With literally hundreds of details to remember in preparing for a wedding, you might forget a very important step: marriage preparation, a research-proven step that contributes to lasting marriages. When we are madly in love and dreaming of special dresses and wedding music, it can be easy to think that marriage will be a perpetual honeymoon, filled with constant happy moments, romantic days and nights, and light-hearted fun. Actually, your marriage can be great and filled with joyful times...with some preparation, key skills, and realistic expectations. Marriage education and preparation workshops, counseling/coaching, and books can be a great pre-marriage present from your family too!
Here are some options to consider:
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- Engage in great in-depth discussions, using books that provide questions for couples to ask one another; such as, "All-in-One Marriage Prep", "365 Questions for Couples," or "The Hard Questions." These types of discussions strengthen your friendship and ensure you're compatible. Important keys areas to discuss thoroughly before marriage include money, children/parenting, religion, family relationships, roles and responsibilities, and more. If you're having difficulty with the discussions, you might consider asking a married couple to mentor you and assist you with the process.
- Know the character strengths that are important to you in a partner, and ensure your partner has them, so you are confident your marriage will be on a firm foundation. Character qualities that are vital in marriage include truthfulness, trustworthiness, faithfulness, courtesy, respect, helpfulness, and more. For more information on this topic, see "Pure Gold: Encouraging Character Qualities in Marriage (Second Edition)," (ISBN: 0-9726893-5-4)
- Assess your relationship/couple strengths and growth areas with the assistance of a trained counselor or relationship coach so that you know what skills you may need to continue developing as a couple.
- Learn vital communication skills that will have you avoid conflict and fighting with one another and reach effective agreements instead.
- Assess the activities you do together leading up to the wedding and choose to participate in ones that will strengthen your friendship and assist you to know one another well. Great choices include performing community service, spending time with friends and family members, practicing spiritual activities, or working on a project together.
- Develop a list together of your shared commitments for your marriage. You can include whatever practices are most important to you in sustaining your marriage, such as weekly dates, praying with one another, enjoying time with children, continuing your education, treating one another with courtesy and love, deciding how you will settle disagreements, and so on.
- Prepare a list of your assets and debts, and create a post-wedding budget for your lives together. Agree on how you will handle your money during your marriage. Money can be a key area for marital conflict, and you may prevent some of it with advance planning.
So, here's what there is to remember...you are preparing for a wonderful wedding day, an event that marks your transition into marriage, something you want to last a lifetime. Preparing for the marriage is a great investment of time in your future.
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Websites, such as http://www.lifeinnovations.com can direct you to research-based, professional services.
Copyright 2010 Susanne M. Alexander