Engaged: Getting Ready for Marriage
Congratulations on this wonderful milestone! Few seasons in life are filled with as much joy and anticipation as the time spent preparing to get married.
You’ve probably heard it said that as you plan your wedding, you shouldn’t forget to plan your marriage. But it sounds so abstract to “plan a marriage” in the midst of the more tangible (and demanding) project of planning a wedding. How do you do it?
Learn from Others
Research demonstrates the long-term value of making time now for marriage education classes or premarital counseling. Those efforts go even further when you supplement them by spending time with an older married couple whose relationship you admire. As you proceed through the pre-marriage process here at our church, you will hear from experienced couples about the “do’s and don’ts” of marriage. In addition to this, you can also be intentional to spend time with married couples that you admire and ask them to share their advice.
Plan with Patience
Couples often overlook the importance of using the wedding planning season as practical marriage preparation. You can intentionally set the tone for your marriage by the values you live out in planning your big day. The transformational process of “becoming one” can occur in everything from how you assemble your guest list to how you determine a honeymoon destination. Practice habits as a couple like prayer, making decisions together, discussing your priorities and values, and prioritizing your future spouse’s desires before your own.
Planning your wedding day will be a joyful time of hope but it will also be one of the more stressful times in your relationship so far. It will probably also be surrounded with other stressors like moving homes, financial worries, and dealing with difficult family dynamics. There is a silver lining to all this stress! You can use this time to practice communicating your emotional and practical needs with your future spouse, learning how to care for them in times of stress, and accepting help and support from your partner. You will get through this season of life together, and you can use it to strengthen your bond with skills that you will use in the decades to come.
Discover the Purpose of Marriage
A wedding is bigger than you as an individual and even bigger than you both as a couple. It is sacramental. On your wedding day, you will enter into a life-long union, make your vows before God and His Church, and receive His grace and blessing to help you keep the vows and promises you have made. The Sacrament of Marriage is a picture, an icon, of the way God loves the church (Ephesians 5). In other words, God uses marriage to show us tangibly, through a real live person, how much He loves us. Even though God is unseen, He gives us this physical manifestation of His love through our spouse.
Create a Meaningful Event
To focus on the sacred nature of marriage in the early church, couples often made their vows during the course of a normal Sunday service. Those weddings were a part of the church’s worship routine and demonstrated a public vow within the church body. The early Christians did not have anything resembling the grand ceremonies typical of modern weddings, focusing instead on the meaning and purpose of marriage. That’s not to say big celebrations are out of order, but many risk making them so complex that they fail to honor God or the community they are uniting—both of which are the basis for a strong Christian marriage.
As you plan your wedding day, think about it as not only a big party but as a special church service where you are the centerpiece of what God is doing. Holy Matrimony is a sacrament, an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. You can find the promises and vows that you will say in your upcoming ceremony in the Book of Common Prayer (page 423). Read them together with your spouse and consider their meaning. You can also read through and discuss the suggested Scripture readings as you plan (Book of Common Prayer, 426). Finally, consider music that will enrich the worshipful nature of your ceremony.
A Collect for Weddings
O gracious and everliving God, you have created us male and female in your image: Look mercifully upon this man and this woman who come to you seeking your blessing, and assist them with your grace, that with true fidelity and steadfast love they may honor and keep the promises and vows they make; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, 425
Prayer of Preparation
Lord, give us wisdom and devotion as we plan for our wedding and prepare to order our common life, that we may be to each other a strength in need, a counselor in perplexity, a comfort in sorrow, and a companion in joy. Let our relationship flourish as we prepare for marriage, and be a sign to those around us of your grace and everlasting love. Amen.
Prayer from the Wedding Ceremony
Grant that their wills may be so knit together in your will, and their spirits in your Spirit, that they may grow in love and peace with you and one another all the days of their life. Amen.
Give them grace, when they hurt each other, to recognize and acknowledge their fault, and to seek each other’s forgiveness and yours. Amen.
Make their life together a sign of Christ’s love to this sinful and broken world, that unity may overcome estrangement, forgiveness heal guilt, and joy conquer despair. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, 429
- The Book of Common Prayer
The BCP contains all of our services, prayers, and many resources for private devotions. It can be purchased on Amazon or at the Incarnation Bookstore. bcponline.org
- The Seven Big Myths About Marriage: What Science, Faith, and Philosophy Teach Us About Love and Happiness By Christopher And Jennifer Kaczor
In this book, the authors debunk popular misunderstandings about marriage.
- The Meaning of Marriage By Timothy Keller
This is a great resource for learning about the biblical foundation of the institution of marriage from a celebrated author and pastor.
- The Five Love Languages By Gary Chapman
This book will help you to think about how you and your future spouse most feel and express love.
This website features the Prepare & Enrich tools for dating and engaged couples who want to establish a strong foundation for marriage. Prepare & Enrich is the resource that Incarnation uses to assess the strengths and areas for growth of our pre-marriage couples. CoupleCheckup.com
- Plan Your Wedding
To plan your wedding at Incarnation visit the Weddings page. Through this process you will participate in our Pre-Marriage Weekend and will be connected with a mentor couple.
- Want personal or couples counseling with a priest?
Any of the priests on staff at Incarnation are happy to meet with you for direction, counsel, or simply just to talk. Email a priest to set up a meeting. Or call the parish office at 214-521-5101.
- Church of the Incarnation has a thriving young adults ministry. It is comprised of both married and single people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. View the Youth Adults page on Facebook.
- Get Connected to a Small Group.
Join with other young couples from our church who are meeting together to study and connect and pray. Go to the Growth Groups web page for more information.
- Get Involved.
Use your gifts! Take our Spiritual Gifts Assessment to discern ways to get plugged into the life of Incarnation.
- Serve the Poor.
Go to our local outreach page to find out how your gifts can change lives.
- Join a Sunday School Class Together.
Go to the Adults page to find out about our class offerings.