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I entered a new phase of my life recently when I got engaged to a insanely attractive blonde named Ginger. We have been dating for 2 years and got engaged about two weeks ago.
Now the planning begins, not only for flowers and cakes, but spiritually for us. We have had many talks before we became engaged and a few recently about how we are going to prepare for marriage while being in the rush of life and ministry. I have looked at the statistics and it is crazy that the Barna group came out with a study in 2008 that said 1/3 of marriages end in divorce. Obviously, there are many factors that could led to that, but the number is still alarming. And for myself, divorce is not an option so Ginger and I want to safeguard ourselves before we say “I do”.
The following are some of the things that Ginger and I have done before engagement and continue to do to ensure we can honor God in our new family and in our lives. If you are dating or engaged, remember not only to pastor your church but your relationship.
For those of you who are married, please share your wisdom about these things below. I would love to learn from dudes who are in it!
The first and most obviously thing to do that has ensured each of us are in a place to serve and love Jesus as a family was to serve and love Jesus individually first. While dating, we would ask how we could pray for one another, what the other was reading, and have conversations about what God was doing in our lives. It hasn’t always been super deep and regular, but it was always quality time to center our relationship around Jesus first.
For the married couples, here is a no brainer. However, for dating and engaged couples this is really needed! If we don’t communicate — the relationship suffers. That’s the same with Jesus, but that’s for another post. I have learned that communications fleshes itself out differently for me than it does my fiancé. So, as we grow together, we’re working on making sure communication is consistent and clear.
Right now, regular dates are the hardest to fight for. Life and ministry is busy. We’re learning that whether it is cutting the phone off to watch a movie or getting away for a day trip, those times together add to the communication and overall health of our relationship. I haven’t always been the best at this, but I am learning that when we are on those dates to set the phone down. Every text and call do not require an immediate answer.
We’re focusing on these things as we prepare ourselves for marriage, doing ministry together, and just living life as one.
If you’re married, I’d love for you to give some insight and advice to guys like us just getting started. I know I would love to dialogue about it!