I remember sitting in my college teacher courses listening to professors go on about creating community and inspiring kids through teaching. All that went through my head as they worked to prepare us was: “I got this.”

Looking back, I love that the naive little me felt so excited about my future career that it gave me enough passion to dive in headfirst. However, it wasn’t until I was a student teacher with 28 first graders under my wing with many backgrounds of trauma and all over the place abilities to say “OKAY, maybe I don’t got this.” 

The fall was a little harder because my excitement and enthusiasm naturally blinded me to the struggles many teachers feel. If I was this willing to work hard—surely I wouldn’t be one of the ones who struggled. I was so disoriented by falling on my hiney that it honestly knocked the wind out of me. Did I even want to be a teacher?

Slowly but surely, once I adjusted to how hard teaching can be, and the fact that no one can properly warn you, it was simpler to make my expectations match reality. I was able to realize the crashes don’t make it a terrible job—but I have to prepare myself differently and expect different joys in it. 

We do this in life don’t we? We jump headfirst into new adventures with the biggest smile and the crash is incredibly alarming because you didn’t even think it might exist. 

Now that I’m a little older (and maybe a little wiser!) I’m trying to see the crashes before I jump. It seems important to jump anyways for so many amazing experiences in life, but there is an ease to the fall when you know it might be coming. 

Enter marriage. I cannot WAIT to marry the most thoughtful man I have ever met, and my very best friend. It is so easy to feel that because I love him so much—and am so excited for our life together—that the crashes or struggles will simply never come for us. 

But I’ve learned! So here’s to jumping anyways, but with a little preparation this time. I hope whatever adventure you are on next makes you so passionate that it’s easy to say “I got this.” I hope that whatever you need along the way to be prepared for the crashes: patience, kindness, courage, trust etc. are yours in abundance. And if that adventure is getting married…

I’ve had some suggestions from pastors, future mother-in-law, and my own recently married friends for great prep reads. I asked specifically for titles that they thought were really valuable and reliable…not just anybody who felt like writing a book! Some of these are more for before marriage but are also very applicable to any time in your life. Here’s a few with some thoughts:

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (John M. Gottman, P.H.D.)

So this guy studied many couples over several years of their marriage intensely. He had them actually live in an apartment for a period of time where he could study their conversations, their vital signs, and patterns of life. He kept track of who was successful later in marriage and who struggled. It is super interesting to read about the 7 habits of the really successful couples! I love that it isn’t based on some theories that “sound great” but actual measurable details.

Preparing for Marriage God’s Way (Wayne A. Mack)

This title says preparing, but you could really read it after being married too. It has tons of guiding questions in each chapter that both you and your spouse can answer. It helps to define each other’s expectations of your relationship, God’s plan for it, and provides lots of related scripture to reflect on. I really have enjoyed that it requires conversation and can lead you to learn more about each other’s view of your bond.

The Five Love Languages (Gary Chapman)

Okay everyone hears about the love languages all the time. It is really easy to know what they are and take a quiz on which one you match. But my friend suggested the actual book to me, and I was really surprised by how much more in depth it is. There is a lot to be said about knowing yourself and your S/O through this. Highly recommend getting the full one to read!

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