You said, “Yes!” Congrats! Now, the planning begins. Where to start? The venue, music, big or small wedding, indoor or outdoor, caterer, DJ or band, wedding cake, dress, tux, bridesmaids, groomsmen… OH MY! 

Lots of preparation for the big day, but what about preparation for the marriage?

What can you do to focus on the lifetime together after you say, “I do?” 

These do’s and don’ts for engaged couples can help you think about preparing for #marriedlife:

Do’s:

  • Do take a premarital course. We accept driver’s ed and hours of supervised practice as part of the responsibility of operating an automobile. Marriage has more curves than any road you’ll ever drive. A premarital course will cover topics you may not have discussed yet, such as children, in-laws, finances, and intimacy. You may not get all your questions answered, but you’ll get the conversation started. Check out our Preparing for Marriage Online Course.
  • Do seek out a mentor couple. Seek out a couple who has the marriage you want. Couples who have been married at least 10 years have experienced ups and downs and have navigated some tough topics. You may quickly learn their “perfect marriage” has taken lots of dings and isn’t as perfect as you perceive, but it is healthy and thriving. Learn from experienced couples that share your values.
  • Do talk about expectations for your marriage. A giant pothole for couples is unmet expectations. These are often unmet because they are never discussed. Don’t assume your soon-to-be spouse can read your mind. I hate to tell you, but they can’t—and never will. Communicate your expectations clearly and often.
  • Do evaluate your habits. Ask yourself the question, “Am I ready to be a spouse?” Are there bad habits you have that you need to ditch before the big day? If you’re unsure whether you have any habits that need to be addressed, ask those closest to you for honest feedback. Check out this blog for more info on preparing yourself for marriage.
  • Do look for ways to care for one another. Marriage requires a mindset shift. It’s no longer about me; it’s about we. I’m not saying you lose yourself. I’m just saying there’s a bigger picture in play now that you’re married. By helping your significant other, you are focusing on “we.” When we put the needs of our spouse above our own, intimacy and connection grow.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t forget to make the relationship a priority. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the wedding. Don’t let your connection get lost in the busyness. Once the guests have gone, the relationship remains.
  • Don’t just plan for the wedding; plan for the marriage. You’re working hard to prepare for the wedding; make time to talk about your dreams and expectations for your marriage. Grab some coffee and have some marriage-centric conversations.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. My wife and I laugh a lot and sometimes at each other. You both are gonna have quirks that you’ll find funny– and sometimes not. Marriage requires a sense of humor. Have fun with each other! Laughter makes the heart grow fonder.
  • Don’t stop working on your marriage. A healthy marriage takes effort. Always look for ways to pour into each other and your relationship. Just like a car requires maintenance, so does your marriage. Easy maintenance is to keep dating your spouse. Put a regular date night on the calendar and make it a priority.
  • Don’t forget marriage is a partnership. You aren’t partners in a small business named, “Family, Inc.” You are life partners for life. You are each bringing different backgrounds, strengths, weaknesses, perspectives, opinions, and quirks into this partnership. Allow those differences to complement, not compete.

Marriage is exciting and fun, but it’s even better when you are intentional about investing in each other and your relationship. These do’s and don’ts for engaged couples will help you both avoid problems before they start as well as build a strong foundation for the issues you can’t even foresee. As you prepare for the wedding, don’t forget to invest today in your marriage.

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