Something I get asked a lot as our engagement has progressed is "how are you preparing yourself for marriage?" To be honest, the thought never really crossed my mind in my single years, like it probably should have, but as our wedding date has drawn closer and closer, I've noticed that I've been focusing a lot more on not only preparing myself for marriage but for a military marriage as well.
When you google "preparing for marriage" a lot of Christian resources come up. While I wish I had been more intentional in my single years to prepare for marriage, I will not be focusing on that for the duration of this post. No, this advice on preparing for a military marriage is all based on what I've actively been doing over the course of our engagement.
Some of this is intentional and some of the stuff I've been doing to prepare for marriage has been done without me even realizing that marriage is the reason I was doing it. Regardless of whether I was actively preparing for a military marriage or not, I wanted to share some of the things I've noticed myself doing lately in the hopes that it will help guide you as well! Can you believe there are now less than two weeks until the wedding?!
Spend time with God
The last year I've really dedicated myself to pouring into my relationship with God. Whatever God you believe in, I think it's important to reconnect yourself with that spiritual side, especially when you're preparing for marriage. Wedding planning can be super stressful and taking a little bit of time each day to just be still and listen to God has really been a refreshing break from wedding planning stress since we got engaged. Try doing finding a quick and easy devotional you can do while drinking your coffee in the mornings or even start a prayer journal.
Be a little selfish
Being a little selfish seems counter intuitive for advice about preparing for marriage but you truly need to love yourself before you can pour into someone else. Lately, I've been focusing on actually taking time to turn my phone off and journal in the evenings and really just taking the focus off of Justin for once and placing it back on myself. West Point is very demanding on relationships so over the course of our dating and engaged periods I have continuously poured into making sure he is stress-free and cared for. I'm not saying I'm stopping those things, just taking some time to be more cognizant of my needs right now before we're married. I am a firm believer that everything is about finding a balance and that's really what I'm focused on finding right now as we prepare for our marriage.
Work through any issues you have from your past
Ugh. I know, you're all groaning with me. No one wants to dig up old dirt (is that a saying?) and delve into the past, especially when you have major relationship baggage like I do but I think it is definitely necessary for a healthy marriage moving forward. Actually, this is something I wish I would have started doing a long time ago, even before meeting Justin but I'm so glad I've been working on it actively since we got engaged. There are some issues that I won't ever be able to get over but working through therapy and also using books like the 5 Love Languages has really helped Justin and me to better communicate about my scars from my past and work through them together.
Purge literally all of your belongings
If you follow me on Instagram you know that I've been doing this a lot lately. With a wedding and two big moves in the next year, I've known for a while that I need to get rid of A LOT of stuff. I've gotten so over the amount of stuff lately that I've promised myself that if I don't miss something when it's packed away then I'm getting rid of it. I think in the last month I've gotten rid of 8 trash bags of clothes that we've dropped at donation sites and it feels AMAZING. Purging your stuff should be at the top of your list if you're getting married because you have to make room for two lives now instead of one.
Define who you are before the wedding
Really defining who I am outside of my relationship has been something I've been focusing on a lot recently as the wedding gets closer. I have a pretty solid identity from my time of singleness before meeting Justin but that's kind of gone away in the last three years. I still have a strong sense of identity but as I'm not sure what the employment situation is going to be after June, I was a little worried about losing myself. I don't have any answers for you yet on this one but pouring myself into this blog and the community around it has really had a huge impact. I'm thinking about writing an entire blog post on this topic or maybe even doing an email course so let me know if that's something you'd be interested in!
Evaluate all of your bad habits
Confession: I like to sit on the floor of my bathroom and run the water at the highest level until the bathroom fills with steam. I've done this since college and it has always been helpful for my anxiety but in the last few years, it's something that I've been doing a lot regardless of whether or not I'm feeling anxious. Not good for the environment or our future utility bill. The reason I'm bringing this up is that it's kind of a bad habit. When you get engaged to someone it's suddenly as if someone shines a spotlight on all of your bad habits. Really working through those bad habits takes time but as you're merging both of your lives together it's good to have an honest conversation about them and what you can do to change them.
Listening to others and seek advice
When I wrote my post about whether or not anxiety about marriage was normal or not I didn't imagine all of the amazing advice I would get from the couples in my life. I think too often we're afraid to admit that we don't know it all or that we don't have it all figured out. Sometimes we're too afraid to ask for help or ask questions and that can really do a disservice to our own relationships and marriages. I definitely don't have marriage figured out and I plan on continuing to be transparent with y'all about that. But my biggest piece of advice is to listen to those around you.