Marriage Prep 101

Wedding season is upon us. For most the months of June through August represent the easiest season in which to schedule time off for the honeymoon and travel for family members. And as most proposals happen between December 24 and February 14, the timing gives the happy couple about six months to plan their big day.

Speaking of the big day, many couples confess after the ceremony that they have focused on the party planning and made too little of the life-together-after-the-honeymoon planning. So here are some suggestions for laying that solid foundation: 

Develop your communication skills. How do you and your beloved handle bad traffic or getting lost? Your behavior in the car provides a good indicator of how you will handle interpersonal conflicts. Do you escalate? Withdraw? Assume evil motives on the part of your partner?

Make premarital counseling a priority, and take seriously your reading and discussion assignments. Think of doing so as a pre-emptive strike. It won’t keep you from conflict, but it will give you the upper hand in it. 

Studies tell us that it’s not our differences that divide us, but the way in which we handle those differences. So talk about these important issues that may surface some deep divides:  

What do you love about each other?
What makes you laugh?
What is your definition of love?
What role will faith play in your future?
What does “marriage” and “commitment” mean? Is marriage for life?
What steps will you take to stay faithful when tempted?
What do you enjoy doing together?
What do you enjoy doing apart? 
What annoys you in each other?
What, if anything, do you expect will change in your partner after marriage?
How do each of you prefer to solve problems? Work it out mentally before talking? Verbally process? Talk to friends and/or family? 
What do you think your parents did right/in a way you would do differently?
What are your views on sex?
What sexual practices are okay within marriage?
What are your views on politics?
How many children, if any, do you want? How would you like them spaced?
What are your views on contraception?
How do you feel about stay-at-home moms and stay-at-home dads?
Describe how well your partner listens to you.
How do you handle money? Budget?
How clean will you keep the living space? 
Will you have separate bank accounts or one or both?
How do you handle apologizing? Avoid it? Say you are sorry all the time for everything? Notice you are the only one who ever apologizes? ‘Fess up and take responsibility?
How do you handle confrontation?
How do you envision spending holidays? Whose family will you visit and when?
Describe your first Christmas from where you will celebrate it to what essentials must happen for it to feel right. 
To all the trulyweds out there, feel free to add your suggestions to my short list of questions. 
(You can find Part 2 here.)

Sandra Glahn, who holds a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and a PhD in The Humanities—Aesthetic Studies from the University of Texas/Dallas, is a professor at DTS. This creator of the Coffee Cup Bible Series (AMG) based on the NET Bible is the author or coauthor of more than twenty books. She's the wife of one husband, mother of one daughter, and owner of two cats. Chocolate and travel make her smile. You can follow her on Twitter @sandraglahn ; on FB /Aspire2 ; and find her at her web site: aspire2.com.


  • Sarah Bowler

    Good Article!

    You hit the nail on the head when you say, "Studies tell us that it’s not our differences that divide us, but the way in which we handle those differences." Again and again, whether it be in marriage or other relationships I have seen that to be the case in so many situations. Being able to respectfully disagree makes a world of difference, and that includes not considering the other person dumb, ignorant, or illogical for holding another opinion. Humility is so crucial! We must come to marriage with the realization that we are not infallible in our opinions.

    • Sandra Glahn

      Difference is Beautiful

      Thanks, Sarah. Bingo! I think it's interesting that researchers say the four most damaging patterns in marriage are withdrawal, escalation, negative interpretation, and invalidation. Not one of these has a thing to do with cultural differences, background differences, gender differences, differences in peanut butter preferences… If we were all the same, what would be the point? 🙂

  • Dianne Miller

    Great questions


    Thanks so much for such insightful questions for pre-marital, newly weds and those who have many years of marriage= a refresher to see if we're still on track with each other…are we talking?

    Blessings and keep those questions coming,

    love Dianne


  • Mark M

    Communication is Most Important

    I believe you hit the nail on the head when you disucssed sharpening your communication skills. It is so important to be able to communicate effectively not only in marriage but in all aspects of life. Great information!


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