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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!

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!

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!

OMG! It finally happened! I’m engaged! There are so many things to do:

  • Venue 
  • Bridal Party
  • Flowers
  • Wedding Dress
  • Ceremony and Reception
  • Honeymoon location

Once you’re engaged, the focus turns to make sure that the “Wedding of Your Dreams” occurs. Yes, your wedding is important, and there are many details that go into making your wedding an event to remember. I couldn’t wait to plan the wedding of my dreams. I didn’t stop to consider that the wedding is not the destination. It is, however, the beginning of your marriage journey.

Have you considered what comes after the big day?

What about the marriage of your dreams?

What are you doing to prepare for your marriage

Here are some of the things I wish someone had shared with me

It’s not all about ME anymore, but about WE:

Once you get married, you and your spouse are a family. Decisions and expectations are no longer one-sided. It is important to consider the thoughts and feelings of your spouse.

Ask The Right Questions About the Big Topics.

  • Children: Are we hoping to have children? When? How many?
  • If we do have children and both of us are working, how will we handle that?
  • In-Laws: How involved will they be? What are expectations regarding holidays, family dinners, birthdays?
  • Money: Do we have a budget? Separate or joint bank accounts? What about debt? (Student loan, credit card, etc.) Who will pay the bills? What are our goals? 
  • Friendships: How will our friendships be the same or different? Opposite-Sex Friendships? How much time do we spend with separate friends?
  • Goals/Dreams: What is your dream job? Where do you want to live?
  • Legacy: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? Family legacy?

Be open for change.

Even when you have talked about the “big-ticket items,” be ready and open for opportunities you don’t expect to come up. One month after our wedding, my husband made a career change that changed our lives. We moved 800 miles away from friends and family so he could attend graduate school. He hinted at the change during our engagement, but I never truly considered it a possibility. I decided to make the most of the adventures and opportunities represented. Looking back, that was one of the best things for helping us build a strong marriage.

Friendships might shift.

You might see some friends less and see some friends more. As a couple, you might become friends with some other couples. Getting married doesn’t mean giving up your friendships, but you might have to be intentional about maintaining and caring for those friendships. You both still need friends, but make sure they are friends that are for your marriage.

Be prepared to go all-in.

Being married is not something to do half-heartedly. It requires you to give your time, energy, and effort. Go all-in for your marriage not because you have to or are supposed to, but because you CHOOSE your spouse and your marriage. It takes Intentionality. 

Realize your marriage journey will not look like anyone else’s.

In the first five years of our marriage, my husband and I moved five times between three different states. When I looked at the marriages of other friends and family, none of them looked like mine. I compared mine to theirs and felt mine lacked stability. I had to realize my marriage journey was MY marriage journey. As a result of the many moves, we learned to lean and depend on each other. Wherever we ended up was fine because any place with the two of us was HOME.

Seek Premarital Education.

There are a plethora of opportunities to seek premarital education from a variety of sources. You may choose any or all of these options to help you prepare for marriage.

  • First Things First has an online premarital course
  • The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman. 
  • Mentor Couple—find a married couple with whom you can talk, ask questions, and has the marriage you would like to have.
  • Religious /Spiritual premarital counseling.

The day of your wedding is the beginning of your MARRIAGE JOURNEY. Making time to strengthen your relationship during your engagement will prepare you for more than a day. It will prepare you for a LIFETIME of marriage together. 

Image from Pexels.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!

*Clink!* Champagne flutes (or rocks glasses if it’s your preference) meet to toast the “Yes!” you just said. Before you even have the chance to sit down, enjoy the butterflies and process what just happened, the congratulations come serendipitously. People begin to ask ALL THE QUESTIONS, poking at what’s next—

Have you picked a date?

Do you know where you’ll have the wedding? Surely a place easy for out-of-town guests to get to?

What kind of dress do you want?

Being engaged is a whirlwind. Do yourself a favor and set aside your expectations while you call upon every easygoing/adaptable fiber in your being.

Here Are 8 Things No One Tells You About Being Engaged:

1. You’ll have to tell the proposal story over and over and over—probably even on your wedding day.

It’s sweet to relive the question you’ve waited for… maybe the first 10 times. But you’ll tell it more than 10 times, so don’t let it surprise you if strangers who notice your ring ask about the intimate details of your proposal. *Take a deep breath* and give yourself a break. You don’t have to feel guilty if it gets old! The magic or relief you felt during the proposal is not dimmed because you don’t feel like narrating your own life. Consider an engagement party where you tell it in person to a group of your closest friends and family. Or, make a post to a social media or wedding website with the story for all your virtual friends to read on their time and not yours.

2. Your parents may have way more opinions on the wedding than they’ve had on your relationship.

Sometimes those endearing parents of yours blur the boundary between being helpful and being controlling. If your parents are trying to control the wedding, have a conversation with your fiancé about how you want to address the situation. Then sit down and talk with your parents. *Some pro advice I got while engaged:  If it’s your parent, youre the spokesperson for that conversation and vice versa (aka blood talks to blood). This advice keeps the us vs. them mentality from creeping in.*

If you’re in a situation where your parents are paying for the wedding, you have to find the balance of respecting their wishes and making some compromises but still making it feel like your day. If you’re paying for the wedding yourselves, there’s a lot more room for saying it isn’t what you have in mind. Of course, in this situation you want to honor your parents. Delegating some tasks is a great way to show you need them and they are important.

3. Friends who have recently gotten married are self-proclaimed wedding planning expertsand they’ll impart their wisdom without you even having to ask!😅

I love how The Knot puts it: Take it in stride. “You should/shouldn’t do this” can come across as telling you what to do and not suggesting what you two could do. At the end of the day, you and your fiancé decide what advice to take and who to listen to. If you take some of their advice, wonderful! But if not, just say thank you and move on.

4. One of you may be more ready to jump into planning than the other.

Sometimes it comes down to a difference in personality. Try not to take it personally if you suspect that may be the reason. 

Be sensitive to each other. Talk about what you two need from this engagement season. Then decide together (this could mean compromising sooner or later than you wanted) on when to start the planning process. You two are on your own timeline. Talk about some of the logistics like when both of your leases end, are you still in school, are you having to move for a job, etc., to get an idea of whether or not there’s an urgency to start this process.

5. It’s not all sweet; planning can cause a lot of tension and stress between you and your fiancé.

The movies make it look like everything perfectly falls into place like a rigged game of Tetris or everything somehow falls apart like the last move in Jenga. The truth is, many people (yourselves included) will ask you questions. Date, location, guest number, food, color scheme, theme, photographer, first look, where are you getting the dress, can I have a plus one… trust me the list goes on and on. I think it’d be silly to say there’s not a chance of it being overwhelming—for one or both of you. 

The reality is you aren’t just planning a wedding, you’re preparing for marriage. The questions start off with wedding day talk but lean seamlessly into your future together. You have finances to consider, serious conversations about kids or no kids, how you want to handle conflict, expectations for who takes care of what in the house, etc. With so much on the table, tension can grip tightly. You may feel like you and your fiancé are fighting more now than ever. If you’re fighting nonstop, take inventory on what it’s about. Is it understandable? Are you spending enough quality time together outside of decision making? Prioritize your relationship over the planning, because your relationship is going to be around much longer than a day.

6. It’s hard to enjoy the engagement season.

For some reasons listed above plus the busyness this season brings, it can be hard to soak in any of the joy. I know I was so excited to be engaged and thought I would feel how I felt when my husband proposed throughout the whole engagement. Some people do. If you’re finding it hard to enjoy, you’re not alone and it’s not a reflection on your excitement to marry the love of your life. If you can, consider delegating some of the responsibilities you have. Spend quality time with your fiancé and find excuses to introduce each other as fiancés because a little recognition of importance goes a long way.

7. You may consider changing how long you thought you’d be engaged: shorter or longer!

Sometimes just when you think you have it figured out, everything changes! It’s neither better nor worse—it just is what it is! If you have gotten engaged during the pandemic or have been engaged during all of this, then you were likely faced with having to consider the options. Change to a later date, get married on the original date (with less people potentially) or decide not to wait any longer because the world may have a lot of uncertainty, but you know one thing is certain—you’re ready to be married!

Outside of the COVID-19 world, life happens and circumstances come up you just don’t expect. Maybe it’s something like a job change or a death in the family. Perhaps it’s acceptance to grad school or a lease opening up at your dream apartment. Whatever comes along, you and your fiancé’s main goal should be a willingness to be flexible for changing up the plans if it’s best for your relationship in the long run. You two may find yourself like me who only had a 6-month engagement and eloping sounded more and more tempting as the days slowly trekked by. On the other hand, you may realize there’s much more to do than you two initially thought. Having a longer engagement would give you the space to make stuff happen without the stress of being rushed.

8. Your relationship feels different.

Even though you’ve anticipated this milestone, it feels different. It’s sweeter looking down at a promise of forever and wearing a symbol to everyone that someone wants you now and whoever you grow to be in the years to come. There’s a comfort and confidence with being engaged (it feels even better when you’re married). 

Sure, there’s some pressure, too. But stay true to who you are (the person they fell in love with) and work on being the best version of you there is.

Hopefully with these 8 things on your radar, you have a better idea of what to expect. I wish you and your sweetheart all of the love, a stress-free (as possible) wedding and most importantly, a beautiful marriage.

Consider these blogs for some additional resources:

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 normal to get nervous about important decisions. Asking yourself, “Am I marrying the right person?” is one of those nervy decisions because marriage is a lifelong commitment, not something that will come out easily in the wash if you’ve not made the right choice. So you weigh the odds, make a list of pros and cons, mull over some what-ifs. But at some point, when the doubt overshadows the confidence in the relationship, you may find yourself asking a new question: “Should I break off my engagement?” Here are 5 signs the answer to that question may be “yes.”

1. Isolation from family or friends.

If your fiancè is keeping you from seeing or talking to your friends and family for reasons that don’t have your best interest in mind, then consider breaking it off. When you get married, you become a unit, but within that, it’s essential to have a community of people you can lean on when life gets challenging. It’s impossible to be everything you need for each other. Putting that kind of expectation on each other can be crippling. Though you may go to each other first, it doesn’t mean they will always be the last person you talk to in order to work something out.

When you marry someone, you very much so marry the family as well. Unless it is a personal boundary you have set for yourself concerning the lack of communication with your family, having your fiancè control who you see and when can take a manipulative turn.

2. Can’t compromise on “big-ticket” items.

If the two of you find yourselves at a crossroads, and you can’t find a solution for issues that affect both of your futures, reconsidering your engagement may be in your path. 

For example:

  • If one of you wants to have/adopt kids and the other wants nothing to do with kids EVER.
  • If you can’t agree on how money will be handled or you have significant financial differences of opinion.
  • You can’t find a middle ground for religious differences or the role your spirituality plays in your life. (Flash forward to if you have kids, what religious influences can you agree on to raise them?)
  • One of your careers is treated as more important than your relationship. Waiting to get married until you are in a financially stable career is one thing. But a perspective where marriage is going to get in the way of career goals, set them back, or get in the way of what they want to do is another thing.

3. Getting married because you’ve been together forever and it’s just the logical next step.

If you’re only getting married because you don’t feel like starting over with someone else or don’t want to be lonely—a lifelong commitment with someone isn’t a way to fix that. Being married to someone you feel like you “settled for” isn’t going to lead to a happy or fulfilled life. You could quickly begin to resent them or live with regret. 

If it’s been forever because you two were working toward being in the right place for your relationship and you can’t imagine life without each other, that is entirely different.

4. It’s just not a healthy relationship.

  • Lack of trust in each other.
  • A pattern of cheating and making up.
  • Lies and deceptive behavior.
  • Addiction issues.
  • Extreme jealousy—they care obsessively who you hang out with, what you wear, what you talk about, and how you spend your downtime.
  • You continually make excuses for their behavior.
  • Your fiancé gaslights you and makes any problem that arises your fault.

5. Your fiancé is abusive.

Healthy relationships revolve around mutual respect, trust, and consideration for the other person. Intense jealousy and controlling behavior, which could include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, are all indicative of an unhealthy relationship

Some signs of abuse to look out for:

Fiancé says:

  • Violence is your fault.
  • If you had not done… Then I would not have had to do…
  • You cannot survive without them.
  • You are too stupid, too ugly, or too unfit to be a good employee, wife, husband, friend, or mother, father. (They always put you down and make you feel bad about yourself.)

If you find yourself in this type of relationship, ask someone you trust to help you safely get out of harm’s way. The National Domestic Violence hotline is 1-800-799-7233, and there are often resources available to help victims of domestic violence in your community. *You are not alone, you do not deserve to be treated in that way, and we sincerely hope for the best for you.

Though breaking off an engagement can leave you with some initial heartache…

…choosing not to marry someone because they aren’t compatible or the relationship is unhealthy will leave you better equipped for a more fulfilling future. Marriage is a lifelong commitment. Taking the time to consider if it’s the next step for you thoroughly and for your relationship is an essential part of deciding what’s best for you.

Additional Resources:

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!