The journey to the altar of marriage can be an exciting yet frightening time. Many people tell you to slow down and simply enjoy the engagement process but let’s be honest, this can be hard to do when you’re so excited to finally become Mr. & Mrs. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of wedding preparation, you’ll find yourself sometimes arguing over silly little things like choosing the wedding cake flavour or whether to have a late night snack table with your future husband’s favourite McDonalds menu items (this was my husbands snack suggestion). During arguments, it’s easy to overlook the point of it all, which is to have a lifelong happy and blessed marriage.
My husband and I were married in August 2014. Leading to the wedding, there were stressors and each stressor led to finding resources to prepare us for marriage. Upon our engagement, we knew we had three immediate decisions to make: wedding date, wedding venue and premarital counselling.
We made the first two decisions within a month but chose to take our time with premarital counselling. It was important for us to find someone with three qualities:
- someone who shared in our Christian beliefs
- a person who wasn’t afraid to challenge us
- an individual we respected and could be candid and vulnerable with.
We found these qualities in a pastor at our church and began premarital counselling classes four months before our wedding date.
4 Books to Read With Your Partner Before Your Wedding Day
In premarital counselling, we read four books I highly recommend to anyone who is getting ready to enter a marriage.
The Five Love Languages – Gary D. Chapman
The first book is a popular one that many have heard of and potentially read. I suggest reading or re-reading it within the context of a relationship with the person you’re going to marry. By reading it together, this created the atmosphere for productive conversation and learning. This book is THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary D. Chapman. Chapman’s book is an easy read in helping you to understand your relationship and your spouse’s love.
Love & Respect – Dr Emerson Eggerichs
The second book we read is less popular but still quite powerful and helps us in our marriage daily four years later. LOVE & RESPECT by Dr Emerson Eggerichs and workbook talks a lot about two things that happen in every relationship and they are called the “energizing cycle” and the “crazy cycle”. Each cycle exists through love and respect or lack of in your relationship. This book encourages us to put on (what I call) our “big girl/boy pants” and take the first step towards the change we want to see. Though this book is longer and a bit tough, it’s a highly powerful and encouraging read.
Foreign to Familiar – Sarah A. Lanier
The third book was chosen based on our relationship type, an interracial and intercultural relationship. FOREIGN TO FAMILIAR by Sarah A. Lanier is an older book but simple to read and contains eye-opening points and skills not only for intimate relationships but hold true for friendships, work relationships and navigating our mixed cultural climate today. This book provides great examples of different cultural types which she classifies as hot climate and cold climate cultures. We found ‘Foreign to Familiar‘ to be extremely helpful in our relationship to understand how we handle confrontation, disagreements and so much more.
Money Before Marriage – Larry Burkett
Our final book was MONEY BEFORE MARRIAGE: A financial workbook for engaged couples by Larry Burkett. Did you think it was possible to prepare for marriage without talking about money? No, it’s not. In my opinion, if you skip the money talk, you’re setting yourself up for hardships and hard conversations. Why not have these conversations now when you can navigate with the help of others who want you to succeed.
By reading these books and having the tough conversations, we became equipped with the knowledge and skills for our life together and plan our wedding with fewer disagreements and issues.
If you find yourself in a time bind and can only read one of the books listed, my suggestion would be THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES as it’s an easy read and easy application book.
As a married person, I encourage you to actively work on keeping your marriage a successful one. Read marriage books and attend weekend marriage retreats to learn new skills and reconnect.
If you’re single, then get to reading and prepare yourself for a fulfilling marriage.
Check out my post about how to love without keeping score.