Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married

Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married

Gary Chapman’s Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married is great for anyone who wants to be married, whether you are currently in a partnership or single.  Chapman does a great job breaking out his ideas for a strong foundation, explaining how he and his wife navigated through them, and offering questions for discussion so that you could work through them with a potential partner.  A very easy read, and extremely practical.

Chapman says, “For the individual who is not in a dating relationship and has no immediate prospects of marriage, the book will provide a blueprint on moving from singleness to marriage.  For the couple who is dating but not yet engaged, it will help you decide if and when to announce your plans to get married.  For the engaged couple, it will help you examine the foundation and learn the skills that are necessary for building a successful marriage. (11).”  If you are already married, he also offers valuable advice to help navigate the early years.

The things he shares:

That being in love is not an adequate foundation for building a successful marriage

…and what happens when the initial feelings of butterflies wear off.

That romantic love has two stages

The first stage might feel easy or like it doesn’t feel like it requires work.  The second stage is much more intentional, requiring effort and speaking to each other in their love languages.

That the saying “Like mother, like daughter” and “Like father, like son” is not a myth

We are greatly influenced by our parents.  It is hard to recognize things that are unhealthy for the relationship because it’s what we grew up with.  It can take real effort to change any habits, and it should start before a marriage.

How to solve disagreements without arguing

After talking things out, you can meet in the middle, meet on one side, or table the conversation for later.  The key is to listen to each other and respect the other’s view.

That apologizing is a sign of strength

There are no healthy marriages without apologies and without forgiveness.  He breaks out the five apology languages: expressing regret, accepting responsibility, making restitution, genuinely expressing the desire to change your behavior, and requesting forgiveness.

That forgiveness is not a feeling

Forgiveness does not erase a memory or remove consequences.  Forgiveness does not rebuild trust, but it makes a restoration of trust possible.  Forgiveness does not result in reconciliation, but it offers hope for a reconciliation that each partner can choose to work toward.

That toilets are not self-cleaning

Women used to be the homemaker and men used to be the breadwinners, but now modern gender roles are more fluid.  It can cause difficulties in cohabitation if you don’t discuss beforehand.

That we needed a plan for handling our money

You have to be on the same page for saving, spending, debts and credit.  You can only get there through talking about it.  Not having money when you are just starting out is not an excuse to avoid the topic.

That mutual sexual fulfillment is not automatic

He shares eight insightful ideas about intercourse within relationships.

That I was marrying into a family

Think about the how the other person’s family fits into your life, including holidays, communication styles, and speaking your in-laws’ love languages.

That spirituality is not to be equated with “going to church”

A person’s beliefs affect the way they live their life, even if they are an atheist.  It’s important to understand what a partner’s spirituality means to them and how compatible you are.

That personality profoundly influences behavior

A morning person or a night person, an optimist or a pessimist, a neatnik or a slob, a talker or a listener, passive or aggressive, logical or intuitive, organized or spontaneous… each personality impacts your marriage in a different way, and it can take some work to overcome differences.

In Summary…

This is a great book for preparing to establish a partnership.  I recommend reading through it and thinking about your own responses to the questions if you are single, or working through it together if you have a partner.   It does have Christian leanings, but they are not central to any of the major ideas.  I’ve also bought this book for friends upon their engagement.  Definitely a recommended read!

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