Congratulations on this wonderful milestone. Few seasons in life are filled with as much joy and anticipation as the time spent preparing to get married. You’ve probably heard it said that as you plan your wedding, you shouldn’t forget to plan your marriage. But it sounds so abstract to “plan a marriage” in the midst of the more tangible (and demanding) project of planning a wedding. How do you do it?
STEP ONE: Learn from others
Research demonstrates the long-term value of making time now for marriage education classes or premarital counseling. In fact, if your wedding is to be performed by a Riverview pastor, marriage counseling will be required. However, there’s more that you can do! Efforts to prepare for marriage can be furthered when you supplement them by spending time with an older married couple whose relationship you admire.
STEP TWO: Practice Growing Together Spiritually
You will inevitably carry many of the things that you are doing in your relationship now into your marriage. The only way you will carry healthy practices into your marriage and remove the unhealthy ones is to be intentional in your relationship going forward. Here are four quick things you can do to be intentional with your future marriage.
- Attend church together regularly. A great way to be intentional about growing together spiritually is regularly attending church. If you are not doing so, make it a point to start doing so immediately. It’s important to connect with a community of believers who can encourage you to honor God in your coming marriage.
- Remove impurities and fight sin. Now is a great time to examine your relationship and remove anything that could hinder it or make it impure. Take time as a couple to discuss any areas of obvious sin or unhealthy practices and take the necessary steps to remove those from your relationship.
- Pray together. Now is also the time to begin praying together as a couple—for one another, for your daily concerns, and for your future marriage.
- Discuss what God is teaching you. You can begin the practice of sharing the things God is teaching you in your personal devotional times with one another.
Discussing your spiritual lives, and seeking God’s face together should not be an abnormal practice in your marriage. One of the best ways to be sure that is the case, is to begin doing those things now.
STEP THREE: Plan with patience
Couples often overlook the importance of using the wedding planning season as practical marriage preparation. You can intentionally set the tone for your marriage by the values you live out in planning your big day. The transformational process of “becoming one” can occur in everything from how you assemble your guest list to how you determine a honeymoon destination.
STEP FOUR: Discover the purpose of marriage
A wedding is bigger than you as an individual and even bigger than you both as a couple. Ephesians 5 describes a couple laying down their lives for one another and becoming one as an icon of God’s sacrificial love for His church. That’s the counter-cultural call of Christian marriage. Read When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey or Sacred Marriage by Garry Thomas in order to discover the beautiful picture God intends every marriage to reflect.
STEP FIVE: Create a meaningful event
To focus on the sacred nature of marriage in the early church couples often stood during the course of a weekly service to exchange their vows. Those weddings were a part of the community of faith’s worship routine and a public vow within a church body. They do not have anything resembling the grand ceremonies typical of modern weddings, focusing instead on the meaning and purpose of marriage. That’s not to say big celebrations are out of order, but many risk making them so complex that they fail to honor God or the community they are uniting – both of which are the basis for a strong Christian marriage.
Recommended Books -Available from the Faith @ Home Center
The Marriage Masterpiece (by Al Janssen) The Bible opens and closes with a wedding and in between God uses the metaphor of marriage more than any other to describe His relationship with His people. So what does that mean for your pending marriage? Al Janssen tells the bigger story of marriage as God created it and as couples can experience it.
Love and Respect (by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs) discusses a powerful biblical model for each spouse understanding and meeting the other’s most deeply felt need.
Before You Say “I Do” (by H. Norman Wright and Wes Roberts) explores how to clarify role expectations, establish a healthy sexual relationship, handle finances, and acquire a solid understanding of how to develop a biblical relationship.
Going Further – Church Support
Young Adult Ministry & Life Groups: Authentic Christian community and mentoring is available through Riverview’s Life Group ministry. Contact our Life Groups & NextGeneration pastor Michael Beene at [email protected] for more info.
Pastoral Counseling: Pastors are available to counsel those who would like more Godly wisdom on this issue. Please call the church office for more info: 573-348-3515
Love and Respect: is a short-term course that is offered to couples who are interested in becoming intentional about honoring God in their marriages and loving one another more deeply. Contact our Next Generation and Life Groups pastor Michael Beene at [email protected] for more info.