3 Pre-Marriage Challenges and How to Handle Them

When you’re dating or engaged, the pre-marriage period leading up to the wedding can feel excruciatingly long. On top of that, this time in your life carries its own unique challenges. How can you and your significant other navigate these challenges successfully?

Today, we’re sharing three common issues that couples face during dating and engagement. Let’s jump in!

1. Help! Our mentors don’t think we should marry.

It’s difficult to learn that someone you look up to, like a trusted friend or your pastor, doesn’t support the marriage you’ve been planning. But when someone you trust raises a red flag about your impending wedding, it’s worth taking some time to pause and find out why. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get married, but what it does mean is slow down for now. It’s okay to take some extra time to prepare before taking this tremendous life step.

Most likely, the person concerned about your relationship has experience observing marriages. If it’s your pastor or counselor, they’ve seen many couples in pre-marital counseling and they know what to look for. And the secret they know is, the more time you’ve had to get to know each other as a couple before you get married, the more likely you are to have a happy and fulfilling marriage.

Keep in mind that when you’re in love, you’re blind. When someone says you shouldn’t get married, your first reaction is to be defiant. You want to get away from your detractors and do exactly what you want. But now isn’t the time to be impulsive. Instead, find out where they’re coming from, listen to their questions, and be respectful.

Don’t forget that you can also get a second opinion; objective feedback is crucial as you move forward with this important decision. Taking a relationship assessment together can help you take a step back and look at your dynamic from a different perspective. Our SYMBIS Assessment is one way to accomplish this. Find out more here.

Ultimately, the commitment to marry is yours to make. No one else can truly make this decision for you, so it’s important to equip yourself with as many tools as you can while you weigh your next steps.

2. Should I move to be with my significant other?

If you’re not engaged yet and the person you’re dating moves away, should you follow? That really depends on where you’re at in your relationship.

If you’re thinking of following your boyfriend or girlfriend to a new city, the fact that you’re entertaining the thought proves you love them deeply. You likely want to pursue a very long-term relationship. But there’s risk involved with picking up and moving away from your home to follow them.

The biggest question is, has your significant other invited you along for this transition? Are they ready for you to take the risk? Moving to stay close to them won’t cement the relationship as permanent.

If you haven’t talked about getting engaged or married, you might actually harm the relationship by moving, too. But if they’re moving away and it’s breaking their heart to leave you, your following could signify a deeper commitment to your relationship.

The bottom line is, don’t follow your significant other on impulse. Before you call the movers, take time to evaluate the dynamics of your dating relationship and its potential future.

3. We want our wedding to be about us, not our extended families.

Planning a wedding is a wonderful time, but it can be stressful if your families are jockeying for control of the celebration. In fact, it can feel like you’re constantly avoiding landmines.

If the two of you totally agree on the kind of wedding you want, you need to sit down with your families and tell them what you genuinely desire. Respectfully invite them to be emotionally present, even though you may not share the same preferences and desires for the big day. Then, stick to what you’ve agreed on with your fiance.

Your families need to honor the choices you’re making together as a couple. Ultimately, this is your day. It’s not about what your mom, mother-in-law, or any other member of your extended families wants for you. While it’s totally fine to include your families and invite their opinions, you don’t have agree.

Are you dating or engaged? What kinds of challenges have you faced–and how are you working to overcome them? Or if you’re married, what did pre-marriage look like for you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.


  • Adam Lynch says:

    I am married, my wife and I took symbis. We are separated at the moment. I was unable to handle a situation maturely. A week before our 2 year anniversary. We got into an argument and we separated and we really have not spoke since. There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not sick to my stomach and miss my wife. We also took fight night…. And I have also been slacking on my relationship with GOD. During all this my Mom passed.

    • Kim says:

      Wow Adam You have been through a lot, and I will pray for you. It takes a big person to share your feelings like you have. I would think that letting your wife know you have regrets, and that you are willing to grow in this, there might be an opportunity. Sometimes it is easy to say what we think without our filter and in frustration. I will pray you draw closer to God during this time and become the man you desire to be for yourself as well as your wife.

    • Bryce Miller says:

      I went through something very similar, Adam. When it all happened, I was stripped down and felt like Job at that point. I was losing everything. I knew then what I had to do. I completely surrendered and submitted to God. I worked on my relationship with my Father in Heaven First. After a couple of months, God had built me back up through His word enough that He trusted me to work on my relationship with my wife. I saw her through His eyes at that point. I was never the same. She saw what God had done in me and started to trust herself to be with me again. 4 years have passed and my relationship with God has never been better. Oh yeah, the same goes for my marriage. God FIRST and my wife second. She wouldn’t have it any other way. My wife and I now head up the marriage ministry at our church. What God gave us was meant to be shared. It all began with me surrendering to Daddy God. He is waiting for you, Adam. It’s a choice. I will be praying you choose wisely! Be blessed, my brother. Expect it!

  • Wendell says:

    So sorry to hear about all this. A lot of losses in a short time.
    Have you told your wife how you are feeling – sick to your stomach and missing her? Have you confessed to her about your immaturity (being a knucklehead…as we all are at times) You are only responsible for what you do and did! That’s “manning up” and taking a positive step toward what God wants…reconciliation. Because He wants it for your good, He will give you the strength to do what is hardest. Call on your good good Father!

  • Lorri says:

    Get connected with a mentor couple. If you have some personal things to work through get some individual counseling would be good for you as well. Fight the good fight! Do something about your situation, there are all kinds of resources available. Problems and trials help us develop endurance, suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. Get in the word and sit at the feet of Jesus.

  • Kathy Triebwasser says:

    I am surprised your recommendations to a new couple are that a mentor as good source to consider but when it comes to relationships only consider about the wedding what they want. I agree sitting down with family being clear is needed. I feel that you are missing that for families it is a important milestone to share with love, kindness and even an honoring moment for parents. Isn’t it as much to be considered as the wisdom of others can make this a way to build connections with people who matter. This has two conflicting messages as I read it.

  • Lorri says:

    Marriage Mentoring is an excellent resource for couples who are struggling or even to those couples who desire to be proactive in hopes of being better equipped for “marital hiccups”: Adam stated that he and his wife are separated and not speaking. A mentor couple could really help with helping them to communicate effectively and to help them begin to talk about the hurt ….whether is was intentional or unintentional. Creating a safe environment is essential in working through painful circumstances. A brother in the Lord (the male mentor) can also greatly encourage Adam in his walk with the Lord. Part of mentoring can also be to help restore the believer to Christ, or as Adam puts it ” slacking on my relationship with God” as that is often a key part of the problem in the marriage. Losing a parent can be very difficult and often we can really benefit from individual counseling to help work through such deep hurt and pain. With God all things are possible and my marriage is proof of that. God gives us a spirit of power and hope, not of defeat and helplessness. The enemy wants us to be frozen in our hurts and left disabled by them. God wants to use them to build our character and make us more like Him. God is our refuge and strength and if we don’t seek him and spend time with them then we miss that. Fight the good fight and don’t give up…God is a God of miracles.

  • KK says:

    3. “We want our Wedding to be about us” – not sure I completely agree with this, but it assumes the couple agrees on the kind of wedding they want and are at odds with their parents, relatives, etc.

    What if WE as a couple can’t even agree? It will be his second marriage and he would prefer low key courthouse or Vegas marriage. I have waited 49 yrs to get married and while it does not have to be a huge wedding, I do not want to live with the regret and resentment I’ll have f I settle for a “non-wedding”. Both our feelings matter, yet we want opposite types of weddings. I’m hoping for a semi-casual rustic outdoor wedding at a barn pavilion less than a mile from where we live with 75-100 guests. I think his reluctance stems from embarrassment over failure of his first marriage as well as the financial cost/burden. How can we both honor and love one another, yet find a way to compromise on this issue?

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