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To get answers to your questions about Before "I Do" or premarital preparation ideas, read the following questions answered by the author of Before "I Do," K. Jason Krafsky.  (If you have more questions, contact him by email, Facebook, Twitter or phone).

How is Before “I Do” different from other premarital education books on the market?

Written by a Gen X-er raised in the divorce culture and published in the 21st Century, Before “I Do” is created for this generation of couples.  From the layout of the book to how the material is written, every page has been crafted with this generation’s needs, wants, fears, and issues in mind.  Before “I Do” feeds their desire to learn through guided self-discovery, their aspiration for authentic and meaningful discussion, and their need to understand what it takes to make a marriage go the distance.  While there are other great premarital materials on the market, Before “I Do” is also designed with Marriage Investors (clergy, chaplain, counselor, mentor couple, class leader couple, small group leader) in mind.  With the amount of content, questions, and exercises, Before “I Do” relieves Marriage Investors from the pressure to have to “know it all”.  

So, is Before “I Do” a workbook or a book?

Both!  Before “I Do” is designed to force readers to interact with the material.  Some sections are heavier on reading content, while other sections have charts to fill out, or a series of questions to answer.  While many workbooks on the market require the purchase of another book to read, we believe that simpler is better.  Giving each individual one book to read and work through is less intimidating, and cheaper than having them purchase three, four, or more books.

What topics are covered in Before “I Do”?

Before “I Do” focuses on the most important issues couples must talk about and skills couples must have to experience all marriage has to offer.  Issues covered include: covenant, transitioning into marriage, personality differences, expectations, roles in marriage, boundaries in relationships, spiritual matters, personal and couple goals, sex and intimacy, and more.  Skills couples acquire include: how to resolve conflict, setting up peace plan, steps to forgiveness, creating a budget, and more.

There’s a lot of content in the book, is it realistic for couples to complete the book before the wedding?

Before “I Do” is comprehensive, thorough, and chock-full with insights, skills, and information.  Because couples find the material insightful and practical, both partners become self-motivated to complete the sections.  Couples can complete Before “I Do” before the wedding if they start your premarital education program well enough in advance.  If for some reason, time does not permit, or your program cannot accommodate eight sections of material, then choose six sections for the couple to complete before the wedding, and make the other two optional or to be finished after the wedding.   I would much rather have people remark that there is too much information, then there is too little.

What is your recommendation on how couples should work through Before “I Do”?

The eight sections are divided into seven days of activity. 

  • The first five days are designed for individual work and personal introspection.  In just 10-15 minutes, each day’s assignment teaches or reveals a new concept, skill or idea.  
  • The sixth day is designed for the couple to get together and share what they have learned, as well as discuss some questions.  Couples should plan to spend 45-90 minutes discussing the section. 
  • The seventh day is reserved for the couple’s time with a Marriage Investor (clergy or older couple they meet with) to further share what they learned individually and together, and the Marriage Investor can facilitate a deeper conversation on practical and/or Scriptural application.  This meeting should be scheduled for 60-90 minutes, unless it is part of a class or small group dynamic.

Are the seven days of activity in each section literal days?

No, they don’t have to be literal days … but they definitely could be.  Before “I Do” is designed for personal introspection and dynamic conversation so couples can get the most out of the book. The “days” were created to simplify the order of steps (individual work during days 1-5, couples dialogue on day 6, and meet with a Marriage Investor on day 7) to get the most out of the couple.  Typically, one of them tends to be self-motivated to complete the material, while the other one may be less motivated.  The “days” provide a natural pacing so one doesn’t get too far ahead of the other.  Because each individual completes just five days of material before the couple gets together to debrief during Couple Time (day six), the risk of one falling behind is greatly minimized.  Ultimately, couples can go through the book at their own pace, based on your requirements and scheduling issues with your premarital education program.

How does Before “I Do” work with the PREPARE, FOCCUS or other relationship inventories?

Beautifully!  I (Jason) am trained in both PREPARE and FOCCUS, and wrote Before “I Do” with these terrific tools in mind.   In my own premarital work, I use PREPARE with every couple.  But rather than taking the couple through the individual results of the inventory, I show couples the 30,000 foot view of their relationship (share the major section strengths and growth areas), and then use the inventory in each meeting I have with them.  Knowing the section we will be covering in Before “I Do”, I read the inventory results that focus on that primary topic so to prepare myself to make the most of our time together.  The questions I ask and the topics I bring up are based partly off the couple’s PREPARE results. 

(We are close to completing a guide the links the sections and exercises of Before “I Do” with the questions and sections of the inventory).  It will be available on the web site in Spring of 2007.

What are the dimensions of the book?

Before “I Do” is 10 7/8 inches X 8 1/2 inches.  Its 160-pages makes Before “I Do” just shy of 1/2 inch thick.  Before “I Do” weighs 16 ounces. 

Do couples need just one book or two?

To get the most out of Before “I Do”, each couple should have two books, one for him and one for her. 

© copyright 2005 K. Jason Krafsky | photographs © copyright 2005 Jeff Culp Photography

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