{Advice} Books For Brides & Grooms: 6 Essential Marriage Books

engagement, proposal, marriage counseling

Congratulations, Bride-to-be! You have answered a very important question: you said yes to your boyfriend or girlfriend proposing marriage to you!  This is indeed an exciting time for you, your spouse-to-be, your families and friends. Now begins the fun part of planning the wedding, the details, the venue, who will be in your bridal party, and a slew of many other things to come.  

It goes without saying, however I'm going to say it, that we all know this next step in life just isn't about the wedding, that is the ceremony and celebration part to launch you and your betrothed into a wonderful marriage.  The magic word there is marriage, a committed relationship you are agreeing to in front of witnesses, to have and to hold each other, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live.  Maintaining that marriage, caring for that marriage, as much as you care for your loved one, needs much thought, dedication, and strength. It is a difficult relationship, and the best one to ever have.  Before you take a step down that aisle and say "I do", you might consider taking time to evaluate if you truly are with Mr. or Mrs. Right, and if you have the foundation for a happy, successful marriage.
I am trying not to be a "Debbie Downer" here, just providing insightful advice that you can read or ignore, but according to the CDC, in 2010 there were 872,000 divorces and annulments... On the bright side(!!!), there were over 2 million marriages. Sometimes it's better to be informed of those icky statistics, like weighing yourself on the scale after the holidays, and learn from some pros of ways to prepare for marriage, and pose questions to yourself and your partner you might not have thought to ask before. To help make some things easy for you, we have a list of six books, for you and your husband/wife-to-be to refer to as pre-marital resources:

Plan Your Marriage Before You Plan Your Wedding

Dr. Gary Chapman's book "Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married" details 12 things you and your partner should know about each other before getting married. In his book he describes how being in love is not enough to make a successful marriage, how romantic love has not one but two stages, that mutual sexual fulfillment is not automatic, and personality profoundly affects behavior. This book will allow you to take a look at your relationship foundation and make sure you will be able to have a happy and lasting marriage together.

Ed Young's Marriage Wisdom

Ed Young and his wife Lisa have been married for 27 years, so they're sure to have some great tips and advice for couples in their book, "The Creative Marriage: The Art of Keeping Your Love Alive." The book details what it means to have a lasting marriage in today's world and how hard work, faith in God and being creative in your marriage will lead to years of happiness.

Expressing Your Commitment To Your Partner

With over 35 years counseling couples, Dr. Gary Chapman has written another gem titled "The 5 Love Languages," a New York Times best seller. In this book, you will learn how to communicate with your partner by learning the five languages of love: quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service and physical touch. The book focuses on the basic needs of humans and how we all experience love differently, which helps you understand your relationship and your future marriage.

Save Your Marriage Before It Starts

Referred more as a self-guided premarital counseling course rather than a book, "Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before and After You Marry" gathers experience and suggestions by relationship experts and real-life couple Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. The New York Times No. 1 best selling authors have been featured on "The View," "Good Morning America," "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and CNN. In the all-new expanded version, it features 10 more years of research and experiences. Some of the seven questions include: Do you know how to fight a good fight? Are you and your partner soul mates? Can you identify your love style? Have you developed the habit of happiness?

Do You Dare?

Featured in the movie "Fireproof," "The Love Dare" is a book dedicated to helping partners understand and practice unconditional love. This book is a 40-day challenge for partners to tackle together daily struggles and fiery challenges. For 40 days you and your partner will be dared to perform simple acts of love and kindness to each other.

Courtship Conversations: They're Important

"Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship" is a book by Joshua Harris that dives into courting and the beginning states of relationships that lead to marriage, as well as an all-new "eight great courtship conversations" section. As old-fashioned as courting might sound, it is something that, Harris says, modern day relationships need...desperately.

So there you have it! Just some savvy pre-marital materials to arm yourself with, along with those bridal magazines! 

Photo Credit: Iliana Morton Photography