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Marriage Preparation: 5 Crucial Steps to Take Before Getting Engaged

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When you find yourself head over heels in love, it’s a magical experience filled with thrills and
excitement. Love can change your world in an instant, leaving you with indescribable feelings
that seem everlasting. However, the real challenge arises when it’s time to take the next step.
How can you be sure you’re making the right decision when considering an engagement, especially with divorce rates on the rise? Being intentional about marriage preparation could
save your marriage before it starts.

Over the past 13 years, I’ve learned the complexities of marriage go far beyond the initial
feelings of love. Many couples rush into marriage without truly assessing if it’s the right choice.
Love can be blind, and powerful emotions can cloud judgment. To ensure you’re making the
right decision, it’s essential to prepare. Following these crucial steps before walking down the
aisle increases your chances of finding yourself in a successful and fulfilling marriage.
If you’re in a serious dating relationship, contemplating an engagement, or already engaged,
here are five practical considerations to meditate on before tying the knot:

happy couple holding dog with the text: marriage preparation 5 crucial steps to take before getting engaged

Marriage Preparation

  1. Prioritize Your Intentions
    Before considering marriage, ask yourself why you want to get married in the first place. Are
    you looking to fill a void in your life? Are you feeling pressured by your partner? It is vitally
    important to recognize that getting married for these reasons can lead to rocky waters.
    Marriage is a precious gift that deserves careful thought. During my engagement, I came across a wise quote: “Don’t get so caught up in planning a wedding that you forget to plan a
    Remember that a wedding is purely an event, while a marriage is a lifelong
    commitment. Ensure your priorities are aligned with the long-term journey.

Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build
your house.

Proverbs 24:27 ESV

2. Embrace Self-Honesty
When love is in the air, it’s easy to become enamored and overlook your partner’s flaws. You
have convinced yourself that your significant other is perfect for you in every way. Many people fall into the trap of believing that marriage will solve existing relationship issues when, in reality, it often magnifies them. To stay grounded, create a list of your partner’s flaws. It is easy to focus on their positive traits, but identifying their imperfections can help you make a well-formed decision about marrying them. Everyone has flaws; acknowledging them and thinking about how they might affect your future will aid in your groundwork. It’s better to be prepared for challenges before they arise.

Before I got married, my husband revealed he occasionally struggled with anxiety. I never truly
saw it when we were dating because everything was always great. Once we got married, I saw
his anxiety rise to a new level. He would need a lot of encouragement and support that I didn’t
know how to give at first. We had to learn how to work through it. If I wasn’t willing to stand
behind my husband through his struggles, then our marriage could have fallen into a dangerous
place very quickly. Our journey together forced us to confront this issue head-on. Honesty and
self-reflection are key.

Ask yourself the hard questions and be honest. If you can’t find any flaws in your significant
other, that is a sign that you have not been dating long enough.

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Psalm 51:6 ESV
image of couple standing in roadway with heart that says just married for the post Marriage Preparation: 5 Crucial Steps to Take Before Getting Engaged

3. Serve Together
To truly get to know the heart of a person, get involved in a ministry within your church or
community together. Collaborating on a cause greater than yourselves can bring depth
and purpose to your relationship. It can either strengthen your bond or reveal your partner’s
true nature. When you work together, you operate as a team, and this experience can be

You may discover your partner is enthusiastic about serving, or they may lack
interest or dedication. This shared service can strengthen your bond and deepen your spiritual
connection. Your spiritual beliefs must align, as a solid spiritual foundation can be the
cornerstone of a successful marriage. If you find yourselves not on the same page spiritually, it’s
a significant sign that you should reconsider marriage.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of
God’s grace in its various forms. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

1 Peter 4:10-11 ESV

4. Seek Professional Guidance

Don’t wait until you’re engaged to seek counseling. Engaging with a licensed counselor, pastor,
or mentor should occur well before a proposal. Love often sways judgment, making it
challenging to gauge your partner objectively. Trustworthy professionals or experienced
individuals can provide valuable insights and guidance.

Before my engagement, I had a candid conversation with one of my pastors and spiritual mentors who also happens to be my dad. I sought his opinion because I knew he would be the most critical of my choice for a life partner. His approval meant a lot to me because I was confident he had my best interests.

Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.

Proverbs 15:22 ESV

The form you have selected does not exist.

5. Pray for Clarity

Prayer works. If you are a seasoned believer, you are familiar with the power of the Holy Spirit.
That inner voice can provide invaluable wisdom and discernment. Ultimately, if you want
assurance in knowing you’re making the right decision in choosing your life partner, then ask
God. He will guide you and make His intentions clear if you listen.

When I was in college and considering a future engagement, I had a heated argument with my
then-boyfriend that deeply troubled me, so much so that I went to an empty parking lot to
pray. I asked God for a clear sign if he was the one for me. Suddenly, I felt an unexplained sense
of peace, and as I looked up, I saw the most vibrant rainbow I have ever witnessed. It was a
moment of profound clarity, and from that day on, I never doubted our relationship again.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it
will be given him

James 1:5 ESV

Once you have a green light in these areas, you can feel confident about taking the next steps.
Remember, putting God at the center of your life and your relationship is essential for a
successful, lifelong, and joyous marriage journey.

You may enjoy one of these recommended resources:

Getting Ready for Marriage: A Practical Road Map for Your Journey Together by Jim Burns, Doug Fields

Preparing for Marriage by Dennis Rainey

Preparing for Marriage: Help for Christian Couples by John Piper

photo of guest author Tiffany Ave'

Tiffany Avé
Tiffany is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana with a passion for advocating for engaged and married couples in every stage of life. She has been married for 13 years to her husband Cody, and they have 3 young children. Tiffany is currently a graduate student at Winebrenner Theological Seminary studying clinical counseling with aspirations to assist in premarital and restorative counseling surrounding couples.

ESV – “Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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