Improve Your Marriage–Before You Get Married!

by Mary-Susan Danker-Dake

If you choose to get married, your relationship with your spouse will be the single most important one of your adult life. Marriage is not just a contract between two people; it is a partnership for life—through the ups, the downs, the highs, and the lows. Marriage forms the very foundation of society and is God’s designed medium for a properly functioning community. When you are part of a strong and happy marriage, you can be an exponentially greater blessing to your family, your friends, and your community. It is an ideal to be sought after and strived toward.

The Anglican Book of Common Prayer says this about marriage:

“The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Therefore marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.”

I love the adjectives used to describe the weight of the decision to marry: “not unadvisedly or lightly,” but “reverently” and “deliberately.”

Why this reverent thought and deliberation beforehand? Why is preparation important? As Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The simple fact is, your fiancé(e), no matter how perfect he or she seem right now, is an imperfect human being who will at some point be difficult to live with. It is highly probable that at some point in your marriage, you will feel like you made the worst decision of your life in choosing this person. But if you adequately prepare beforehand, you will have the tools to overcome the challenges that life throws at you together, as a team. You will be able to come out of the difficult times stronger, more in love, and more appreciative of your partner.

On the weekend of February 12, 13, and 14, FUMC Tulsa is hosting the Marriage Preparation Course. It’s for anyone who is already engaged or in a relationship and seriously considering marriage.

The course will feature live talks from five seasoned couples who have been married for a combined 130 years and who are passionate about the success of your marriage. You will learn the importance of commitment, how to recognize and appreciate your differences, how to effectively talk and listen, how to resolve conflict, the importance of spending time together and nurturing your friendship, the importance of a good sexual relationship, and the importance of sharing your goals, values, and dreams with each other. Experienced couples will be available to help you work through the ways you are like and unlike your future spouse as well as to discuss your strengths and potential weaknesses.

The Marriage Prep weekend will include five sessions beginning the evening of Friday, February 12 and running through Sunday morning. At the start of each session, you will be served a meal with other the participants, mentor couples, and teaching couples. Once the session starts, you will be at a private table, and all conversations will be just between the two of you—no group work!

You can click here for more information about the schedule, cost, and registration. Registration includes course materials and all five meals. The Marriage Prep course is open to anyone, not just church members. Space is limited, though, so sign up by Sunday, February 7.

Mary-Susan and Josh met at Oral Roberts University and have been married for 10 years. They have two adorable children, Sophia and Paul. They have hosted The Marriage Course in Tulsa since 2012. Mary-Susan is an accountant and works for a large energy company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has lived on three continents, loves travelling, reading, hosting parties and is frighteningly passionate about all things Pioneer Woman. Read her other work for the918 here.

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