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Did you know that less than one fifth of current marriages are preceded by any type of formal marriage preparation??? While we love gorgeous gowns and pretty wedding day details, we’re also big believers in preparing for your marriage and all the life that happens after those beautiful ‘I dos.’ Over the last few weeks, it’s been our joy to share a few different premarital resources, covering topics from money to love and respect, because we know that joining two lives means coming together on a lot of different issues.

As someone who’s a sucker for a good personality test and an advocate for the importance of communication (hello, I was a communications major in college!), Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts might just be my favorite premarital prep resource we’ve shared to date.

Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts is more than just a book – it’s a self-guided course that includes questions at the end of every chapter. The companion workbooks (hers + his) are full of exercises to help you apply what you learn along the way and individually-taken tests (I told you I love a good personality quiz!). Everything points to important conversation topics and is designed to facilitate good discussion – perfect for a cozy date night? :)

A few important topics the book addresses:
– Uncovering the most important misbeliefs of marriage.
– Learning how to communicate with instant understanding.
– Discovering the secret to reducing and resolving conflict.
– Understanding the three essential ingredients to lasting love.

Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts also includes seven crucial questions you should ask before – or even after! – you marry.

Given my background in communication studies and personal life mission as a love (and marriage) cheerleader, I think advice with real-life, practical application is worth its weight in gold.

The good news? You don’t have to just take my word for it. After asking if anyone else had read this book on social media, the replies started pouring in! Everyone from a couple who has been married 20 years to engaged gals who started the book just weeks ago shared their experiences and love of the book:

“I got engaged and my work friends got me more marriage books than you can imagine. This is my favorite, beyond a shadow of a doubt. There’s a section in the first chapter on the unconscious roles each spouse brings into a marriage, and it was an eye-opener. It changed me from the very first chapter! I think SYMBIS is an incredible resource for all brides and brides-to-be.”

“My husband and I read SYMBIS during our engagement and it was such a valuable resource in preparing us for marriage. It’s still useful four months in!”

“We are currently re-reading SYMBIS. We’re on week 5, and it’s truly the highlight of both mine and my fiance’s week.”

Want to learn more? You can grab a copy of this New York Times Bestseller wherever books are sold in physical, audio, and e-book form. Buy it here from Amazon!

This post is sponsored by Harper Collins. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

kristin Written with love by Kristin
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The when, where, and look of a wedding seem to get all the attention, but don’t overlook the impact you can make with your song selections! Have you ever heard of those couples who make a pact to start swaying together whenever they hear their first dance song, even if it’s the grocery store? I have, and they always make me smile :)

At the same time, don’t despair if you and your fiance don’t have an obvious special song choice for your first dance — many of the Southern Weddings gals didn’t, either, but you can bet the songs we chose are special to us and our husbands now! Incorporating meaningful details from your relationship so far is one of the best ways to celebrate your love story, but your wedding day is also a great opportunity to make new memories.

If you’re looking for a totally fresh idea on the song front, we love the vintage warmth of Eamon’s new single, “Be My Girl” for a fun, upbeat option! Eamon was inspired by newlywed life with his new wife to write it – so sweet! “This is the kind of song that I’ve always wanted to write,” he says, “but it’s never come out of me. I think a lot of that has to do with being newly married and having my best friend as the love of my life.”

Photo by Rebekah Senter Photography from Rose Hill Mansion Wedding by Eventi Floral and Events

We’ve asked so many real brides to share their song selections over the years, and unsurprisingly, their inspiration has run the gamut: maybe it was playing during a pivotal moment in their relationship, it was popular when they were falling in love, or it’s the song they love to sing along to together most often.

Still others have chosen a new song they’ve fallen in love with specifically for their first dance to cement that memory in their minds (in that case, “Be My Girl” would be a perfect pick!). I also love the idea of borrowing a traditional song from your parents’ or grandparents’ first dances!


Photo by The Ganeys from Colorful New Year’s Eve Wedding by Ashton Events

Thanks to the great responses on this #SWFrontPorch post and a little brainstorming from our team, we put together this Spotify playlist for you to sashay around the kitchen to as you try out options with your beau! Here’s a cheat sheet of the tunes in store:

I’d love to hear: What first dance song are you leaning toward, or did you choose? I went with “Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin (a classic choice for our seaside wedding!), but “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz was a close second!

This post is sponsored by Red Music. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
7 Comments
  1. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    Dillon and I chose ‘The Wedding Song’ by Matt Maher… The words were everything to us and our story!

  2. avatar Jessica Allendorf reply

    My husband Tucker (best friend of 26 years) picked me up from my college the first weekend of freshmen year (his sophomore year) and brought me up to his alma mater Clemson. Riding in the truck, windows down, he played Groovin’ Slowly by John Butler Trio. We’ve been dancing to that song for 8 years now, including our first dance 2 months ago today! 5/27/17

  3. avatar Lisa reply

    “She’s Like Texas” would be a PRECIOUS first dance song!!

  4. avatar Lauren reply

    We are going to dance to “I Cross My Heart” by George Strait for our first dance. We love George and we dance to that song in our living room all the time.

  5. avatar Meghann Richardson reply

    We actually chose “I Don’t Dance” by Lee Brice. My husband does not like to be the center of attention, but chose to dance in front of 200 because he knew it was important to me. I smile every time it comes on the radio.

  6. avatar Morgan Cox reply

    We danced to “In Case You Didn’t Know” by Brett Young… it said everything that we want to say to each other!

  7. avatar Brooke Foley reply

    My husband and I danced to From the ground up by Dan and Shay. It was absolutely perfect! We loved how it incorporated wedding vows and spoke of not only the hard work marriage takes but also the heritage and legacy it builds!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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We’ve had the joy of sharing a few different premarital prep resources over the last few weeks, which I love! Different resources will speak to different couples at different times, so I think it’s wise to have a variety of perspectives on your bookshelf, don’t you?

Today’s tried and true resource, Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, hinges on a very simple finding: that in general, love best motivates a woman and respect most powerfully motivates a man.

Unfortunately, research reveals that during marital conflict a husband most often reacts unlovingly when feeling disrespected, and a wife reacts disrespectfully when feeling unloved. Yikes – that’s a recipe for a circle of hurt!

“We asked 7,000 people the question, ‘When you are in a conflict with your spouse or significant other, do you feel unloved or disrespected?’ says the author. “83% of the men said ‘disrespected’ and 72% of the women said ‘unloved.’ Though we all need love and respect equally, the felt need differs during conflict.”

Love & Respect builds on this concept to offer a new way of relating through three cycles, each centered on, well, love and respect:

— The Crazy Cycle: Couples will learn how to resolve conflict through dealing with negative reactions.
— The Energizing Cycle: They will also learn how to motivate each other by meeting each other’s needs.
— The Rewarded Cycle: Those who feel hopeless in their relationships will gain understanding on how to handle an indifferent or unresponsive partner.

If you’ve ever felt like you and your beloved aren’t speaking the same language, lean on Eggerichs’ 30+ years of counseling experience to crack the code and change the way you talk to, think about, and treat your significant other in order to make your marriage even more joy-filled.

Sound intriguing? The New York Times Bestseller Love & Respect is available wherever books are sold in physical, audio, and e-book form. Buy it here on Amazon, and grab a few accompanying freebies right here!

I’d love to hear: What’s the best relationship book you’ve ever read?

This post is sponsored by Harper Collins. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
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Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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