The Sunny Lifestyle of a Home Journalist

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

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10 Books to Read When You're Engaged

So the other weekend, Valentine's Day weekend actually, I got engaged! It was a totally magical experience and you can read all about it in my post here

But ever since then, my life has basically been consumed with everything to do with weddings and preparing for the future. I've been a little overwhelmed not only with the planning but also with thinking about the coming responsibility. There's so much involved with being a godly wife and while it's always been my dream career choice, I can only hope I'm ready.

Since I've known for awhile that this part of my life was coming up, one thing I've been doing is reading up. Well, it's not like I read these books purely for marriage purposes, it was also for fun purposes, but a lot of my reading lately has worked out to benefit both. 

Maybe it's just because that's where my mind is. Maybe everything I've ever read or done lately relates to marriage because I mentally force it to relate? Regardless, the books below really do have both deep and practical knowledge that's probably very beneficial for girl's getting ready to marry. I mean, I'm not married yet so there's no way to know for sure, but I doubt I'll change my mind later on.

Of course, there are a million other books in the world that would help, too. I doubt there's ever a way you could read everything you need to be a good wife. Unless you had a really really really long engagement. But even then.

1. The best possible book you could read in preparation for marriage is the Bible! Specifically Titus 2, I Peter 3:1-8 and I Corinthians 13, but there's so much else, too. The stories of Ruth, Esther, Abigail, Mary Magdalene and Mary Jesus' mother are also great focuses.

This is a memoir of the Chief Usher at the White House from the FDR Administration to the Nixon one. He talks about his first hand experiences with Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Truman, Mamie Eisenhower, Jacqueline Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson and a little of Pat Nixon. It shows how each First Lady spiffed up the White House in their own way, and how they truly supported their husbands with their background but very weighty influences. It's super interesting and one of my favorite quotes came from Lady Bird Johnson who told him "My husband's needs come first, then my kids and I'll take whatever's left." To me, that sums up exactly how a wife should be.

My opinion on this book may have to go into a whole other post, but generally it has some really good tips in it. Even though some of her ideas are a little extreme, her folding method really is life-changing like she says. Well, maybe a step below life-changing because the way clothes are folded isn't that important to me. But I'm so glad I figured it out now. And I couldn't do it until I watched this video tutorial.

I haven't read this yet, but definitely intend to. It's the sequel to her book above but it has a lot more practical tips in it, without the deep psychology, plus more illustrations.

This one is my favorite. I got it on Kindle and I've practically highlighted the whole thing because there's so much good in it. I read it last summer and even though I hardly ever reread books, I'm reading it again now.

A few good quotes:
"Walking through the door of knowledge will make you a stronger, healthier, smarter and more resourceful person. It will make you a more capable wife, a wiser mother and an interesting person. It could save your life or that of your husband or child."

"[When I became a wife,] I was suddenly responsible for keeping a large house clean, doing all the laundry, washing every dish, cooking every meal, entertaining large groups of peope at the drop of a hat and stretching money so thin that the grocer couldn't see color. In the midst of all this responsibility, I had to learn to live with and serve a messy, demanding husband. You spend your time pining away for your one true love and suddenly you're married and it's a lot more than you bargained for. Now is the hour you should be preparing to be a help meet."

6,7. Ishmael & Self Raised by E.D.E.N. Southworth
These aren't self-help, but this is one of my favorite series ever. The romance story in it really makes you think about the importance of marrying the right kind of person. Plus, it has other core values like hard work, integrity and friendship. These are so old and forgotten by now, but they shouldn't be cause they're amazing. Plus, they're free on Kindle.

Another fiction, this one's about a young girl who suddenly inherits her rich uncle's huge farm. She has three charming suitors over the course of like two years and faces some pretty tragic consequences of not handling them right. It shows what qualities should really be sought out in a man, like integrity, steadfastness and friendship. Rank, looks, charm and financial status isn't important. He must be a true confidant whose honest and willing to show his love by waiting!

I haven't read this yet but there's so many practical tips in it for every occasion and I'm dying to pick it up next time I have time. Which may not be until after I'm already married, but that's just the way it is.

This one was so helpful once you got past a few of the tedious parts. I love the way the author thinks. She makes me want to skip getting married and just be a famous researcher and writer... Hahaha kidding. But since most marriage arguments are about money, this might prove useful.

Like I said, I'm only beginning to know everything I need to prepare for this fast approaching part of my life! But this is at least a start. Now, to cook, clean, plan, shop, spend time with family, make money and mentally prepare like a mad woman, among other things. Let's just say my blogging is about to become a lot less frequent and that's okay. 


  1. Wow, lots of reading! You'll be married before you get it all done!

  2. Well I've already read most of these :P but yeah if I started now it would be too late haha

  3. "I was suddenly responsible for keeping a large house clean, doing all the laundry, washing every dish, cooking every meal, entertaining large groups of people at the drop of a hat and stretching money so thin that the grocer couldn't see color."
    Okay, just a thought or two: if this what happened in Debi Pearl's marriage, then (in my humble, uninformed opinion) the husband was negligent on several counts. 1) He should be helping her at some level with household chores and entertaining people; 2) And even if you're of the mind that 'if it's under a roof, the husband shouldn't touch it' (my mom taught me firmly otherwise), the no-help husband should at least be able to make sufficient provision for the family's needs. Not to say the wife shouldn't be economical, but 'stretching money so thin the grocer couldn't see color' sounds illegal!--or at the very least, characteristic of a poor breadwinner.

    I don't know Mrs. Pearl's background, but it seems that 'traditional Christian' marriage books tend to heavily emphasize wife's duties--submitting, respecting the husband, care of the home, etc.--and go light on the husband's part in the marriage. Clearly, there must be a balance. Thoughts?

    1. Wow lots to reply to! Haha okay.. so you're first point- yeah of course, if this was exactly the case and she was "washing every dish," etc., the husband definitely could have helped out with that. I think she's just trying to help us realize the responsibility, not necessarily say that you won't have any help with it. Saying that SHE had to do it ALL was probably a slight exaggeration. The quote about stretching the money thin was also (obviously) an exaggeration lol.. I agree that the husband should be able to provide more accurately than that and if he can't then they shouldn't be married, but there are some cases in marriages when money does have to be stretched super thin, if only for awhile.

      She also wrote this after saying that she had married a preacher, which would explain why money was more scarce for them and why she might have had more responsibilities than the typical wife.

      This book does focus more on duties for women and not men (and even my post did). That's probably why the book mentioned nothing about husbands helping out with duties... it's really meant for young girls preparing, not men. Personally I've never searched for or read marriage preparation books specifically for men but Debi Pearl's husband did write a few of them. (One called "Created to Need a Help Meet" and one called "In Search of a Help Meet.") You might be hesitant to trust him since you thought he sounded neglectful, but I honestly don't think that's what the author was implying.

    2. Lol that all makes sense--context is everything.

      I looked at the Amazon review for "Created to Need a Help Meet", and I found it still is mostly focused on the woman's role. See if you agree:
      "Most men marry a lovely lady and then find out she is not equipped to satisfy all of his needs. A woman is complicated being; her complex needs have to be met before she will desire to meet yours. Most men need instructions to break the code of what might drive his woman to delight in pleasing him."

      Anyways, I'm sure the Pearls have some good advice, but it would take a balanced COG perspective to get my full support!

    3. Yeah, still sounds a little women-centered. It is weird how there's seems to be a lot of focus on girls trying to be good wives and not so much vice versa. Hmm. Maybe you'll have to write a book yourself when you have more experience hehe..

      Yeah COG perspectives are definitely ideal, but I do know at least she has some really good pointers nonetheless.



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