I was asked recently if I knew of any books or tools for couples to help them prepare for marriage, or plan their vision for the future together… and I had no idea! I’m so caught up in the party element; the flowers, what’s on the menu, the dress, the music. But that’s just the beginning! You have a lifetime to navigate as a couple so I’d say it would be beneficial to do a little work on it.
A friend of mine who got married this year said she liked The Marriage Book by Nicky and Sila Lee. The authors have also developed The Marriage Courses which take place all over the world. The course is designed to help couples build strong foundations, learn to communicate more effectively and resolve differences well. Before the course you get a couples survey which is designed to highlight issues that are important to discuss before getting married. It also affirms areas of strength in your relationship. At the events couples are seated on intimate tables of two, there’s food, practical talks and background music to ensure you can chat in complete privacy. Sounds pretty cool! Date night.
It’s also worth checking out Esther Perel’s Ted talks. She’s a Psychotherapist who is changing the conversation on what it means to be in love and have a fulfilling sex life.
I love this quote by Erich Fromm who wrote The Art of Loving:
“Love isn’t something natural. Rather it requires discipline, concentration, patience, faith, and the overcoming of narcissism. It isn’t a feeling, it is a practice.”
Another friend of mine gave some really lovely advice, I don’t think she’ll mind me sharing some snippets of her wisdom with you: “I think you have to treat your wedding day as a declaration of your love, in front of those who love you. Make promises to each other that you will continue to encourage, support and bring out the best in each other. Celebrate the small things. Accept that imperfectly perfect is often a good thing. Laughter is everything. Intimacy is important, even in the really shit times… even if it’s just a long hard hug. Respect each other, be kind to each other and remember that teamwork makes the dream work.”
If you want further reading take a look at The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. According to celebrant Samantha Goodchild (who brought it to my attention) it’s insightful and full of interesting tips about how to make love last.
And finally I wanted to mention a podcast I listen to (in my quest to find love). Project Love is presented by two really passionate ladies Selina Barker and Vicki Pavitt. They are dedicated to inspiring and empowering people to create lives and relationships they love. Podcast topics include ‘how to love without losing yourself’, ‘how to be a good lover’, ‘the power of self love when it comes to finding love and making love last’ and they also showcase real love stories. It’s fab.
By Helen Ruff