Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pre-Marital Preparation... Miles Apart But Growing Closer!

During our long distance engagement, my now husband and I struggled to find 'projects' that we could both be involved in despite our separation. Goals that we could share and ways in which we could learn about one another and appreciate our differences and our similarities.We found that the concept of marriage preparation helped us to achieve these things! It helped keep our eyes on the prize and we felt that we were still working towards a common goal, with a truly shared destination in front of us. For us it was an invaluable method of growth, through which we were reassured and ultimately better prepared for our combined future together, far away from my homeland.

So what can you do to grow together even when you are miles apart and communication is at best limited? There are, after all, so many couples nowadays approaching the aisle under the stress of distance. Without the luxury of attending pre-marital counselling or weekend seminars together (as many do) there are still some great options to get yourselves ready! Here are some resources that we actually used, completing studies and questions sometimes together over Skype, but more often alone,  followed up by in depth sharing and meaningful dialogue. I would suggest a 'marriage project' such as those listed below to anyone. For me it increased my confidence in our compatibility, in his capacity to care for me once I made the big move and in our ability to problem solve and show compassion as a couple.

Just a few little suggestions!... Resources:

'Getting Ready For Marriage Workbook' - We used this book purely as an instrument to get us going with important conversations we knew we needed to have before saying 'I Do'. The different sections facilitated talks about finances, religion, children, family, health, sex and many more. Accompanied with a quiz in each subject area this is a nice starter tool to identify the major similarities and differences you have and begin to resolve them.

'iMarriage' by Andy Stanley - This is a study that I did myself and then later shared with my fiance. It presents itself in six 'sessions' and teaches Christian based lessons on marital expectations, the roles of husbands and wives while delving into the theology of a marriage based around and including God. Obviously this one is aimed toward Christian couples but we found it really enlightening and the style of writing was easygoing and succinct. This study raised a lot of questions for us both, as individuals and as a couple. Very inspiring. Likewise, 'Staying In Love' also by Andy Stanley is a great follow up resource, full of thought provoking ideas about what we each bring to our marriages.

'Five Love Languages' by Gary Chapman - This book a a fascinating must read! With great insight into how we all need to be loved, this is a great resource to help you both explore what you need everyday just to sense affection. Whether it's gifts, physical contact, moral support or daily thank you's, this book will help identify what you each relate to and will explain how to adapt your behaviour to give AND get the most our of your relationship. This lives on our bedroom bookshelf all the time!

There are so many websites, books, DVD's and workshops out there on the subject of marriage preparation. The suggestions I have included are limited because they are what we ourselves have used, as opposed to ones I could gather from an internet search. Look around and have an idea what you want to learn about each other. Happy sharing folks!

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