When I got engaged in the summer of 2015, I was overwhelmed with the eagerness of those around me to celebrate and help me with the steps forward. One of the most profound things that was done for me came in the form of a series of letters.
My best friend wanted to find a way to support me in this big step, despite her living in Australia, which put nearly 10,000 miles between us. She thought of the idea to send letters of advice from different members of her family that I had met over the years of our friendship.
Each letter was sent in a handmade envelope of ornate decorative paper and filled with confetti stars inside. The letters themselves contained valuable nuggets of advice from years and years of marriage experience.
Letter 1: Attend Premarital Counseling.
Having lived together for over a year, me and my fiance figured we’d had all the talks that needed to be had. We were wrong. Premarital counseling has talked us through new obstacles, and taught us ways to handle old obstacles that were still hanging around.
This is a step that newly engaged couples often skip over, but in my own relationship it was totally perspective-changing. Even if you don’t feel you need it, premarital counseling can be reassuring at times, it can even show you what you’re doing right.
I am so grateful we were encouraged to go. We’ve learned indispensable lessons from our time in premarital counseling. We hope you’ll have the same experience!
Letter 2: Being Stubborn Isn’t Always a Bad Trait.
Relationships take work, and while that wasn’t new information to me, the perspective of having a stubbornness to make the marriage last was. Being stubborn is also viewed as an unlikable trait, but being stubborn for a relationship can be a good thing. And not in a relationship, but for a relationship.
When you really truly believe in something, you will fight for it. And if you really believe in your marriage, you will never stop fighting for it. There are no perfect husbands and no perfect wives, which means there are bound to be bumps in every marriage.
The more prepared for this fact, the more prepared you will be to be stubborn for your marriage. If you and your spouse are both determined to succeed in your marriage–you will!
Letter 3: Honesty is the Best Policy.
Your marriage will enter you into a two-person team for life. This means all decisions, big and small, alone and together, should be made from a basis of truth and a heart to work together.
This may feel really basic and simple, but that is often why it is so important. The little things can often get overlooked, and this is one thing that should NOT be overlooked. Be vulnerable and be honest!
Even if the decision doesn’t feel super important, it’s good to always be on the same page with your spouse.
Letter 4: You are ALWAYS On the Same Side
This is so important to remember, and just as the previous point, it is something simple but easily forgotten. Even when you are in an argument, and things get intense, always remember that you are fighting for the same team. And with the same end goal in sight.
You both want what’s best for each other, and want a healthy, happy relationship. Even when things seem tough. If you can keep that in mind even in the darkest of times, it will encourage you to keep fighting and keep the love.
Despite all the ammunition you have against each other, you should avoid using it to attack someone on the same side as you.
Letter 5: Act Out of Love At All Times.
If you can find a way to approach every situation in your marriage from a place of love and care, your relationship will be stronger for it. It may feel difficult at times, but the relationship began out of love, and if you can remind yourself of that in all situations, it will become easier to act out of love. Communication is key!
When in-laws interfere, when money interferes, when pressure interferes, when jobs interfere, if you can keep your words and actions coming from the place of love that ties you together, you will succeed.
Letter 6: Prepare for Marriage, Not Just the Wedding.
When getting engaged, it is all too easy to get caught up in the details of the upcoming big day. You get lost in picking the flowers, choosing the guest list, table placements, cake tastings, and of course the dress, but in the long run, an engagement is in participation for a marriage, not a wedding.
If you can focus on a strong and healthy marriage from the very beginning, it will help strengthen the relationship. It also helps to keep things in perspective. All of the details and aspects of a wedding can feel overwhelming, but when you see it as just a day in light of the exciting journey ahead, it can relieve a lot of that pressure.
Letter 7: Enjoy The Engagement!
While you should be focusing on all of the things listed in the previous notes, it is also important to find joy in the moment. Getting engaged is a monumental step in life. You’ve probably waited your whole life for that special someone and that special moment. Love is a beautiful thing.
Marriage can last a lifetime, but an engagement doesn’t. So revel in this temporary thing and embrace all that it is while it is a part of your life. Everyone around you is ready to celebrate you too!
So, show off that ring, pour the champagne, and get your polaroid camera ready! Time to pull out that “My Big Day” Pinterest board that you’ve been adding to forever!
We’re celebrating right there with you!