After a man kneels down and gives her lady that shining shimmering diamond ring, what comes next to the mind of any woman is the wedding planning. True enough, wedding planning should be done as early as possible. As soon as you say ‘yes’ to him. However, engaged women often forget that the main preparation should not only be for the wedding, but also for marriage. In fact, the focus should clearly be for marriage.
As you all know, I’ve been engaged to O since mid October 2015. In this early stage of engagement, there are things I’d like to share with you, details I’ve learned and still learning in the area of preparation. There are moments I lose my focus. Instead of focusing on the real purpose, which is marriage, I end up bombarding my thoughts with wedding ideas. I don’t want to deny that I am aiming for that “perfect” wedding. Perfect means, everything O and I pictured in our heads are going to be executed properly. But after our church prayer and fasting last week, I was convicted to have a change of heart and mind. To tell you frankly, I am giving up on that idea of perfection. Yes, I’m giving up that easily because I want to experience God in this process. So, as we go through this season of being engaged, I want to share with you how we are preparing ourselves for our married life.
1. Practice the mindset of ‘we’ than ‘I’.
Me, myself and I. For 25 years (just turned ‘silver’ the other day), my life revolves around myself. In the morning, I think of what I want to eat, where I’ll go, what I’ll do, etc. Things will change soon. And, it won’t be an easy adjustment overnight after saying “I do.”  Starting now, in decision making like when dealing with suppliers for our wedding, I’m practicing the plural pronoun “we,” instead of “I.” It’s now a partnership, not a sole proprietorship. Next to God, I’m on my way to commit my life to O, till death do us part.
2. Be mindful of your words.
Painful words towards your partner will be difficult to take back and could remain as a scar. As much as we can, we try to avoid dropping words that will hurt each other’s feelings. Not an easy task at all, especially for a woman who doesn’t run out of words. But as a couple, we have to look at the bigger picture, how it will affect our relationship. If we practice not being mindful of our words, this could be the norm in our married life, without us realizing it. Hence, it is important to be mindful of what we say, especially in times of arguments with each other. In Proverbs 15:4, it says, “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” 
3. Deal with your finances.
We acknowledge based on other people’s experiences that when it comes to this issue, romance becomes a blur and fights start to arise. As soon as we understood the stewardship of money in marriage through pre-marital counseling, which I’ll share in a while, O and I made a step to be transparent with our personal finances. We practiced being accountable to each other with our income, expenses, investments, etc. Through this, we are more conscious of how to budget our expenses and how it will affect our future goals. If you’re planning to get married, you have to sit down with your partner and discuss this issue as part of your long-term plans.
4. Pray together. Pray for each other.
I love praying with O. When I hear his prayers, I get to know more of his heart’s desires – for our relationship, for our families and for all our concerns. I just find it so romantic that we are in a love triangle relationship with God. This makes me confident in how God will also guide our steps despite challenges waiting for us. As we build our family, it’s applicable to say that a couple that prays together stays together.
5. Attend a Pre-martial seminar and take it seriously.
After a year of being in a relationship with O, we already attended a pre-marital seminar in our church in CCF. It took 2 months of weekly classes, take-home worksheets and activities. Apparently, we both felt our relationship stepped into a higher level. We understood more the holistic meaning of marriage and the beauty of it. In a way, we saw our compatibility, maturity and readiness. Plus, we learned tips from older married couples, who were at the same time inspiring to us. If you are in a relationship right now, we strongly recommend attending one, even if you aren’t engaged yet.
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