1. LEARN

Read + Listen
One of the best decisions you can make when you are engaged is to learn as much as possible about marriage. You will reap the benefits of everything you learn during this time for many years to come! Be sure to read several books that focus on specific topics related to marriage: prayer (The Power of a Praying Wife / The Power of a Praying Husband by Stormie Omartian), having a Christ centered marriage (The Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas), how to affair-proof our marriage (His Needs Her Needs by Willard Harley), communication (Love and Respect by Emerson Eggeriches), love language (The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman) and sex (Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman).

Listen to J.D. Greear’s sermon series “First Love“. It covers everything from fighting to sex, and will spark some good conversation.

Take a Class about Finances
The single most impactful thing that you can do is go through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Yes, it’s a time commitment, but it is incredibly worth it. Money can be the source of so much fighting and angst in a marriage. FPU can save your marriage before it becomes a problem! It can make money a uniting factor. Run, don’t walk, to a Financial Peace University class near you. (And I promise – there’s way more to FPU than to Dave’s books or his radio show! But if you absolutely can’t go to the class, be sure to read his Total Money Makeover book instead!)

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2. INVEST

Marriage Counseling
Going through marriage counseling will help illuminate blind spots. It will help you understand one another on a deeper level! No matter how your pastor or counselor leads you through counseling, it’s a great idea to have someone to ask questions to and to gain advice from.

Don’t Do it Alone
Seek counsel and wisdom from a couple you trust, love and respect, and be honest and open in that process with your thoughts, fears, and expectations in what’s to come. Ask them to pray for you individually and for your marriage.

Find a Church Home
Ephesians 2:19 says, “You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” Get plugged into a small group, preferably made up of people who have done this whole marriage thing a little longer than you have. Take the next step and begin serving together in your church. Practice the act of spiritually growing together as one.

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3. BE INTENTIONAL

Dream
Make time to dream about your future together and time to be excited about your marriage! Talk about kids, your home, pets and big picture goals! Say things out loud to each other even if they feel scary! Start making time to pray together regularly.

Date
Plan intentional dates where you don’t talk about wedding planning. Be silly with each other – have a dance party, go to a trampoline park or get ice cream. Take time to breathe and remind yourself what’s most important!

Document
Keep a journal filled with how you’re feeling, memories, prayers, what you’re looking forward to, and what you’re fearful of. I promise you, this will be a treasured possession for years to come!

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