If you’re in a season of life before marriage, there are some habits that you can develop today that will prepare you for a more purposeful, fulfilling marriage. Marriage is one of the toughest jobs and will not last if the foundation is not built correctly. You’ve probably heard the statistic that close to 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Why is this so high, you might ask? Divorce usually occurs because the two individuals can not agree on one or more of the following topics: money, parenting, addictions, sex, or religion. Setting expectations and facilitating a means of communication before getting married will allow you to work through the difficulties that these topics present. Protect your marriage before it even starts by implementing these 5 habits to begin before marriage.
Today we are discussing 5 habits to begin before marriage. These 5 habits include:
Humans are selfish individuals. I would even dare to say that America is a selfish culture. We are constantly struggling with a selfish desire. If you haven’t learned how to control your selfishness and turn it into service, this is your first task before getting married.
Marriages thrive on sacrifice. The bible goes as far as saying to “lay down your life” for your spouse (1 John 3:16). Even simple tasks like doing the dishes, taking out the trash, or bringing home your spouses’ favorite treat leads to a life of service over selfishness.
Another way to flee selfishness is by pursuing your own spiritual health. Throughout scripture you’ll find numerous displays of sacrificial love. I am a true believer that what you put into your mind is what you become. If you are constantly reading about sacrificial love, your actions will soon follow.
Lastly, eliminating distractions is an act of selflessness. When someone is speaking to you, do you put your phone down? Are you creating uninterrupted time to hang out with your friends and family? How much screen time have you had this week? Eliminating distractions and replacing them with connection is a version of service.
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
In a group or with your significant other, PRAY. Pray without stopping. It can be scary and uncomfortable to pray out loud in the beginning, but as you practice and ask the Holy Spirit for words, it gets easier. Why is praying out loud so important? It’s an act of unity between you and your significant other. Prayer deepens emotional intimacy which is integral to the health of a marriage. It provides direction for your life. Prayer facilitates communication between you and your spouse. Prayer ignites connection. Don’t you want unity, emotional intimacy, direction, communication and connection in your marriage? Get comfortable with praying out loud.
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
I know of many couples who have a specific time and day every week for their dates. Unfortunately, some schedules (including mine!) don’t allow for that kind of planning. Even with crazy schedules, it’s SO important to prioritize dating – even after the wedding day.
Find a certain time, day, or timeline that works for you and your significant other. Practice the 2/2/2 theme if that’s what works for you. What is the 2/2/2 theme? Every two weeks go somewhere local for a date. Every two months go somewhere within driving distance for a date weekend. Every 2 years, plan a major travel destination for a week to get away. Intentionality is the key.
Where do you want to go to dinner? This has to be the worst question ever. Instead of asking “Where do you want to go for supper,” ask “How about we try that new Chinese restaurant on Friday night.” Be intentional. Make plans. Prioritize time together.
Up until marriage, most people are used to handling their money individually. You’ve had absolutely no experience sharing your money, your expenses, or your income. It’s one thing to talk about how much money you make, but it’s another thing to talk about how much you spend.
I, personally, love getting my eyebrows done every 4 weeks. When we first got married, my husband had no concept or idea that every 4 weeks I would be spending $40-50 on my eyebrows. Similarly, I never once thought about buying a case of bullets every weekend during hunting season (my husband’s spending of choice).
Some expenses, like eyebrows and hunting supplies aren’t necessarily up for discussion any more, but large expenses like buying a new car, investing in a retirement fund, or purchasing a home should be things you talk about on a regular basis. You may also need to consider a certain dollar amount that requires a conversation before spending.
Another topic you and your significant other should talk about is debt. How much do you currently have? Are you willing to take out more debt? And if so, what types of purchases warrant debt? Once you’re married, that debt is no longer “their debt” it’s now YOUR debt. Don’t expect your significant other’s view on debt to change in marriage.
Are you going to have joint banking accounts? Who’s going to make sure the bills are paid? What savings goals do you have? Do we need to make a budget? Are we going to donate any of our money and if so, where? These are all questions that can be answered before you get married.
Your marriage should not revolve around money, but because it’s a leading cause of divorce, it should be a topic that you and your spouse talk about openly. Therefore, discussing money, practicing good money habits, and learning to be open and honest about your money habits with your significant other can impact your future marriage significantly.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Community is hard. Friendships are hard. Creating friendships and community after your marriage is even harder. But community is essential to our being. Entering into a community doesn’t just happen, you have to intentionally strive for it. Even when others don’t initiate, you have to initiate. Be the one to reach out and ask to hang out. Invite other couples over for dinner or a game night. Be intentional about hanging out with other married couples or soon-to-be married couples. Having a close-knit group of friends can help weather the storms of marriage and life.
A great way to begin finding a community for you and your significant other is to join a church. Our generation likes to believe that going to church once a week is enough. But if you want to find solid friendships and community, you have to be willing to invest more than that. Find a life group to attend or ask the couple in front of you out for lunch after church on Sunday. These simple extensions of friendship could lead to a life-long relationship.
In some instances, your marriage may need to discuss a limit on community. If you are constantly hanging out with your friends over your significant other, your priorities need to be realigned. Friends should be building each other’s marriages up, not creating a hindrance. Overall, find yourself a community and learn to juggle friendships with your relationship.
Romans 12: 5-6
So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.
If you dedicate yourself to implementing these habits now, I can guarantee that your marriage will be much easier in the future. However, your relationship will never be perfect. Hardships will always be present in marriage, but if you have a solid foundation laid using these 5 habits to begin before marriage, hardships will be easier to overcome.
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