Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman

Cynthia here!

Next month will mark our one year wedding anniversary!  It’s interesting to think back on the past year because although most of our marriage has been an absolute blessing, there were times where it was hard and we did get into arguments.  I think the best way we’ve made it through was really by knowing it could happen and being prepared for it.


The Wedding Party (Every single one of us went to Ohio State)

Before our marriage, we were suggested many (and I mean A LOT) premarital counseling books and my favorite one that I read was Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman.  Dr. Chapman has been counseling couples for more than 35 years and has written many books on this subject.  He also has a radio program on marriage and relationships that you can get podcasts for online as well!


This was such a useful book in a simple format and filled with stories that were easy to comprehend and learn from.  Randomly flipping through the book right now, I stumbled upon the chapter entitled “I wish I had known that toilets are not self-cleaning” and I can clearly recall information from the chapter and the discussion Ben and I had before our wedding.  Simply put, this chapter deals with marital roles and how it can be a stressful situation trying to figure out who will do what in newly wedded couples, especially if you’ve not lived together before the wedding.  Say for example, if my dad had always cleaned the toilets, it would not be unusual for me to assume that it’s a husband’s job and therefore Ben should clean the toilets.  However, if Ben’s mom had always cleaned the toilets, it also wouldn’t be unusual for Ben to assume that it’s the wife’s role to clean the toilets.  This was just a simple illustration of the confusion that new marital roles can create and how these issues should be discussed before marriage.

The book also has a section on the 5 love languages, which is one of Dr. Chapman’s most popular books.  Although it’s shortened to only a chapter in this book, it still gave insightful information on the different love languages and how we need to figure out our spouse’s language and show love in their way.  I’ll have to admit, I thought this sounded fishy when I first heard it because I didn’t think you could simpilfy “love” down to 5 different languages but Dr. Chapman really does know what he’s talking about.  Ben and I can easily pinpoint our specific love languages and therefore we work hard to support each other in the way that we know we should (Ben’s love language is quality time and mine is physical touch).

If you’ve just gotten engaged, (congradulations!) I really urge you to read this book!  It’ll make you think about things that you never would have thought about (in a good way).  I hear newly engaged couples tend to focus too much on the wedding and not enough time thinking about what’s going to happen when the wedding is over.  Although I’d like to say in our case we weren’t like that at all, but that’s just not tue.  If we hadn’t done premarital counseling and had read some really good books, I would have been clueless about the actual being married part after the wedding.

Although marriage can be hard sometimes, it can also be beautiful and amazing.  And the best part is, you’re not alone in your confusion!  I definitely recommend this book to all newly engaged and newly wedded couples! Happy reading!


About xinkia

I am a currently a PhD student at The Ohio State University studying tuberculosis. I am married to a wonderful man who knows exactly how to make me happy. I absolutely love reading and I wish I had more time to read, but I also love my research. I hope you find my book recommendations helpful and if you ever want me to review your book, just let me know!
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1 Response to Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman

  1. Logan Lo says:

    Hello Cynthia! My wife and I celebrated our anniversary recently as well – congrats!
    I actually read something similar on the NY Times where they had an article called “Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying” and my wife and I went through them before we took that big step, and we’re glad we did…

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