So You Want To Get Married?

Step 1 – Start Dating Someone!

Okay, we know this one seems a little obvious, but seriously go on some dates!! Our culture tells us that there are two extremes to the dating environment: 1. If you go on a date with someone you are going to get married, or 2. There is no such thing as going on a date, just hooking up. Neither of these are true, virtuous pictures of what “dating” should look like. Taking someone on a date is a fun way to get to know one another and determine if they are someone you could marry someday. Men, just man up and ask a woman on a date! Women, don’t be afraid to give a guy the chance to impress you!

For example, in our experience we met at SEEK 2015 in Nashville, TN. Liz was attending Baylor Nursing School in Dallas, TX at the time, and I was attending Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK. We were 4.5 hours away and everything about the idea of driving down to Dallas to take her out seemed illogical. But, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to get to know her more, and so I took the chance and asked if I could make the trip and take her on a date. She said yes, and after that first weekend together both of us knew that this was something special. Without taking that first chance of putting my heart on the line, by asking Liz out, I wouldn’t be engaged to the most amazing woman I have ever met. So bottom line, stop being afraid and start meeting potential spouses!

- Adam

Step 2 - Discern Marriage

Now that you have been dating you may start to feel a growing attraction that leads you to think, I may want to marry this person or “I definitely love him/her.”  Discerning marriage does not just mean visiting a convent or monastery, which I always used to think it was so I put it off. Discerning marriage means involving your significant other in all the different parts of your life.  For example, have him or her meet your family and friends because those people know you better than you think and can see areas of the relationship that may need work that you never could put a finger on.  They also just really love you and want to see you succeed.

Also pray about your vocation.  I was always afraid that if I prayed about my vocation surely God would tell me to be a nun but guess what…He didn’t!  The one time I sat down in Adoration at SEEK I finally asked God what am I supposed to do and He revealed Himself through Ignation Mediation.  Sometimes it isn’t always an obvious “do this.”  I know my love for children and choice in career in pediatric nursing also reassured me that I was called to marriage and family life.  Serving God in marriage is a hard vocation and takes a lot of faith and trust in God so start working on a relationship with Him too.

 

- Liz

Step 3 – Get Engaged

Once you have both discerned that marriage is the right thing it is time for the proposal. This is the moment that every girl has dreamed of since childhood, and most guys haven’t thought about until five minutes after they made up their mind that she is “THE ONE”. Let’s be real, there is A LOT of pressure on the guy these days to have a spectacular proposal, with a beautiful ring, and a huge celebration afterwards. Ladies, this is a lot to put on a guy!! There is no doubt that every man wishes to make the proposal a really special moment for his future bride, but don’t get so caught up in the scenario, or the ring, or the party that you forget that the significance of it all lies in the commitment to one another, that is what’s important.

I remember trying to come up with the perfect proposal for Liz. I had ordered the ring, but it was going to take about a month to come in the mail. Having family there was also important to me, so I was waiting for a time when both of our families could be in Oklahoma City. In the mean time, Liz and I had already talked about getting engaged and she was constantly on the lookout for when I would “pop the question”. This created a lot of stress in the relationship! I was constantly trying to keep my plans a secret, while Liz was constantly getting her hopes up, only to have them crushed when I didn’t ask her to marry me that day. Ultimately she thought that I was having second thoughts, and I could tell that life wasn’t as smooth as it was before so I thought she was having second thoughts. A wise priest then asked me, “Why have you let all of these worldly THINGS get in the way of something that God has asked you to do?” This was an excellent question, I had let the fact that I didn’t have the ring, or the perfect scenario cause a rift in the love that Liz and I knew we had for one another. While it is important to get a ring and celebrate with loved ones, don’t let the pressure of the “perfect” proposal get in the way of the true nature of engagement, the commitment to love one another.

 

- Adam

Step 4 – Talk To Your Priest

Yes that’s right, if you want to be married in the Catholic Church (which trust me YOU DO) then you need to contact your priest after you are engaged. Here at St. John’s that is Fr. Kerry Wakulich and you can contact him at 918-361-2176. Now the reason this is an essential step is that in order to have a valid marriage in the Catholic Church you need to complete pre-marital counseling with a Catholic priest who will sign off on the paperwork required. Once you have contacted your priest he will give you a list of necessary tasks that need to be done in order to complete the pre-marital counseling portion of the process. Some of these may include: monthly meetings with the priest, a couple’s weekend retreat, and bringing a copy of your baptismal certificate. At the time we are writing this article, Liz and I have only been to one session with Fr. Kerry, but he has already helped us grow closer to one another and better understand the true nature of the Marriage Sacrament.

 

-Adam

Step 5 - Start praying with your fiancé

Although we have made this step five, it will blend into every step and may even start before this point.  Also, prayer is hard but it will be so fruitful for your relationship.  Making time for prayer gives you the opportunity to refocus and remember why you are getting married.  When Adam and I pray every night, we break it up into three short pieces.  I will pray for Adam, he prays for me, and the last section is a prayer for our relationship.  With each piece, we finish with a Memorare, which we chose to use for our prayer and to reflect on Mary’s amazing role in the family.  It doesn’t take long and we each get the chance to pray for our future spouse and our relationship while keeping God at the center of it.

 

- Liz

Step 6 – Contact The Church and Set a Date

Although we have made this step five, it will blend into every step and may even start before this point.  Also, prayer is hard but it will be so fruitful for your relationship.  Making time for prayer gives you the opportunity to refocus and remember why you are getting married.  When Adam and I pray every night, we break it up into three short pieces.  I will pray for Adam, he prays for me, and the last section is a prayer for our relationship.  With each piece, we finish with a Memorare, which we chose to use for our prayer and to reflect on Mary’s amazing role in the family.  It doesn’t take long and we each get the chance to pray for our future spouse and our relationship while keeping God at the center of it.

 

- Liz

Step 7 - Attend an Engaged Encounter Retreat

I promise this will be different from any other type of retreat you will ever go on because you are going with another person and to grow with that person while asking for God’s guidance.  Not all diocese require an engaged encounter retreat as part of premarital counseling, but I think you should put it on your to do list anyway!  At our retreat, we had the opportunity to hear from a young couple, older couple, and priest about different topics involving marriage and then were allowed time to form our own beliefs and values about each topic through reflection.  We then got together as a couple to discuss each reflection and we learned so much more about each other!  Marriage is all about sacrificial love, so sacrifice a weekend to go hang out with Jesus, a priest, your spouse, and some other amazing couples!  You get out what you put in so make it worth it!

 

- Liz

Step 8 - Now the fun part…plan your wedding!

It is very easy to get caught up in all the excitement and materialistic aspects of weddings. And you should be excited to plan a wedding!  No matter what happens, you have to remember that you are celebrating marrying your spouse!!! This is the probably one of the first times (definitely not the last) that you will be making decisions together which is hard to figure out at first.  From Adam and my experience, one of the most important things is to lay on the table the priorities for each person and know what is most important to them on your wedding day.  To me, the location was very important and for Adam having everyone possible there was very important.  Also do not be afraid to make a budget or ask for help.  People want to help you!

Finally, amidst all the lace, bows, and shopping do not forget to keep growing in your relationship with each other. Keep going on dates and spending time together without talking about the weddings details.  Disagreements will happen (trust me) but do no be discouraged because a solution will come together.  Keep falling more deeply in love!

 

- Liz

Step 9 – Enter The Sacrament of Marriage

It is now your wedding day!! All the planning is complete and it is time for the big moment of entering into the sacrament of marriage. In so many ways, our society tells us that marriage is simply a contract between two people that can be broken at anytime when one person wants to walk away. This is not the case when you are married in the Catholic Church! Marriage is a covenant between a man and woman, and a covenant is a SERIOUS thing. God has always shown His love to His people through covenants, and covenants can only be broken through the death of one member of the agreement. Marriage is the visible sign to the world of God’s love for his people, and through the sacrificial and self-giving love of each spouse to one another, people are able to visibly see the love that God has for them.  This is what makes marriage your VOCATION! It is not simply choosing to live life with someone, but rather it is choosing to die completely to your self for the other’s good. When you enter into the sacrament of marriage, your priority for the rest of your life, becomes getting your spouse to heaven. It is easier said than done, but I can only assume that it is one of the most beautiful and challenging experiences of your life. So just remember, as Liz and I will try to do, that what is truly important about this day is that you are starting a covenant with the person beside you in front of that altar that will last for all of eternity.

 

- Adam

We wish you all the best and will be praying for all couples!

God Bless,
Liz and Adam