Thursday, June 13, 2013

Books I read before I said "I Do"

Marriage can be scary. I mean, with a divorce rate over 50% in America, I can say with certainty that I was scared! And I know marriage is hard.
When B and I decided to get married, we both wanted to be prepared! Together, we decided to go though premarital counseling. If you are unfamiliar with this term, its basically where an older, wiser couple or married elder talks to you and your fiance about what marriage entails. Usually they do this in sessions, about 6 to 8 or even more.

As a newly married gal, I can definitely say that someone who has been married for 20 years can pass down a lot of wisdom. Going through premarital counseling helped B and I prepare for life together, and honestly allowed us to work out many personal kinks before we moved in with each other! We talked about budgeting, chores, communication, sex, God, trust...I don't want to think about how many fights we might have had if we never went though counseling!

I know there are many happy couples who never attended a day of premarital, but for B and I it was totally the right decision!
Another thing we did together was read. He and I read lots of books on marriage and love and commitment jointly and separately. If you are a christian and married/about to be married, you should check out these books.
  • Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married  (Chapman)
  • When Dreams Come True
  • The Love Dare
  • Head over Heals
  • Passion and Purity
  • Devotions for Dating Couples 
Some books I read on my own:
  • Captivating (Eldredge) 
  • When God Writes Your Love Story (Ludy)
  • Lies Women Believe 
  • The Forgotten God (still working on reading this)
  • Crazy Love
 What about you? Will you/did you have any premarital counseling? Also, I would love to hear suggestions on any good books on this subject. Both B and I learn something new every day, and we always appreciate the wisdom of others.


Rachel G said...

We didn't have actual premarital counseling, because we never lived in the same state till we got married. We did get a "pre-marriage counseling" type of book that we went through together--but I found that because we'd done the courtship route rather than the traditional dating route, the pre-marriage book didn't have much that we hadn't already discussed. The idea of courtship is that you start talking about finances, life goals, family culture, marital expectations, faith, traditions, and all that nitty-gritty stuff before you ever start saying "I love you." --and I am really grateful that we pursued that type of relationship, it really has given us such a smooth start in life. Post-Marriage, THE best marriage book we have read is Sacred Marriage by Gary somebody (not chapman, a different guy). Now that's a hardcore marriage book. To non-Christians, it wouldn't make any sense at all--but reading it as a Christian, you realize, this is exactly how marriage should be!

katie terry said...

We did counseling (led by our pastor & his wife, with a few meetings with another older couple that are our friends), and I highly, highly recommend it. Not that it pointed out big things we had to work through -- we are amazingly on the same page for almost everything -- but just that it prompted those discussions and intentional reflection.

The book our pastor used for every couple was called "Preparing for Marriage," but the mister and I called it Five Dudes -- because it was written by five men, and had a very...unfortunate and close-minded perspective of the role of a Christian woman & wife! We both HATED it. But, at least we were reacting to the same things in similar ways! If he had loved it and I hated it, then we'd have some problems. =)

We also read "Boundaries" by Cloud & Townsend -- LOVED that one, both of us, it was very good and helpful in identifying and articulating how we as a unit wanted to relate to each of our families -- and "Sheet Music" by Leman (not earth-shaking, but we liked it) and that love languages book (eh...), and a few more that I forget because they were eh for us, so we donated them back to our church library.

Paulina Dombrowski said...

My friend who is getting married in August is doing this and she is loving it.

blavender said...

We were in some form of counseling or education our entire engagement. We did a SYMBIS class first. You read the book, "Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts," do activities in the guy/girl workbooks, and watch the DVD series. Sometimes it's a little corny, but the advice is very practical. Even if you don't resolve conflict using the exact exercises they recommend (and we generally don't), if you get the meaning of the exercise you can do something else with the same goals in mind. Our longest sessions were with the Marriage Alliance of Central Virginia for a few months. We definitely benefitted from both the class atmosphere and one-on-one sessions. If you (engaged people) have time, try to do both kinds.

Charlotte said...

My pre-marital counseling was one of the happiest times of my engagement. We were married by our youth counselor (since we met in youth group) and he got ordained just to marry us. Consequently, he had never given marriage counseling before, so we were the experimental guinea pigs! He had lots of wisdom to share, though, and I still remember some of his comments today.

We didn't read any books, finding it more helpful to talk to our pastor and parents.