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tips & tricks for growth
prepare for marriage, not just the wedding
Looking for ways to strengthen your marriage before it starts? Try these tips to help you prepare for life after the wedding day.
✅ First, attend a premarital education class or premarital counseling.
Eighty-nine percent of married couples who attended premarital education BEFORE marriage found it to be helpful down the road. Worthwhile classes will teach you communication skills and conflict management tools, along with addressing appropriate expectations.
✅ Find a mentor couple.
Seek out an older, more experienced, happily married couple to provide wisdom and support to you as you begin your adventure together.
✅ Start thinking “We” instead of “Me.”
Marriage is a partnership. It will serve you well to remember you are on the same team. Make time to pursue activities together and explore common interests.
✅ Talk about your expectations for marriage.
What are your goals for your marriage? How will you decide who does what around the house? Who will manage the money? Discuss your goals to help ensure a successful marriage. Unrealistic and unmet expectations often lead to resentment.
✅ Be committed.
Since commitment is a choice, believing in the permanence of your marriage will actually help your relationship as you prepare for marriage, and over the long haul.
✅ Talk about money.
Save yourselves a lot of future headaches by discussing your spending habits and spending plans and goals. Always spend less than you make, save a little for a rainy day, and try to avoid debt.
✅ Talk about children.
Will you have children? If so, how many children would you like to have? When would you like to have kids? Will both of you work or will one of you stay home?
✅ How will work/friends/family/social activities affect your marriage?
Also, discuss boundaries for your marriage.
5 ways to be more present when talking to someone
Have you ever been in the presence of someone who was supposed to be listening to you and even though they’re looking you straight in the eyes, you 100% knew they were not really present with you? Not a very good feeling is it? There is really an art to being present and engaged with someone. We all want it from others, but sometimes we aren’t great at doing it for them.
Here are some ways to be more present in conversation:
I used to think of listening as just hearing. Then I thought of listening as a skill. Now, I realize listening is a skill and a choice. Listening is choosing to block out distractions, choosing to empty my mind of clutter, choosing to focus on the speaker, and choosing to let them know they are heard.
2. Body Language.
Do you look like you are present? Do you look like you’re listening? Your body is sending signals about how engaged you are and even how much you care about what is being said.
3. WAIT (Why Am I Talking?)
Our own self-talk or mental dialogue is the biggest enemy of being present and listening. “What am I going to say next?” “Do I have a thought or story as good as that one?” “That can’t be right because…” In the meantime, we have mentally disengaged from the conversation.
Multitasking causes us to miss so many moments. The truth is we cannot do multiple things effectively—so pick one thing and do it with gusto. Being present with the people in our lives—what is more important than that?
This isn’t anything fancy. It’s just self-awareness. Minding your mind. Minding your body. Being aware of what you’re thinking and doing. Being aware of your breathing. This is really the foundation of being present with people and in the moment with them.
Practice a few of these tips to be more present with people and see the difference it makes. You can do it!