My guy and I lead the Couples Ministry at our church, and our focus so far has been on three distinct groups of people: engaged couples marrying in the next six months, married couples who want to deepen their relationships and couples who are struggling to live under the same roof. We are in the process of rolling out a plan to assist all three types of couples, each with very different needs.
Along with another couple, we started a seven week pre-marital small group, meeting with six couples who are mere months away from walking down the aisle. One third of them will become married over the course of the group meetings. It is so exciting to have the opportunity to sit down and talk with these young people who have stars in their eyes and big plans for the future. It’s also pretty challenging because….stars and plans and all.
Our initial idea was to use pre-packaged curriculum that walks them through what scripture (King James version!) says about marriage, shames them for having pre-marital sex and teaches the importance of covenant relationships. Then we started thinking of these couples as people, and how would we want our children to be led when they grow up and make these big plans? Some of these couples are not believers, coming to church with their intended for the first time in their lives. We landed on putting together some talks that utilize scripture and our experience, sprinkled with You Tube videos and open ended questions. Honestly, if we bring them a step closer to Christ, I think we can call it a success.
We are hitting on topics like, Why Get Married?, Love & Understanding, Communication, Conflict & Forgiveness, Money and Intimacy. I’m wondering what you wish you had been told right before you met your fiancée at the end of the aisle and said, I do. I don’t know if I would have listened at all, but I keep coming back to the same message that could have really helped me: marriage is hard, and it’s worth it.
So, you are sitting in our living room with these bright-eyed young couples and you’ve got the floor – what would you say? And if you have some great You Tube videos to share, I would love to hear about those, too!
I would say: Go to bed at the same time as much as possible,eat meals together as much as possible, no tv in the bedroom, sleep naked (even when you have children in the house), and do everything in your power to keep the trajectory of your relationship pointing toward your spouse. (I hope that makes sense)
romantic entanglements aside, who do you want to be in 10+ years? what about your darling love? if these don’t mess you have a problem.
mesh, not mess
Yes, good point.
I say, never stop dating. Don’t take your foot off the gas just because you are married. Continue the pursuit. It will look different during different seasons of life but stay intentional. Dating is a practice that you can get better and better at if you don’t stop. Life will throw things at you but the passion and desire you have for each other don’t have to be casualties. Get into the routine of dating regularly, make it a habit, let it be sacred.
My best advice is….IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU. So many people are in it for “making ME happy”. I’ll celebrate 30 yr anniversary this summer!
Congratulations! And thanks for reading!
I’m not married, not in a relationship, but here’s one (lol): Laugh with me, share stories with me, be gentle with my fragile heart, listen to me, a verbal apology means more to me than flowers, appreciate my effort, remember we’re partners you and I me and you, when you’re angry please don’t scream at me. Not much, but these are a few things I’d like.
Read The Five Love Languages, and learn about different personality types. Sometimes the ways you think you are serving him/her don’t do much of anything, because they have a different love language/personality. Bless you guys for doing this important work!