During our engagement, it was important to Jamie and I to prepare more for our marriage than for our wedding. I am so excited to share more about the marriage preparation books that we read together. To be honest, in the beginning, I was very careful about talking with Jamie about marriage. Because of my past relationships, I was hesitant to share too much of my heart before it was appropriate, so it took some pulling on Jamie’s end to begin the initial conversations about marriage and our future. Reading books together really helped us months before we got engaged, as well as during our engagement. However, I will say, that no matter how many books you read, you will never know everything or be fully prepared, and that is a beautiful thing. You and your spouse will figure it out, good and bad, pretty and ugly, and you will do it together.
The Five Love Languages
“Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment. It is a choice to show mercy, not to hold the offense up against the offender. Forgiveness is an expression of love.”
Growing up, my mom loved this book and made our family take the test inside that lets you know what your love language is. I always found it so fascinating and I began making my friends take the test as well. A couple months after Jamie and I started dating, my mom and I encouraged him take the test, although we had already guessed what his love languages were. Similar to The Meaning of Marriage, this book is awesome for people of all stages of life and they have specific books for singles, kids, etc. Our love languages are different but it is so helpful to know not only how Jamie shows love to others, but how he feels loved in return.
The Meaning of Marriage
“Marriage is glorious but hard. It’s a burning joy and strength, and yet it is also
blood, sweat, and tears, humbling defeats and exhausting victories.”
Jamie and I decided to read this book separately, before we got engaged because we wanted to make sure we had a good understanding of The Lord’s meaning of marriage before we entered into a promise with Him and each other. During our engagement and marriage counseling, we went back through this book and talked about it together. This is an incredible book, not only for engaged or married men or women. If you are single, I would encourage you to read this book. It changed my whole perspective on marriage and what the Lord desires for us.
His Needs, Her Needs
“The husband and wife who commit themselves to meet each other’s most important needs will lay a foundation for lifelong happiness in a marriage relationship that is deeper and more satisfying than they ever dreamed possible.”
During our engagement, I read this book first and made lots of notes on the pages that were specific to me. Jamie then read the book and my notes, while making notes that were specific to him. After both of us separately reading, we went back through it together and talked about how each need specifically applied to us. The book describes the five most important needs of a woman and the five most important needs of a man and sets up different situations that could happen if those needs are not met. It encourages you to rank your needs from most important to least important, as each person is different.
“Who is the giver of all good gifts? God. Sex is a gift from God and a commandment from God.”
Jamie and I read this book a month before our wedding and it was very helpful. The book encourages you to read only the first four chapters before you are married (such a quick read!), and then read the rest on your honeymoon or after you are married. I am so thankful for the way that Jamie and I communicate with each other, and I believe that it’s important in marriage preparation to talk through all aspects, including sex. After reading this book separately, we were able to talk through our expectations – making sure we were on the same page.
Total Money Makeover / Financial Peace University
“You must walk to the beat of a different drummer. The same beat that the wealthy hear. If the beat sounds normal, evacuate the dance floor immediately! The goal is to not be normal, because as my radio listeners know, normal is broke.”
Finances can either tear you apart or bring you closer together. Jamie and I grew up with different financial backgrounds, which isn’t a bad thing, but we needed to have a lot of serious conversations about how we were going to move forward with our finances as a married couple. This is still something that we are working through everyday. Jamie recently read Total Money Makeover and we are still hoping to take a Financial Peace University class together. It’s important to us that this is something that we do together instead of assigning it to one person. I have learned that it is so important to include some kind of financial book or class into your marriage preparation curriculum, as it’s vital to start having these conversations sooner than later.
If you are married or engaged, what other books have you read that you would suggest for preparing for marriage?