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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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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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One consistent thread at Southern Weddings is that we want to challenge you to think differently during your engagement – to interrupt any frustrating, paralyzing, negative thoughts and either swoop in with a solution or offer another perspective. Frustrated with a ballooning budget? Let’s talk about what really matters and ways to cut costs. Over the idea of tossing your bouquet? Skip it! We’ve got some other traditions you might like better.

Think premarital prep is a waste of time? Think again, my friends! We consistently hear from the couples we feature on SW how valuable, enlightening, challenging (in a good way!), and FUN the time they spent preparing for their marriage was.

If you’re open to the idea but not sure where to start, let me introduce you to To Have and To Hold by Carla and Byron Weathersbee, executive directors of a retreat center in Texas. (They’re the very couple who walked Chip and Joanna Gaines through pre-marital counseling, and as we all know, if there’s any couple who qualifies for #relationshipgoals, it’s those two!)

To Have and To Hold is a great resource for Christian couples leading up to their vows or in their first few years of marriage. In each of eight sessions (designed to be completed in eight weeks), you’ll work through four simple activities that address some of the issues vital to a healthy, lifelong relationship. Ideally, the sessions are designed for you to work through as a couple and then to meet with a pastor, mentor, or small group of other engaged couples for encouragement.

“Our goal in To Have and To Hold is for the two of you to interact, discuss, and possibly debate the subject matter,” say Byron and Carla. “We believe it is better for you to discuss your thoughts, ideals, fears, and questions rather than simply read the latest resource regarding each issue. We encourage you to color outside the lines and creatively adapt each session to meet your needs as you work through the study book.”

To Have and To Hold can help you:
— Understand the biblical purpose for marriage to establish a foundation that provides stability and oneness in your relationship
— Follow responsible stewardship principles for financial freedom
— Challenge your thinking regarding needs, intimacy, and oneness in marriage
— Grow in spiritual maturity together
— Learn the necessary skills to effectively communicate and manage conflict
— Create healthy expectations for marriage

The To Have and To Hold study book retails for $12.99 and can be purchased online here.

I’d love to hear: did you and your future spouse do any sort of premarital prep? Did you feel like it was helpful? Did it bring up any unexpected issues? Was it fun? :)

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

emily Written with love by Emily
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  1. avatar Alaina reply

    FYI- the links to cutting costs and to other traditions aren’t working!

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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