Engagement is a wonderful and exciting time in a couple’s relationship. Energy and hope about the future arise as this transition into a new phase of life begins. Wedding planning gets off the ground running, bringing with it lots of decisions and preparations to be made for the big day. But what about preparation for the actual marriage? While there are wedding planning websites, countless wedding dress boutiques, invitation companies, and caterers aplenty, where does one look to get advice about the central reason why this big day is happening in the first place?
As a newly engaged individual myself, these have been my “wonderings” over the past few months. Though I have picked a venue, bought my wedding dress, booked a photographer, and started looking at invitations, I still feel a little in the dark as far as preparing for the beginning of my marriage. Because of this, I decided to search for some advice. My goal was to find books that were based on Biblical truths and that would help me to better understand and apply these truths as I enter into married life. As I conveniently work in a library, one day I decided to see if we might have some books in the Logos that I could take a look at right away.
I began searching for lists of the most popular books for engaged couples online. I found several that seemed legitimate and intriguing, and so I began making a personalized list of the ones I was most interested in. After making my list, I decided to jump right in and see if we had any available in the library. While I do have almost 7 months until our wedding day, I wanted to get a head start on tackling my reading list! Furthermore, as I am a nursing major, time for extracurricular reading is limited, so creating my reading list was not a light matter, and I am still tweaking it as I go.
My list as it stands now has 8 books on it, but my realistic goal is to have read 5 of these by the time I graduate. Who knows, maybe I will be able to sneak a few more in in the last month before getting married? As of now I have included on my list:
- The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller
- The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman
- Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Emerson Eggerichs
- Communication in Marriage: How to Communicate with Your Spouse Without Fighting by Marcus & Ashley Kusi
- A Handbook for Engaged Couples by Alice Fryling & Robert Fryling
- Our Bucket List Adventures: A Journal for Couples by Ashley Kusi and Marcus Kusi
- Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman
- 31 Prayers for My Future Husband: Preparing My Heart for Marriage by Praying for Him by Jennifer Smith
Currently, I am on my second book. I started with The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller because I had not only read great reviews on it, but had also gotten great feedback and recommendations from friends and family. As my dad is a pastor and often facilitates marriage counseling for engaged couples, I looked to him to help me confirm my list and give me advice on which books to prioritize. I was excited that there were several books on my list that he highly recommended and has used often when leading discussions between couples. The Meaning of Marriage was one of the books he most strongly recommended and as it seemed to be the most foundational, I chose it as my first book.
While looking for that book on the Union University Library’s website catalogue, I also searched for several other books that I had put on my list. I went ahead and checked out The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman and A Handbook for Engaged Couples by Alice & Robert Fryling. The 5 Love Languages especially struck my interest so I began to read this book before completing the first one on my list. It was a short read so I finished it in a couple of days. It reminded me of when I first starting learning about the Enneagram – learning more about myself and how I interact with others in light of my personality type, or in that case, number.
In The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman dives into the 5 different love languages: words of affirmation, receiving gifts, quality time, physical touch, and acts of service. I personally found this book to be enlightening on how we all desire love in different forms and how it is crucial to discover our significant other’s primary love language and learn how to speak that love language to them more fully and intentionally. I would highly recommend this book to any engaged couple who wants to better understand their fiancé and learn how to love him/her more specifically to how they emotionally desire to be loved.
The Meaning of Marriage has proved to be a solid foundational read and I am looking forward to finishing it up. Keller takes time to explain how we see marriage in this day and age and then compares that with what a Biblical marriage looks like. For me, I am glad I chose this book for my list, because I already see how the foundational truths that Keller delves into will be very beneficial in helping shape my view of how marriage should look like at its core, as that indeed was my main hope in embarking on this little engagement reading and research adventure!
After finishing up The Meaning of Marriage, I plan to read Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Emerson Eggerichs. As some of these books are more designed to be discussed with one’s significant other, I am saving them for closer to the time that my fiancé and I begin marriage counseling. The two I am referring to include A Handbook for Engaged Couples by Alice Fryling & Robert Fryling and Our Bucket List Adventures: A Journal for Couples by Ashley Kusi and Marcus Kusi.
By no means do I claim to have all the right books for your premarital reading list, but I hope that this personalized account of my search for marital advice as a newly engaged individual will be helpful to someone along the way!