A little reading to build your marriage

Yes, I am a wedding photographer and while often, I post images from different weddings that I have shot, or post information about wedding planning, I want to focus on something that can help you AFTER the wedding.  I have had the unfortunate duty as a wedding photographer to prepare an album and less than a year later the couple has divorced because they spent so much time planning for the wedding that by the time they became a couple, there was nothing to build the marriage on.

Most couples don’t get married just to “exist” in a relationship.  When you decided to get married, it was for life.  There was something about her that told you you wanted to spend the rest of your life with her.  There was something about him that said, “I want to grow old with him”.

So how do you get to that point?  How do you build a marriage that last 25, 40, 50 years or longer?  I am going to suggest a few good books that you should read together as a couple that may help.  In fact, if you go through them BEFORE the wedding, I can almost promise that they will give you a stronger foundation to build on after.

I should note that most, if not all of these books are by Christian authors but regardless of your faith, the information in these books will benefit you.  they can be found on any of the major book web sites – Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Borders (which is now Barnes and Noble, as well as Christianbook.com (christianbook.com is going to have the lower prices of the choices, but you can check for yourself). You can click on the book title and it will take you to more info on the book.

The 5 Love Languages:  The Secret to Love that lasts by Gary Chapman – This is one of the most popular and in my opinion one of the best books to help you prepare for marriage.  In this book, Gary Chapman explains how to communicate love in a way your future spouse will understand.  There is also a web site for this book that allows you to take a test to see what your love language is and how best your future spouse can meet your needs – The 5 Love Languages

Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married – Gary Chapman – This is another great book by Mr. Chapman and while it is a short read, it is a good read.  There are exercises after each chapter that allow you to discuss things after you’ve read.  All of the chapter titles start with “I wish I’d known”, and include:

That romantic love has two stages

How to solve disagreements without arguing (and yes, you will disagree)

That forgiveness is not a feeling

That being in love is not an adequate foundation for building a successful marriage

His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage – Willard Harley – This book will challenge you because it will cause you to come out of your comfort zone in what you “think” you should be doing.  Dr. Harley discusses the five basic needs of a man and the five basic needs of a woman and how if these basic needs are met, you can have an affair proof marriage.  Chapter titles include:

The first thing she can’t do without – affection (and that is not the same as sex)

The first thing he can’t do without – sexual fulfillment (it’s not what you think)

Why your love bank never closes

Communication: Key to Your Marriage : A Practical Guide to Creating a Happy, Fulfilling Relationship – H. Norman Wright – I’ve seen this book taught in Sunday School classes, Pre-marital counseling courses and small book groups.  I know you’re probably saying “we talk already” but there is a difference between talking and true communication.  chapters include:

Marriage Expectations

The Key to intimacy

Different ways to make decisions

These are just a few of the books that I could list but, these can at least get you started.  You should also check out books by Dave Ramsey to talk about money and how you will handle it as a couple.  Other relationship books by authors like Dr. James Dobson are available as well.  The main thing is that you do whatever you have to in order to make each day after the wedding as great as you hope the wedding day will be.

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