Editor’s Note: Mandy reached out to us a few months back when she wrote a post for GLOW focusing on finding time to date your husband (featured here). She has a huge heart for Christ! Specifically, Mandy and her husband have a heart to inspire and cultivate relationships focused on what matters most. In fact, they are currently in the process of writing a book to encourage other newlyweds in their journey to focus on Jesus in their marriage. So cool, right?!
Because February is the month of love and this week will be wrapped up with Valentine’s day on Saturday, we’re off to a great start with Mandy’s post. But wait!!! All the single ladies, those married for years, widows, etc…don’t check out for the week! This week is for everyone…God talks about LOVE in so many ways, and we want ALL OF YOU to be a part!
Without further ado, take a look at Mandy’s words of wisdom. We love practical advice!
The prep that happens before marriage is some of the most important work you can do, but I’m not talking about table linen color and flower arrangements. I’m talking about how you prepare yourself for marriage. I have been married for 3 1/2 years and I can tell you that some of the prep we did in the days leading up to the big day were some of the best things we did to set ourselves up for success in the early years.
Here are a few ideas that you can start implementing now whether you are planning your wedding or merely waiting for Prince Charming to come along.
- Words of wisdom. Take the time to read a marriage book or two. The lessons you read will prepare you for real-life situations. One of my all time favorites that we read as part of our pre-marital counseling was the 5 love languages by Gary Chapman. If you haven’t read it yet, run, don’t walk to your nearest Barnes and Noble. That book changed how we communicated and allowed us to realize that we were not loving each other well and in fact were speaking two different languages that the other didn’t understand. For example, my love language is quality time. I used to get insanely jealous (hello self-awareness of my own sinful nature) and my hubby couldn’t understand why. We lived miles a part so it wasn’t feasible to see each other every day for a frozen yogurt date. I would retaliate by avoiding his phone calls or hanging up during a conversation because I felt ignored. After reading that book we realized that the lack of quality time left me feeling unloved and the retaliation of ignoring him with my words left him angry and feeling the same lack of affection. Still to this day we use the principles of communication in that book to apply to our marriage.
- Find a mentor couple. Seek out couples that you admire that are in a life stage or two ahead of you. Maybe they have been married a few years and you want to know the realness of the newlywed days. Maybe it is a couple that you admire the way they continue to love each other even with the addition of babies in their family. Whatever role model you find, make sure it is a couple in a marriage you want to learn from and that they do not mind being real about the good and bad days that come with living with your best friend 24/7.
- Stop. Drop. and Date. Don’t get so caught up in the future that you forget to be present in the here and now. Enjoy the days of being engaged. Enjoy exploring your home town together. An idea could be to go for a breakfast date before your engagement photo shoot. You are already dressed up so why not spend some time with one another a little bit more than just an hour? Find time to date and put the wedding planning on pause because at the end of the day, the person you are planning to marry will be the constant- not how the napkins should be folded or what your first dance song should be.
Best of luck as you prepare for the days beyond the I’Do’s!
About the Author
My life’s mission is to cultivate a marriage focused on what matters most – Jesus – and encourage others to do the same. We live in Suwanee, Georgia and blog about our journey in marriage at http://www.mandyandconner.com.
We love traveling, home projects, throwing celebrations, focusing on a healthy lifestyle, and play time with our fur baby, Brinkley. Join us on our journey! Instagram: @mandyandconner