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Category Archives for "Marriage Preparation"

Getting Married in College

By Dustin | Marriage Preparation

Note: This is a guest post from Marina Salsbury.  I’ve been asked about this topic numerous times and enjoy hearing a fresh take on it.  FYI, I was married right after college graduation, and Bethany was still in college at the time.

Often couples who date in college want to go ahead and get married while they are still in school, rather than wait until they have graduated and completed their education.

There are many issues to be considered when making this life-changing decision, including how it will effect the couple financially, emotionally and socially.

Marriage in college can change the picture of cramming in the library or working on online college classes in a messy dorm quite a bit.

While there appears to be little agreement among researchers about the ideal age to marry, collegiate couples in their 20s often choose to go ahead and begin their marriages, even if they are still in school.

Developmental Goals of Young Adulthood

Each decade in life has certain developmental goals to be reached.

During the 20s, which is when the majority of people attend college, people begin to live as independent adults away from the structure of family and parents. This is a time when people start to explore their own senses of value, make plans and goals for themselves, and explore what they want to accomplish in life.

It isn’t uncommon for college students to change the focus of their studies several times during their college careers simply because their interests change and they discover something they hadn’t considered as a career option.

Young adulthood has also traditionally been a time when couples would come together, get married, and then start a family. Couples in the 1940s were married in their early 20s, but today it’s not uncommon for couples to be several years older before considering marriage: on average they are 25 years old for females and 28 for males.

This time of life is also prime childbearing age for women and often this is a driving factor for couples to get married in their 20s. If having children is a primary goal in life, many couples want to have children when their bodies are most ready and able to handle the rigors of pregnancy and parenthood.

Financial Considerations

When couples are considering getting married while still in college, one of the major factors to think about is the financial impact it will have for them. Many students are dependent on their families and parents for financial support in order to attend college.

One of the questions to ask parents is whether or not they will continue their financial support if a couple gets married. The answer to this question can have a major impact on whether or not it will even be possible for both members of the couple to continue with their studies after they get married.

Another financial issue is what kind of resources the couple will have for living expenses. Not all colleges have living quarters available for married couples. The couple may have to find a way to be able to afford off-campus living, including covering the expenses of rent, utilities, transportation and food (never mind entertainment).

This can be quite a challenge in addition to tuition and other educational expenses.

For some couples, the decision may be to have one member of the couple temporarily stop attending college and work in order to support the other’s continuing educational goals. The risk of taking on this approach to finances is that the partner who stops attending college may find it difficult to return to school once family life is well underway and other responsibilities have been taken on as a married couple.

Social Impact

For college-age couples, getting married can be a boon to social life. If they have numerous friends who are already married or at least in serious relationships, then it’s easy to have lots of support in living together as married couple.

The fact is married couples tend to spend most of their free time with other couples. Single friends may drift away or feel left out because they don’t share similar experiences or interests. This can be especially true if a couple quickly has children after they’re married.

Having children while married and in college is also a difficult challenge. Juggling parenting duties, classes, and working can be stressful on almost any married couple. As a result, many couples who decide to get married while still in college deliberately choose to delay having children until they are finished with their educations and established in their careers.

Deciding to get married is one of the most major life events. The impact of getting married while in college can be huge, financially, emotionally, and socially, but it’s possible to be happy and fulfilled, even with the stresses that come with being married while trying to attend classes and meet all of your responsibilities.

Ultimately, if it’s what the couple wants, there’s a way to make it work.

Share your story in the comments – did you get married in college?  Why or why not?

(photo source)

Dr. Gary Chapman on Great Sex, Cohabitation, Marriage Preparation and Much More!

By Dustin | Marriage Preparation

Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got MarriedI recently had the great privilege of interviewing Dr. Gary Chapman and gaining his insight into a variety of important issues impacting dating, engaged and married couples.

As expected, his wisdom was very impressive and exceptionally practical (and you know I like that!).

Most people know Dr. Chapman as the author of more than 30 books on the topics of family and marriage relationships.  His best-known book, The Five Love Languages, tops my list of recommended reading for couples.  If you haven’t read it, you need to.

Dr. Chapman recently published Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married as a down-to-earth advice guide for dating and engaged couples.  Once again, he’s produced a book that will likely top the bestseller list and help many couples.

Here are some examples of the topics covered during our nearly 30-minute conversation:

  • The vital importance of marriage preparation
  • How couples should deal with major personality differences
  • The pros and cons of living together before marriage
  • What to do when you don’t feel “in love” anymore
  • Advice for a satisfying sex life
  • The Apology Love Language
  • How to deal with a Love Language that changes over time or isn’t identifiable

This is one interview that you won’t want to miss!  Just click the play button below and take notes…

It would mean a lot to me if you shared a link to this post with all of your friends via email, Facebook and Twitter.  I want to be sure everyone has a chance to gain from Dr. Chapman's wisdom!

Dating for the Wrong Reasons: Misery Loves Company

By Dustin | Marriage Preparation

This is a guest post from E. Umana from Christian Marriage Works.  I hope you enjoy his interesting take on a current trend toward dating to avoid loneliness rather than to find a marriage partner.

We’re in the midst of a raging recession with global reach, and many economists are speculating about the possibility of a “double dip” recession. People have lost jobs, homes, cars, and other property, and marriages are strained under the weight of mounting debts and other economic problems.

But there is one “industry” that is defying the economic gloom and doom.  According to a report from Fox News, some online matchmaking services are reporting double-digit increases in the number of new members.  They describe the pace at which people are trying to find a new partner as being frenzied.

It seems that, despite the sometimes high monthly cost, people want to reach out to one another and be together.  In other words, they don’t want to go through this economic downturn alone.

Dating for All the Wrong Reasons?

Unfortunately, many of these people (not all) are lonely and not seeking a partner from a Godly standpoint,as in seeking their lifelong soul mate, partner, fellow worshiper, lover and co- parent of any future children. In fact, I believe many of these people are simply looking for someone to “hook up with.”  Some of them will marry after many years of getting to KNOW each other in the biblical sense, prior to marriage.

People are social creatures, and they need to interact with other people. When interviewed in the Fox News story, several people stated the need to connect and not face all this uncertainty by themselves.

However, they also mention the advantage of having an almost unlimited number of potential partners to interact with and weed out the incompatible (the golddigger, the psycho, etc.).  As a bonus, they have more basic information on the potential mate than they otherwise would meeting someone at work or from a chance encounter at the laundromat.

One can sympathize as these are lonely people who want companionship and perhaps the ability to share expenses in these difficult times. However, in my opinion, it is better to be alone than to be with the wrong person. No matter how bad the economy is a relationship started out of loneliness, desperation or a desire to share expenses will not last in the long run.

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife (or husband). Proverbs 21 verse 9 (NIV)

What do you think?  Do you agree with the guest author’s view that dating out of loneliness or economic despair is outside of God’s intentions?


E.Umana is an article author and blog owner, and his various articles on marriage and internet marketing are posted and republished in various places all over the internet. His blog is a christian blog called Christian Marriage Works at where you can download his e-book 12 Marriage Killers, which explains how to spot the behaviors that can create conflict and destroy a marriage.

Sep. 20-Oct. 4, 2010

Is Marrying Young a Thing of the Past?

By Dustin | Marriage Preparation

Is Marrying Young a Thing of the Past?Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Alexis Bonari.  I hope you enjoy these insights on young marriage while I spend a few days with my family on a bit of paternity leave.  By the way, when we got married, I was 21 and Bethany was 20…and it worked out pretty well for us. 🙂

From a purely statistical standpoint, marriage before the age of 25 results in an over 50% probability that the marriage will end in divorce court.  Despite the dismal statistics, many young couples still defy the odds and attempt a young marriage.

Speaking as a 25-year-old who met my same-age husband at the age of 19, and married at the age of 20, I can attest to both the joys and pitfalls of early marriage.

Before considering marriage, it would be wise to individually consider the following five questions.  This will help you enter into marriage with your eyes open.

Five Questions to Consider Before Marrying Young

1. Can you really say you’ve dated enough/traveled enough/lived alone enough/experienced enough to want to commit to a single person for the rest of your life?

If you have ANY hesitation in answering this question to the affirmative, STOP NOW!  You’re not a bad person if you’re 19 and still wanting to experience the dating scene.

You will be a bad person if you agree to marry someone you love and then subsequently cheat on them/blame them for the loss of your freedom and youth.   This is a relationship killer, so take note. If, however, you truly feel you have experienced everything you want to experience in the realm of dating or single life, go ahead to the next question.

2.  How do you handle money? Do you know how your fiancé handles money? Do you agree?

Finances cause more divorces than infidelity.

I didn’t understand why this was the case until my husband and I were both out of college, out of work, our student loan bills were coming due, and I was pregnant.  We loved each other through the whole experience, but the stress was unreal.

He and I have very different ways of approaching finances, and those differences were the source of much of our stress. Figure out where you stand on questions such as: how much debt is too much debt? If we have children will one of us stay at home with them?

3. Do you want children?

This is simple. If you don’t/do want to have children and your partner does/doesn’t, figure out a compromise or leave now.

It is completely unfair to expect someone to change their attitudes towards having children.  This is a primal, deeply-seated issue for most people.  For those who want kids, refusing to have them is like cutting out a piece of their soul.  For those who don’t want kids, guilting them into having children is robbing them of their freedom and sense of self-direction.

No good can come from either option, so find some common ground.

4. Do you agree on basic core values involving sex and how to raise children?

Disagreement is healthy in moderation.

There are, however, some issues that sometimes cannot be resolved if both parties fundamentally disagree.  Sex, money and child rearing are the three major categories that cause the most problems. People are highly unlikely to change their attitudes toward any of these, so don’t expect your partner to. If he looks at pornography now, he most likely will in thirty years. You’ve been warned.

5. Do you respect each other’s religious beliefs or lack thereof?

When my husband and I were first married, I was a Christian and he was from a multi-generational family of atheists. His father literally wrote the book on Biblical errancy, and my family went to church three times a week.

Our personal belief systems have changed over the years, but our respect for each other hasn’t. I didn’t try to convert him, and he didn’t treat me like I was a moron who believed in a sky fairy.  We would never have survived if either one of us had crossed these lines.

Share Your Story

How old were you when you got married?  Do you think that young marriage is a thing of the past or still a wise move?

(photo source)

How to Find the Perfect Engagement Ring

By Dustin | Marriage Preparation

Find the Perfect Engagement RingEditor’s Note: This is a guest post that I wish would have been available about 10 years ago. 🙂  Pammy Rosen offers some great insights into the process of selecting the right engagement ring.

An engagement ring is one of the most important purchases in your lifetime, especially for the bride. Most men could care less if their own ring came from a Crackerjack box, but when buying a ring for their bride-to-be, a little education about the types of rings that are available and how they might effect the cost can be a great help.

Here’s how to pick out a ring that will have your bride-to-be blushing while getting your money’s worth.

The Four C’s

There are four key terms to keep in mind when shopping for the perfect engagement ring. Just think of them as the 4 C’s of wedding ring shopping:

1. Clarity
2. Carat
3. Color
4. Cut

There are ways to save money and still get the ring you desire by simply keeping these terms in mind.

The clarity of the ring has to do with flaws that are present on the ring. It is possible to find a ring that may have some minor flaws that are not noticeable by looking at the ring. This can result in getting a bargain on a ring that would have been too expensive to purchase had the ring not had any flaws.

The carat is used to describe the weight of the ring. When buying a gold or diamond wedding ring, this becomes very important as the more the stone or gold weighs, the more expensive the ring will be. Shopping around can help you find the best deal possible for a ring that has a higher carat level.

Typically, the more colors that are present in a ring, the more expensive the ring will be. For grooms on a tight budget, finding a ring that is uniform in color will likely be the best option.

The cut of the ring refers to the overall look and shape of the ring. Rings that are shaped abnormally will typically cost less.Wedding Ring Set

Shape, Setting and Size

The most popular type of rings of course involve diamonds. Whether they are diamond promise rings or diamond engagement rings, those precious stones are indeed a girl’s best friend.  While keeping the 4 C’s of wedding ring shopping in mind, you will also want to consider the different types of diamonds available.

The most popular shape of a diamond wedding ring is a round diamond. Keep in mind that a ring can include one stone or multiple stones, but the number of stones will have a dramatic effect on the price of the ring. Other popular shapes include ovals, hearts, pearls and emeralds.

Selecting the right setting for the ring will be important as well. Typically, this means choosing between platinum, white gold, and yellow gold. It is important to be sure the setting of the ring and the stones that will be part of the ring look good together.

And guys, don’t forget what may be the most important part of shopping for your future wife’s wedding ring: the size. Whether it means borrowing a ring she is currently wearing or getting help from someone close to her, you don’t want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a ring that doesn’t fit.  Talk about starting off your marriage on the wrong foot.:)

By keeping this and the other tips here in mind, you will be prepared to come up with the perfect wedding ring for your bride-to-be, which can start your long and happy life together.


Pammy Rosen is a freelance writer for My Jewelry Box, a North American online jewelry store. Pammy is a style and fashion addict who can never pass up a beautiful piece of jewelry. For all of your jewelry needs, visit