This is a short course preparing a couple to be married. There are three sets of questions to consider individually and discuss as a couple, before you meet with the minister to discuss them together.
The questions are in this booklet which you can download and print. Marr Prep 3
Obviously these times of mutual discovery will be of greatest benefit if they are approached with prayer, humour and complete honesty and openness on both sides.
SESSION 1 Your Ideal Marriage
Chat through your answers to the questions below. Where do you agree, or disagree, and WHY? Talk about anything which influences your answers, especially events or people in the past. How will your home be like, or unlike, other homes you have known?
IN YOUR IDEAL FOR MARRIAGE ……..
- Who cooks the meals?
- Who does the washing up?
- Who wields the vacuum cleaner?
- Who cleans the bathroom?
- Who does the gardening?
- Who washes the clothes?
- Who makes sure that the quarterly bills get paid?
- Who does the day-to day shopping?
- Who chooses the colours for the new carpets?
- Who does the decorating?
- Who mends the leaking pipe?
- Who climbs the ladders?
- Who drives the car?
- Who looks after the car(s) (petrol, services, etc.)?
- Who answers when the phone rings at 2 a.m.?
- Who chooses where to go on holiday?
- Who books the details of the holiday?
- Who chooses what clothes the husband wears?
- Who chooses what clothes the wife wears?
- Who chooses “what’s for dinner?”?
- Who has the final say about what you watch on TV?
- Who empties the kitchen bin?
- What time do you go to bed?
- Who writes the notes to the milkman?
- Who locks up at night?
- What time do you get up in the morning?
- Who makes the early morning tea?
- Who uses the bathroom first?
- Whose name is first when you sign a joint letter?
- If there is a clash, whose job is more important?
SESSION 2 Let’s be practical
When you are in love, many practical questions can get overlooked in the excitement of “getting married”. Here are some of them, to use as a “checklist” as the day approaches. It is VERY important that both partners are in agreement and are completely happy about ALL these decisions. “Little niggles” can be swept under the carpet now, only to emerge as major problems later.
- How much do you have saved for the marriage? How much will you have left after wedding, honeymoon etc., to spend on your new home together? If you have little savings, or worse still expect to begin marriage with unpaid debts, you should remember that money problems damage more marriages than almost any other single factor. You should aim to have significant savings several months before the wedding, ready to meet bills as they arise.
- What will be your income after marriage? Will you both work, and could you manage on one income when the other must stop working for children? Especially if one of you is moving to a new area it is important to sort out the job(s) a few months before the wedding.
- Check now that you will have the money to meet the regular bills: rent/mortgage ,rates, fuels, telephone, transport, clothing, FOOD, etc.!
- How will you organise your money? Separate bank accounts, or joint? What about changes of name on documents, cheque cards, savings accounts, etc.?
- Have you considered making or changing a will?
- Where are you going to live? Will you buy, rent, or stay with family (a situation to be avoided if at all possible!)? A home new to you both is often better than one “staying put” and the other moving in. This should be finalised if possible 3 months before the wedding, so that furniture can be moved, decoration done and the neighbourhood explored.
- Furniture is useful! Have you enough? It may take years to build a home together, but a bed, a table, chairs and some storage units will be a very helpful start. Washing machines, fridges,and TV are luxuries but some things to cook with, to heat the home and to clean it are surely essentials, and these things are best sorted out at least a month before the big day. Check now that you will have enough money in hand for furniture, decoration and removal expenses.
- Where will you go to church? You will be looking for a loving church, with good teaching and worship which suits you BOTH, where you will happily take friends and bring up children. This is best decided before anything else!
- Have you both given some thought to the physical side of marriage, talked openly with each other and perhaps read some helpful books or discussed things with married Christian friends, or even your doctor?
- What approach will you take to birth control? This must be discussed with doctor or family planning clinic and then agreed between you three months before the wedding.
“Before the Big Day” – some important deadlines :
6-12 months: Church/minister/organist; reception; honeymoon.
6 months : Bridesmaids/Best Man/Guest list; photographer; car.
3 months : Dress/suit/ring(s)/hymns/music/registrar; cake/flowers/invitations
PART 1 – How well do we know each other?
Spend a few minutes talking about on each of these questions.
- Where would you most like to go for a holiday, and why?
- What kind of films, T.V. and radio programmes, and other entertainments do you enjoy, or hate?
- What is your favourite food and drink? What can’t you eat?
- What is your clearest memory from childhood?
- How should children best be educated, and disciplined?
- What animal would you keep as a pet, or don’t you like pets?
- What do you admire most in your partner?
- What would you like to change in your partner, if you could?
- What is the place of sexual intercourse in marriage? How often? When? Where? Why?
- What do you hope to receive from your partner to build up your Christian life and spirituality?
Marriage is a marvellous adventure. As a couple discover more and more about one another, they will love each other more too. But even the most perfectly matched couple will not agree about everything (which is probably just as well!). So you should be prepared for a lifetime of exciting surprises, and also each expect to find areas where you must change to suit your partner.
PART 2 – How well will we cope?
Spend at least five minutes talking about each of these situations. Finally, take ten minutes to talk about the “summary” questions at the end.
- You are deciding where you will live. What factors will most influence your decisions, and why? (e.g. proximity to family, type of neighbourhood, nearness to a good church, etc.) You are choosing your new home together. Which features are most important, and least important, to you as you make your choice? (e.g. kitchen, bedroom, garden, convenience to shops, etc.)
- You unexpectedly come into £10,000. What would you do with the money? (e.g. new car, long holiday abroad, etc.) Who would have the final say on how the money is spent? Would the question of who decides be affected by which one in fact received the money?
- Your diaries have clashed! Each has independently booked to go out somewhere different, to events where it is absolutely essential that you go as a couple. How will you decide which event gets priority, and which of you will have the very difficult job of cancelling their engagement?
- A close relative living some distance away is very ill and needs you to go and stay with them for some weeks. You could be free to go but your partner could not. What would be your reaction to such a period of enforced separation?
- You are talking about something when your partner gets up, walks out of the room and slams the door without saying a word! What would you do?
Only starry-eyed romantics think of marriage as a relationship without any differences of opinion or disagreements. The strength of any marriage lies in the ability to resolve differences positively, by learning to communicate (especially in times of stress), thinking of one’s partner before oneself, and adapting to one another’s needs, moods and attitudes.
Based on all you have discovered about each other in these sessions (and all your other experiences together, of course) answer these questions jointly, as honestly as you can.
(i) How well do you communicate with each other your ideas, your feelings and your needs?
(ii) How well do you think your partner understands you?
(iii) How well do you think you will cope with major crises?
(iv) What will you do, before marriage and after, to increase your abilities to relate to each other, to care for each other better and to talk even more freely together?
(v) Have these sessions brought to light any areas of possible stress or conflict between you?
VERY FEW couples would deny that such areas exist, even in the happiest of marriages. How are you each prepared to change in order to prevent such areas damaging your marriage?