I have a small collection of non-fiction, mainstream Christian “guidebooks” that I’ve garnered over the years– not necessarily attaching to any of them ideologically, but still interested in what they have to say. One of those is (no surprise) I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris. His second book, Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship is an introduction to “courting” in dating’s stead.
Although BJ and I were engaged long before I flipped through this , I was interested in the smattering of “Courtship Conversations” in the back. So many of them have to do with homemaking — making dinner together, babysitting, talking through ideas about gender roles and raising children, and even doing a hands-on project together.
I did not go a’ courtin’ for BJ, but there are a few “Courtship Conversations” I wish we’d had related to taking care of the unit and doing life together in a small space:
Is it okay if I make up songs about everything we do? To understand what this is like, spend an evening with your sweetie where you (only you) communicate in nothing but songs. Some examples: the going out to eat song, the waiting patiently song, the I’d rather have pizza song, etc. Gage his/her response by how often they wince or ask to go to the bathroom.
(Note: While writing this particular scenario, BJ walked into the living room singing, “It’s tiiime for a cup of coooffeee…”)
Do you like lentils? No, says BJ. I forget about this a lot and end up busting into his office some nights announcing, “Guess what? Lentil soup night!” He smiles — reluctantly.
Can I put your books on my bookshelves? In retrospect, this sounds like a pick-up line. We both try to say no to this one, because this is the easiest way to lose books in your own home. However, mixed up book collections happen when you become, well, one flesh.
If our dog eats my favorite sweater, how will you comfort me? Shoulder shrugs are totally inadequate here. Justice must be done.
We have some good friends who are about the tie the knot, and their upcoming wedding got me thinking about things I was glad to know going into marriage. I think it’s important for couples who are about to get hitched to ask each other questions like what I found in the back of this book: Who will cook mostly? How do we split up chores? What’s our budget look like? How much time do we need by ourselves?
Those questions are vital. But you won’t get any substantial, long-lasting answers if you are both communication slobs.
One of the best books we read before we got married had absolutely nothing to do with how we wanted to “keep house.” Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by Leslie and Les Parrott (yes, the matching names got me as well) is the best book on marital communication we’ve found. In fact, I would recommend it for all people, married or not. This is where we learned to distinguish between fix-it conversations and feelings conversations. It’s also what prompted us to answer bigger questions like, “How do you process big life changes?” and “How does stress affect how you interact with others?”
Questions like, “Who will clean up bug carcasses?” get answered along the way.