This weekend I had the joy of seeing one of my oldest friends get married. It was so great to see how happy he is marrying the woman God prepared just for him. They’re a perfect fit for each other, and it makes me so excited to see them together!
As I was there, it made me think about weddings in general. Couples often put SO much effort into planning for “the big day” so that it can be amazing. All the food, flowers, schedules, music, etc has to be planned out in hopes of the event going perfectly. In all the work, it can be easy to put so much focus on the wedding itself, that couples can sometimes forget to put the same amount of effort and planning into their marriage. Many couples, including my friend and his wife, go through some type of premarital counseling and guidance, to help prepare them for their marriage…not just for the wedding. Without this type of work, a couple might know EXACTLY what they’re doing for the 6 hours of the wedding and reception, but not have a clue of what they’re going to do for the 5 decades to come of their marriage!
Reading this, you may agree, but be already married and past the point to do anything with this idea. So, here’s the bomb…it is NEVER too late to prepare for your marriage! You may be married for 20 years now, but you can STILL go through some of these marriage prep ideas.
- Discuss your desires and expectations for children: You may already have three of them, but it is good to make sure you and your wife are on the same page no matter where you are in your family size.
- Discuss role expectations: One of the best things Julia and I did in preparing for our marriage was discuss our expectations of who would be the “decision maker” in certain areas of life. We did this in a workbook called Before You Say I Do, but you could do the exercise without it. Come up with a list of categories (where money is spent, where we live, parenting roles, home decoration, church involvement, vacation decisions, etc) and indicate what percentage of influence each spouse has in that category. Answer on your own and then compare. We found it VERY interesting and helpful. You can do this even if you’ve been married for a long time!
- Discuss finances: How do you budget your money? What do you do with “extra” money that comes in? Who manages the bills and balancing it all?
- Discuss things you want to make sure you do or don’t do as a parent. This is important even if you are halfway through the process.
- Have another (possibly older) couple that can serve as a mentor couple to you. Share with them issues that you have and be open to advice.
- Talk about communication: How well do you communicate? Are there lingering issues that need to be discussed that you haven’t addressed?
- See a marriage counselor: No, this is NOT just for couples that are “in trouble”. Seeing a marriage counselor can help anyone. If your marriage is good, that might be what you need to help make it GREAT!
My challenge to you:
If you are already married, think through the list above and possibly sit down with your spouse and talk about some of them. Discussing topics like these, even if you’ve been married for a long time, will help you be on the same page and be more purposeful in your marriage. You have a lot of married time together left in life, so go prepare for it!!