,
  • What to expect your first year,
  • And more!

If you want your best self to show up on your best day ever, practicing self-care while planning your wedding should be at the top of your to-do list. Planning a day that is ultimately about 8 hours but signifies a lifelong commitment can be stressful, I’ll be the first to admit it, having planned my own wedding. Stress can take a toll on a person and affect your relationship with your soon-to-be spouse, so to get your marriage off on the right foot, let’s get you taken care of!

4 Ways to Practice Self-Care While Planning a Wedding:

1. Set aside a day when you don’t wedding plan.

It’s important that the engagement season doesn’t drain all of your attention. You and your fiancé need to spend quality time with each other. You’re getting married because you’ve fallen in love and see a life together. The energy you felt while dating can continue into engagement season and throughout your marriage if you prioritize your relationship first—I mean it is what your wedding day is celebrating after all! Here’s a great blog with simple ideas to spend quality time together during the wedding season.

2. Delegate tasks.

I know this is a hard one—especially because you know the vision in your head and making the list of everything that needs to get done sounds just as scary as doing them. BUT if you make a list, I can almost guarantee you’ll find there are little things some of your wedding party or family can help with. Delegating some of the more mundane time-suckers would allow you to pencil in some self-care. Things like: collecting addresses, addressing envelopes, designing the wedding program, calling floral shops for pricing, etc. 

3. Cut yourself some slack and take it one day at a time.

Try not to be so hard on yourself or your fiancé. With the stress of planning a perfect day, a bump in the road can sneak its way into looking like a mountain. There will be things that don’t go as planned, have to be re-thought or rearranged, and that’s just a part of the process! Don’t take on the stress of planning the wedding as a whole—only take on the next task.

Making a list not only helps you delegate but it can help you navigate what needs to be done. Give yourself a timeline with your to-do list and only look at what’s next on the list after you check something off. Wedding planning can be overwhelming, but when you give yourself the chance to take it one task at a time rather than planning the whole thing at once, you’ll feel better. (Let’s be honest, checking things off a list feels good—so make it lots of little checks!)

4. Focus on your overall health.

A great self-care practice is being mindful of your body. Check-in with yourself:

  • Am I getting enough sleep?
  • How’s my mental health?
  • Am I expressing my feelings?
  • Am I…
    • Nourishing my body?
    • Drinking enough water?
    • Being present when I’m with my fiancé?
    • Being active or exercising in some way?

It can be tempting to go on an extreme diet or compromise sleep in the name of getting everything done, but it’s not worth it. When you get married, you’re stepping into a different lifestyle and both of you will bring different elements. If you want a healthy lifestyle, it’ll be much easier to bring something to the table you’re already in a habit of and enjoy rather than being so excited for the wedding to be over so you can stop whatever draining regimen you’re doing beforehand. Be mindful and take care of you. You want to show up feeling better than ever on your big day, so be kind to yourself and make it happen.

Before you buy into “there’s not enough time in the day” or that you have to lose sleep while wedding planning, buy into yourself. If you prioritize yourself—you know half of the reason why this day is even happening, then you’ll get to really enjoy the process during this crazy and exciting season!

Other blogs that may be helpful for you!

Weddings are time consuming, expensive, and stressful.

We totally get it. There’s hardly any time to breathe, let alone enjoy this season with your soon-to-be spouse! But that’s why we created Preparing for Marriage Online. This online class will guide you both through the answers to these questions and MORE! And the best part is, you can watch each video in the comfort of your own home and on your OWN TIME – and right now, it’s all for FREE!

During this class, you’ll cover topics like…

  • Clear & effective communication skills,
  • How to handle the in-laws,
  • Conflict management,
  • The importance of dating your spouse,
  • Planning, budgeting, and finances,
  • What to expect your first year,
  • And more!

It’s that time of year! The leaves are changing colors and falling. There’s a cool breeze in the air. Pumpkin spice is the flavor of the season. We’ve moved past the laid-back summer and now it’s FALL, the season of football, fun… and romance.

Here are several romantic fall fun date ideas that bring out the best in the season and in your relationship!

(Be aware that there may be limited availability due to social distancing constraints. Have fun, but be safe!)

  1. Go to a pumpkin patch. Select a pumpkin. Take it home and carve it.
  2. Bake seasonal goodies (pies, cakes, cookies) together.
  3. Go antique shopping.
  4. Take a carriage ride.
  5. Go to a drive-in movie.
  6. Listen to your favorite old songs and dance around your home.
  7. Take a scenic walk.
  8. Go camping.
  9. Go apple picking in an orchard.
  10. Take a scenic train ride.
  11. Take a scenic drive to see fall foliage.
  12. Go to a Fall Festival.
  13. Go for a hike.
  14. Watch a scary movie.
  15. Go for a bike ride.
  16. Host a game night with friends and family.
  17. Take a day trip.
  18. Have a picnic either in a park or your backyard.
  19. Go for a wine or cider tasting.
  20. Go horseback riding.
  21. Stargaze and see who can find the most constellations.
  22. Rake the leaves, like adults. Jump in the leaves, like kids.
  23. Sit in front of a fire and read a book out loud together. 
  24. Go to a high school football game.
  25. Movie marathon/binge watch your favorite TV series.
  26. Go on a local history tour.
  27. Take a painting class.
  28. Have a bonfire in your backyard and make S’mores.
  29. Go on a fall getaway weekend.
  30. Take part in a First Things First Virtual Date Night!

Conversation Starters:

Check out this list of 200 questions for couples to get the conversation started.

1. What makes you the happiest?

2. What’s worse? The barista getting your order wrong? Or finding a motorcycle in a parking spot you thought was empty?

3. What food best describes your personality?

4. What are your five most important personal values?

5. What kind of physical touch best says “I love you” to you?

6. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

7. Who is the person, currently alive, that you most want to meet right now?

8. What is your favorite type of romantic gesture?

9. What crazy thing do you want to try someday?

10. What’s one thing I can do to improve our relationship?

Now is the perfect time to get adventurous by exploring your community and creating quality time with each other. Play and fun builds intimacy in your relationship. 

Now, go have some romantic FALL FUN as you try out these date ideas!

Weddings are time consuming, expensive, and stressful.

We totally get it. There’s hardly any time to breathe, let alone enjoy this season with your soon-to-be spouse! But that’s why we created Preparing for Marriage Online. This online class will guide you both through the answers to these questions and MORE! And the best part is, you can watch each video in the comfort of your own home and on your OWN TIME – and right now, it’s all for FREE!

During this class, you’ll cover topics like…

  • Clear & effective communication skills,
  • How to handle the in-laws,
  • Conflict management,
  • The importance of dating your spouse,
  • Planning, budgeting, and finances,
  • What to expect your first year,
  • And more!

You’re in love, you’re engaged, and you don’t want the butterflies you’ve had all this time to fly away. I mean who would? But sometimes, in the midst of wedding planning and preparing for marriage, you can forget to do the very thing that brought you to this relationship milestone: Date! And that’s what this blog is all about: dates every engaged couple needs to do before the big day!

You’ve probably heard it before and you will likely hear it again when you get married: date your spouse. The romance and wonder for each other doesn’t magically sustain itself; it needs fuel and your attention.

Dating can be extremely beneficial toward keeping romance alive, and making a practice of going on regular dates can be a great way to jump-start that habit,” says Denise Limongello, a licensed psychotherapist based in Manhattan. In an article by The Knot, Limongello points out that lack of romance is a common reason for breakups or divorce.

If you want to make a habit of something, you have to go out of your way and make time for it. A habit you’ll want in your marriage is dating each other, so while you’re preparing for marriage let’s jump-start this habit!

Dates Every Engaged Couple Must Do Before the Big Day:

1. Try a restaurant you’ve never been to before.

It’s easy to get comfortable with doing the same things over and over. It’s great to have your favorite spots, but oftentimes just switching up the location to a place you’ve never been will prompt fresh conversation. When you get married, it can become tempting to fall into a routine and not challenge it. Routines are wonderful, don’t get me wrong. However, it can be problematic when your routine becomes “going through the motions.” When you don’t even have to think about doing or saying something, life can feel monotonous. A simple way to practice getting uncomfortable, if you will, is trying something new!

2. Couple’s Massage.

There’s a lot of stress when it comes to wedding planning. Everything seems faster paced, small decisions have bigger implications, family and friends ask questions you don’t know the answers to and let’s face it—that can cause tension. Maybe the tension is physical, or maybe it’s between you and your fiancé. Whether you book a couple’s massage (Groupon always has a deal going!) or set-up a spa-like shop at one of your places and give each other a massage, taking the time to decompress and slow down together can do you some good. Release the tension, rest and relax. Trust me—you need it.

3. Quality time date.

Engagement season: when suddenly everyone needs your attention or wants to be best friends again. No wonder it’s easy to get distracted. All of the planning and excitement seems to creep in to every conversation and fill your phone with notifications. On top of that, anyone else guilty of sitting beside your significant other (for a time longer than you care to admit) on your phones without having so much as a full conversation?

To keep this from happening, this date has two rules:

1. Turn the phones off and turn your attention toward each other, and 2. Don’t talk about wedding details. 

What you do/how you spend this date is up to you. I suggest whatever it is, you give yourselves the opportunity for great conversation (so maybe not a movie night). You could picnic, make dinner together and set the table fancy, go on a hike or bike ride or to your favorite ice cream place. Whatever you decide, make your time together quality time.

4. Sing karaoke.

I know, I know. Not everyone’s cup of tea. BUT hear me out. You can do it in the comfort of your own home or if you’re feeling up to it, grace some strangers with your voice. The point of this date is to teach or remind you of some of the most important lessons that are essential to a happy marriage: Don’t take yourself too seriously, laugh at yourself and together …often. What better way to humble yourself than trying to reach a note Mariah Carrey invented?!

There is growing evidence to suggest that one of the secrets to a long and happy relationship is to laugh together often,” according to an article by Conscious Rethink. There’s going to be some truly difficult times in your marriage and circumstances that will be out of your control. In those serious moments, if you haven’t practiced taking yourself less seriously when nothing hard was happening, it could be much more difficult to switch gears and be positive under pressure. So pick your favorite song and get to singing!

5. Plan a date night surprise.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of someone who intimately knows you choosing a curated experience for you both. The time it takes to think about what you want to do shows your fiancé they are worth your time, energy and effort. Then the date itself is a gift. It’s a win-win! You could set up a little fort in your living room with tea lights, favorite snacks and a movie queued up. You could blindfold them and drive to a destination—could be a historic site with a picnic packed if they’re a history buff, or maybe a drive-in movie and the back of your car is already equipped for ultimate coziness with blankets and pillows. Or perhaps you move the furniture out of the way and have a dance tutorial pulled up and a glass of wine poured. 

You don’t need a birthday, anniversary, or holiday as a reason to surprise the love of your life. Loving them is reason enough. Taking this date into your marriage is a sure fire way to keep the romance aflame. 

Dating before “I do” is a great way to prepare yourself for the lifelong pursuit of each other. Keep it interesting, try new things, carve out time to be solely with each other—even if it’s not much! You’ll thank yourselves for it later.

If you need help figuring out a creative date night, we have tons of free virtual and DIY date night ideas here!

Additional Blogs You May Like: 

Weddings are time consuming, expensive, and stressful.

We totally get it. There’s hardly any time to breathe, let alone enjoy this season with your soon-to-be spouse! But that’s why we created Preparing for Marriage Online. This online class will guide you both through the answers to these questions and MORE! And the best part is, you can watch each video in the comfort of your own home and on your OWN TIME – and right now, it’s all for FREE!

During this class, you’ll cover topics like…

  • Clear & effective communication skills,
  • How to handle the in-laws,
  • Conflict management,
  • The importance of dating your spouse,
  • Planning, budgeting, and finances,
  • What to expect your first year,
  • And more!

Image from Pexels.com

Your wedding day is approaching. You’re looking forward to all the benefits of a fun, stable, vibrant marriage: deep intimacy, unbreakable connection, and unconditional friendship. Taking the time to prepare for your marriage can help you mix all the ingredients necessary for a strong relationship and satisfying marriage. Here’s howand why preparing for your marriage and make your relationship stronger!

Fewer surprises.

You’ve probably imagined what married life will be like. You think about what you’ll do for each other, the late-night talks, the early morning rendezvous. You have developed the “perfect” expectations of married life and of your soon-to-be spouse. But, there’s one problem—your future spouse wasn’t in on those conversations. They’ve only been formulating in your mind

Talking honestly about your expectations helps you enter the marriage with eyes wide open. You may get an even better sense of the person you’ve fallen in love with. Do you uncover every single expectation in the process of preparation? No. You learn how to recognize expectations and become more attuned to verbalize them… which leads us to the second benefit.

Communication becomes a strength.

In high school, if I gave you a good study guide several days before you had to take the actual test, you’d have a better chance of doing really well on that test. It’s those students with no study guide who would be at a disadvantage. Part of preparing for marriage is getting the study guide, the keys to communication in marriage, prior to getting married. Preparing for marriage means putting yourself at the head of the class when it comes to communication and feeling good about being heard, understood, and valued.

Plan for transforming conflict into intimacy.

It’s not uncommon in marriage for one spouse to want to avoid conflict at all costs, while the other spouse thinks of it more like a sport, which can lead to some super awkward moments. For the prepared couple, learning to dance together through conflict can be the springboard to unbridled and passionate intimacy.  There will be disagreements. How can this make your relationship stronger? Disagreements and conflict are often the prerequisite for increased intimacy, unbreakable connection, and a fierce security. 

Gain clarity on some of marriage’s biggest topics.

Money, in-laws, parenting, intimacy. What to do with her bonus check? Letting his mom know you’re not visiting for Sunday dinner. If and when do we want to have kids? What makes each of you feel most intimate with one another? These are all topics that can bring joy to the marriage if you can get out in front of them as a couple. Receiving advice and guidance on dealing with key topics prior to marriage can help you be on the same page and eliminate unnecessary surprises.

Gives you a better chance of a stable, satisfying, lengthy marriage.

Everyone who gets married wants a stable, satisfying, lengthy marriage. In preparing for life after the wedding, you’re actually doing something about it. Research found that relationship satisfaction and success is more about each person’s perception of the relationship and less about choosing the “perfect” person for you. Intentionally preparing for your marriage can improve how the two of you perceive and interact with one another. As a result, you are giving yourself a better chance of a committed and fulfilling relationship.

Preparing for your marriage can make your relationship stronger, and it can take many forms: premarital education and premarital counseling are the most direct and intentional methods. You’ll discuss each of the topics mentioned in the most effective settings. Research from Scott Stanley and others has shown that couples who receive premarital preparation are less likely to divorce. In addition, inviting healthy, married couples for coffee and dessert to pick their brains on how to have a strong relationship can be invaluable as you prepare for your big day. Preparing for your marriage will not only give you a head start to a thriving marriage, just as importantly, it will also strengthen your relationship in the process. A strong relationship is just the ingredient you need for a thriving marriage.

Sign up for First Things First’s Preparing for Marriage class today!

Image from Unsplash.com

Weddings are time consuming, expensive, and stressful.

We totally get it. There’s hardly any time to breathe, let alone enjoy this season with your soon-to-be spouse! But that’s why we created Preparing for Marriage Online. This online class will guide you both through the answers to these questions and MORE! And the best part is, you can watch each video in the comfort of your own home and on your OWN TIME – and right now, it’s all for FREE!

During this class, you’ll cover topics like…

  • Clear & effective communication skills,
  • How to handle the in-laws,
  • Conflict management,
  • The importance of dating your spouse,
  • Planning, budgeting, and finances,
  • What to expect your first year,
  • And more!

Is marriage on your mind for your future? If it is, it doesn’t make a difference whether you’re a single searching for that special someone, in an “endgame” relationship, or perhaps already engaged when it comes to preparing yourself for marriage. If you know in your heart of hearts that you want marriage to be a part of your future, you don’t have to wait to prepare yourself for it. In fact, taking the time to prepare yourself for marriage now will save you from yourself later. (Take it from someone who’s married now and was grateful for getting this advice sooner than later.)

How to Prepare Yourself for Marriage

Make sure you’re meeting the expectations you desire for your future spouse.

If you want your spouse to have a stable job, work on getting one for yourself. If you want them to be good at listening and to understand when conflict arises, be that also. People can’t meet expectations they don’t know are there and in that vein, you shouldn’t expect something from someone else that you don’t expect from yourself. If you can decide what your standards are and choose to meet them first, you won’t have any reservations for wanting those in someone else.

Love yourself and improve yourself.

You cannot give what you don’t have. If you don’t love yourself, loving someone else wholeheartedly will be a challenge. If you second guess how much they love you because of an insecurity you’re facing, you risk projecting a problem onto your significant other that isn’t really there. Those feelings can hurt both people. Of course, someone can help you feel more loved, but ultimately, your expectation for a relationship shouldn’t be to solve your struggles. Having someone join the journey you’ve already started means you’re at a place to explain what you’ve been working through and giving them an opportunity to understand. 

When you love yourself, you’ll find productive ways to challenge yourself and promote growth and healing. You want the best version of someone else to partner up with so offer up the same! Now listen closely to this part: It doesn’t mean being the best; it means giving your best effort. That looks like choosing to put time, energy and effort into what’s important to you in your life and learning to be happy on your own so you can share that happiness with someone else. You and your partner will fall short and are incapable of being each other’s only source of happiness. Imagine the pressure you’d feel from that! You two will undoubtedly make each other happy if you’re in a healthy relationship, but you will rest easy in the fact you don’t have to be the only source.

Work through your past and move toward healing.

This one is an ongoing process. There’s a multitude of emotions and circumstances that come with healing. If you’ve been through something traumatic, it could affect your day-to-day experiences and interpretations of what other people do and their motivations, including a significant other. 

Starting the process now rather than when you have another person to consider can be so liberating. As you work through your challenges or baggage, you can discover tendencies you have that may be a side effect of what you’ve been through. Naming your hurt reclaims power over it. I’m not saying you have to have it all figured out and all of the mess you may bring to a relationship perfectly tidied. However, acknowledging the hurt you may have been through now and doing something about it is great for your mental health and in turn, your well-being. A counselor or therapist is most qualified and depending on your experiences, maybe your best option. But, if you know there is just some baggage you need to talk about to process it, call up a trusted friend and let them know what you need.

Be adaptable.

Marriage is a beautiful gift, but sometimes the price is compromise or sacrifice. When you’re committed to loving someone and doing life with them for the rest of both of your lives, your dreams, goals and future plans have to go through a WE instead of ME filter. You two will be a team—win together and lose together. Find a communication style that works best for you both and go out of your way to make them feel loved. (You may have different love languages, so sometimes it doesn’t feel as natural to do what your future partner needs). 

The compromises and sacrifices can be as small as sacrificing plans with an old friend when it’s the only night available for date night, waking up early to help each other in the mornings, sharing the spotlight at family gatherings, and the list could go on. Or as big as moving for their job, paying off debt before a down payment on a house, waiting to have kids, etc. In circumstances big and small, being married dictates being flexible or at least being willing to try.

Preparing yourself for marriage is really a journey of self-awareness—understanding the motivations behind your actions, the words you say, how you carry yourself, and how you treat others. It is monumental and can make the world of difference in a relationship and ultimately one day, your marriage.

Image from Unsplash.com

Weddings are time consuming, expensive, and stressful.

We totally get it. There’s hardly any time to breathe, let alone enjoy this season with your soon-to-be spouse! But that’s why we created Preparing for Marriage Online. This online class will guide you both through the answers to these questions and MORE! And the best part is, you can watch each video in the comfort of your own home and on your OWN TIME – and right now, it’s all for FREE!

During this class, you’ll cover topics like…

  • Clear & effective communication skills,
  • How to handle the in-laws,
  • Conflict management,
  • The importance of dating your spouse,
  • Planning, budgeting, and finances,
  • What to expect your first year,
  • And more!