Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married
People don't get married planning to divorce. Divorce is the result of a lack of preparation for marriage and the failure to learn the skills of working together as teammates in an intimate relationship. What is ironic is that we recognize the need for education in all other pursuits of life and fail to recognize that need when it comes to marriage. Most people spend far more time in preparation for their vocation than they do in preparation for marriage. Therefore, it should not be surprising that they are more successful in their vocational pursuits than they are in reaching the goal of marital happiness.
The decision to get married will impact one's life more deeply than almost any decision in life. Yet people continue to rush into marriage with little or no preparation for making a marriage successful. In fact, many couples give far more attention to making plans for the wedding than making plans for marriage. The wedding festivities last only a few hours, while the marriage, we hope, will last for a lifetime.
Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married is not a book on how to plan a wedding. This is a book on how to have a successful marriage. I've spent the last thirty-five years of my life counseling with couples whose dreams of a happy marriage have been shattered in the real world of dirty dishes, unpaid bills, conflicting work schedules, and crying babies. With hard work and months of counseling, many of these couples have gone on to have good marriages. For that, I am grateful.
It is my conviction that many of these struggles could have been avoided had the couple taken time to prepare more thoroughly for marriage. That is why I wrote this book. I want you to learn from their mistakes. It is much less painful than learning from your own mistakes. I want you to have the kind of loving, supportive, mutually beneficial marriage that you envision. However, I can assure you, that kind of marriage will not happen simply because you get married. You must make time to discover and practice the proven marital guidelines that make such a marriage possible.
For the individual who is not in a dating relationship and has no immediate prospects of marriage, the book will provide a blueprint on moving from singleness to marriage. For the couple who is dating but not yet engaged, it will help you decide if and when to announce your plans to get married. For the engaged couple, it will help you examine the foundation and learn the skills that are necessary for building a successful marriage.
As I look back over the early years of my marriage, I wish someone had told me what I am about to tell you. I honestly think I would have listened. However, in my generation, the concept of "preparation for marriage" did not exist. I'm hoping that my openness about my own marriage will help you avoid some of the pain and frustration that Karolyn and I experienced.
It is my desire that you will prepare for your marriage as though it were the most important human relationship you will ever have. If you give it your full and best attention, you will be on the road to seeing your dreams of marital happiness come true. Remember, your wedding day is just the beginning!
Adapted from the introduction of
Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman
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