Marriage Prep | Identifying Sources of Clutter in Your Lives

Are you and your beloved in the season of preparing for marriage?

Just as our very nature as human persons is both material and spiritual, so too is every vocation. The call to marriage has a particularly tangible material element, as you and your fiancé prepare to combine two sets of possessions into a shared life.

Depending on your age, locations, and current situations, you might be living at your family home or with roommates, or one of you might even reside already in the rented or owned space you’ll soon share as husband and wife.

Have family and friends asked why you aren’t yet living together? More here on ways to talk about cohabitation.

Your home together will be your own domestic church; your source of rest and renewal. In our KonMari-friendly culture, there’s freedom in evaluating the physical items that might be hindrances to a beautiful, peaceful living space. As you anticipate and prepare for your first home together, consider evaluating not just the material, but the spiritual and emotional “clutter” you might be carrying. 

Here, questions to discuss with your beloved, intended to help you identify sources of clutter in your lives and determine fruitful ways to minimize or move past them. 

What’s our personal motivation to declutter?

Ridding yourselves of anything weighing you down (whether physical, spiritual, or emotional) prompts you to ask what exactly it is you hope to make room for.

A family mission statement can act as a touchstone and source of grace, clearly stating your hopes for your marriage. Read more about creating your own.

Consider, then, the habits, routines, and leisure the two of you hope to prioritize and pursue in your married life: is it a designated part of each day for prayer? Time to develop a hobby? Hosting and hospitality?

As you identify your hopes for your marriage and your family culture, you’ll grow in motivation to get rid of elements that detract from those hopes--if, for instance, you and your beloved desire a solid prayer routine as a bedrock of your relationship, you might feel more determined to commit to consistency, less phone time, and other distractions. Having a goal helps you remain focused!

What are our actual sources of clutter?

As you take stock of and pack your belongings for your newlywed home, identify physical items that are rarely used, in poor condition, or that you’ve brought with you from place to place “just in case” you’ll one day need them. Recycle, donate, or give items in good condition to a friend.

Consider what emotional and spiritual items you hope to move past, as well. Matters like family boundaries, wounds from past relationships, and mental health issues aren’t eliminated the moment you say your vows, yet taking active steps now toward resolving them in a healthy way will strengthen your relationship, for the remainder of your engagement and on into your marriage.

Have you experienced difficulty in resolving past relationships? More here: Healthy Ways to Talk About You and Your Beloved’s Pasts | The Benefits of Premarital Counseling

Lastly, identify sources of mental clutter in your life: are there areas of planning, scheduling, and priorities in which you could grow? Consider what tools and conversations you and your beloved can implement to keep your expectations and plans on the same page when your social calendar and career responsibilities become a shared effort.

What habits or commitments are drains on our time and goals?

From screens to overscheduling to general aimlessness, it’s easy to feel your time is limited and easily eaten away. And yet, we often choose to do what we really want to do, for better or worse. 

If you sense that there isn’t enough time to pursue the goals you have for your home life, ask—with honesty and charity—what habits distract from your priorities throughout the day and what social involvements might not be an ideal fit for this season of your lives. Talk about ways to support each other in your individual and shared goals, to keep each other accountable, and to use your time fruitfully.

The desire for a beautiful, peaceful home is good; a reflection of our heart’s pull toward our ultimate heavenly home. While entering into marriage doesn’t eliminate all sources of clutter, the effort of dealing with the cluttered areas of your lives brings about a shared, united outlook on your vocation and a sense of deeper freedom. And freedom is for love.