Chapter Four: Before Marriage
Engagement & Marriage
You explored. He explored. You found each other. You match each other. You match great. He proposed. You accepted. Or you proposed and he accepted. Now, you're engaged to be married!
Hooray! Now you can read the rest of this book, get married, and start having lots and lots of sex!
Errrk… hold on a minute, there are still a few other issues to consider. Your engagement may last longer than a few hours providing many opportunities to fall into pre-marital sex, you and your fiancée need some seasoned counseling, and wedding plans can take on a life of their own. And if you've successfully avoided having sex until now, good for you… no, great for you, but you're not out of danger yet.
Your engagement period may present you with your greatest sexual temptations yet, so if you haven't read the earlier section discussing sexual meltdowns, do it now.
Next, let's cover counseling. Counseling isn't just for people with problems. It's also to help people avoid problems. What, you'd rather have problems?
You need to find a person or a couple with a lot of experience in counseling engaged couples. Big Churches are good places to inquire. If they don't have trained pre-marriage counselors on staff, they should at least know some they can refer you to.
Most couples don't think they need counseling before they experience pre-marriage counseling. And half of those couples will contribute to the 50% divorce rate in this country.
How can counseling help? It can provide a structured setting with an impartial 3rd party to help you and your beloved review critical issues and decisions. For example, they can go over issues of compatibility and make sure you haven't missed any big issues or glossed them over.
They can help you reach a deeper level of understanding of a covenant-level commitment to marriage. For instance, when you get married, you could each sign an irrevocable, unlimited power-of-attorney for each other. Do you realize what that would mean if one of you decided to leave the other? Would you still agree to get married if such a document could permanently ruin your ability to free yourself financially from your spouse even if you got divorced? Hmm?
A good counselor can help you consider financial issues that you've never thought about… issues that could cause serious disagreements in the future if not planned for now.
You can read Grandma's Sex Book cover to cover, but a counseling plan can make sure you and your groom actually discuss each important area of sexuality, so that you don't have any nasty surprises or disappointments after you're already married.
Did you know your vagina is very muscular? Did you know you can exercise those muscles? And that if you do, you can improve your own orgasms and make sex more fun for your husband?
It can be difficult to learn how to control a muscle you've never consciously controlled before, but the easiest way to exercise your vaginal muscles is to try to squeeze them while you're peeing, so you stop the flow of urine. Yes, it takes some getting used to, but it becomes easy after that. And it's really worth it!
Scheduling Your Honeymoon
Read the honeymoon section of the Great Sex chapter for lots of ideas regarding what happens on your honeymoon. Here, we'll just give you one word of advice about planning for your honeymoon: Estimate your menstruation schedule as well as you can, and try to plan your wedding (the start of your honeymoon) in between your periods. The farther out you set your wedding date, the less accurate your estimate will be. Even if you've been very regular, the stresses of preparing for your wedding may cause some changes.
If it doesn't work out and you're on your period on your wedding night, it's okay, it won't ruin it if you don't let it.
If you've chosen a considerate husband, he may be bothered by it far less than you. Some new husbands, especially the more intellectual ones, may be fascinated by the opportunity to learn about your periods first hand. He may want to try to experience it with you as much as possible. If so, let him, for his sake, even if you think your periods are really gross. It may be annoying as all get-out to you, but to him, it may be new and interesting. Especially if he had no sisters to pick up snippets of info from.
While you're scheduling your wedding and honeymoon, you should consider scheduling an appointment with a gynecologist, a doctor who specializes in the female reproductive system, to have her/him examine your hymen. Your hymen may already be broken, and if not, most hymens break easily when you have intercourse for the first time. However, some women have extremely thick hymens, and breaking them can be difficult and very painful. Your gynecologist can check that, and if needful, can give you a local anesthetic and cut it for you.
Oh, and there's one other thing you should do before your honeymoon…
Okay, whether you've been planning your wedding for years or not, it won't hurt to listen to a little advice, perhaps a little reasonable advice.
There's no such thing as a perfect wedding. Plan all you want, as long as you're enjoying it, but expect that something will go wrong on your wedding day.
If you build all your emotions around an expectation of a perfect ceremony and a perfect day, then when something goes wrong, you've set yourself up for your wedding day to be "ruined." In such cases, there's often anger and crying in place of joy, and you may set off for your honeymoon in an attitude of disappointment.
If instead you build all your emotions around the beginning of your marriage, then a few things can go wrong without ruining anything. In this case, everyone roles with the punches, enjoys the celebration of your union, and you set off for your wedding night in good spirits.
Now please bear with an old Grandma while she pleads a case for restraint:
Weddings don't have to be expensive. What's the difference between $100 worth of flowers and $10,000 worth of flowers? A lot of flowers, yes. But is this your flower day? Is it your 12-bridesmaids day? Is it your wedding reception day? Or perhaps, could it be the day you marry the man you love? If the latter, are some extra flowers so important?
Yes, your wedding is an important date. Yes, it should be memorable. Your wedding photo album will be exciting… at first. And it may stay out on your coffee table for a long time. Even years. But it won't be looked at very often. You'll be too busy with life and building new memories. And eventually, it will be put on a shelf. It may come off the shelf a few times over the years, but rarely. So here's a question: how precious is a memory if the only way you can remember it is to see it in a photo album? Here's a suggestion: Let the most precious memories from your wedding be those you don't need a photo of in order to remember. And the things that make precious memories are not things you purchase.