How to Make the Most of Your Marriage Preparation Course (Part 1)
The two of you have decided to attend a marriage preparation course. Congratulations! You’ve just made one of the best investments for your future marriage.
You’re excited about it. But at the same time, you’re starting to mentally count the number of hours you wish you could just use for wedding preparations. You only have a few months left to finish the 1,001 tasks on your to-do list (and that’s just wedding preparation, you still have your actual life.)
I hope this blog helps you appreciate and commit to the time you’ll spend at the marriage preparation course.
I'm so glad that family and friends encouraged us to finish the marriage preparation course strong!
So now, how do you make these hours of classes work for you and how can you get the most of the course?
I’ve compiled a list from our experience and from a few wise friends. Here are the top 5 tips here on part 1.
1. Mark your calendar with the class schedule, the commute time, and other course-related activities.
I firmly believe that if you don’t schedule it, it won’t get done. Just like how we easily skip workouts because we don’t usually put them on our calendar.
As soon as you receive the schedule of the classes, put them on your calendar.
To take it one step further, also mark your calendar with the other activities related to the classes:
The commute to the class venue. Tip: Give yourself ample time to travel, accounting for usual traffic conditions on those days.
Homework time. You may be asked to fill out questionnaires prior to the classes, or work on reflection papers.
Debrief time. Angel Pascual suggests, “Set aside a time during the week (e.g. over date night) to revisit some of the points discussed in the previous session. Though there’s a bit of time allotted in class for partner discussions, this may not be enough.”
I love shared online calendars like Google Calendar because it allows Mike and I to see what we are both scheduled to work on or attend.
2. Designate a folder and notebook (digital and physical) for your class notes.
A little organisation goes a long way. Having a designated folder for all the course handouts makes it easier to review notes at a later time. Since your notes will not just be for your own consumption but for your fiancé too, it’s a good idea to make a digital copy to share with him.
A year after we were married, we misplaced some of our physical notebooks while moving house. Good thing I had saved a soft copy of our class handouts! During one of our evenings at home, we reviewed some of the pages and re-learnt some important marriage lessons.
Productivity tools and methods will help you get the most out of the time you spend at your marriage preparation course.
3. Ask. Participate.
“Leave the shyness at home. Raise your hand. The more questions the better. Listen actively. Be part of the group. Chime in with your comments if asked” says Ina Mendez-Tan.
I totally agree with this. While you may not feel like being participatory in a group setting, you owe it to your classmates to share useful questions, stories and thoughts. So, step out of your comfort zone. God might be using your questions and comments to bless others in the group.
4. Disconnect and be fully present during the classes, homework sessions, and debriefs.
It’s so easy to allow interruptions from the office especially when the class is happening on a weeknight. You tell yourself that “they (colleagues) just need my response on something quickly” and next thing you know, you’ve missed 30 minutes of class. Impose a rule that you won’t touch your phone during class, and even during your homework and debrief sessions with your fiancé.
If you’ve been diligent at work and in your other commitments, then you can trust God to take care of things while you unplug to focus on preparing for marriage.
5. Agree with your fiancé on the commitment you’re making.
What I found helpful was asking Mike first how he’d like for us to learn the best way possible from the course. It’s good to hear your partner’s ideas first before offering yours. Attending the marriage preparation course is in itself an exercise for your communication with each other.
He’d surely appreciate that you’re serious about preparing for marriage. Go ahead and share with him the link to this blog!
Are you currently attending a marriage preparation course? Let me know in the comment box below how you're making the most out of it!
Check out PART 2 of this blog here.