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marriage prep

May 12, 2010

No couple has ever been or ever will be so prepped for their marital union.

Okay, one maybe two couples have been or will be, but seriously, i think we plan more for our marriage then for our wedding. With only four and a half months left til the wedding, some may say this is not the smartest decision, but I say its been one of the wisest decisions we’ve made. Soon after we got engaged we started working through “Before You Plan Your Wedding…Plan Your Marriage” (clearly we took the title VERY literally) by Greg & Erin Smalley. It has very practical advice for relational living, whether that be in marriage or friendship or parenthood. The book is full of intellect that comes from one of the author’s PhD in Psychology and overflows with wisdom froma marriage that started out a bit rocky. As well as that book, we are reading a devotional book “Before You Say ‘I Do'” by H. Norman Wright, a cute book with two-page devotionals that serve as conversation starters and as jumpstarts for your marital prayer life. Pretty neat.

Also, let it be said, that relationships and their issues and conflicts seem to be infinitely easier when they involve two people who are consistently seeking after their own inner healing, as well as healing for the unit!

Back to all things prep. We are grateful for the incredible blessing of taking a marriage prep course from Alyn & AJ Jones. Through Grace Center, we are participating in a ten week course designed to prepare you for marriage (Bonus: we get a discount on our marriage certificate!). The chosen curriculum for the course is Danny Silk’s Loving on Purpose: Defining the Relationship.

This past week we learned about the power of choice.  The fact is that love, being in love, marriage, all of these are choices.  Alyn Jones summed this up by stating “I’m not married to A.J. because I’m in love with her, I’m in love with her because I’m married to her.”

The issue that resonated most with me (ashley) was the part about one’s own ‘happiness’ being a choice. So often I get caught up in letting my life, friends, environment dictating my emotional state. The sayings (or more often thoughts-the unhealed part of me is non-confrontational): “i only have the love that you give me”, “i am dependent on you for my happiness”,”your actions, words and thoughts dictate my emotions”, “you make me feel…”, “i’m only worth what people think of me”, have plagued my mind since childhood. Spurred on by this session, i have decided to challenge myself to not place blame for my emotions on anything external, and instead look internally for the cause. Justin encouraged me to state out loud-“that’s a lie”- if ever I catch myself thinking any of these things.  What has been really beautiful about my time with the Lord this week is that He has revealed to me why I have believed these lies and replaced them with His truth about me. Also from that this week I have felt more confident in communicating in love that I am worth more than the way I am sometimes treated. That was crazy-a nonconfrontational person asserting their God-given worth. Come on!

We encourage anyone in a serious relationship to look into the books mentioned in this post (the links will open into new windows). Progressing towards a healthy, healed level is vital for any relationship.

I (ashley) am ecstatic that I get to marry Justin, and I am so glad that we are doing all this prep work before we get married, i can already tell it is going to pay off!



We highly recommend-Talk on healthy boundaries: Part 1 and Part 2


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