When you’re dating or engaged, the pre-marriage period leading up to the wedding can feel excruciatingly long. On top of that, this time in your life carries its own unique challenges. How can you and your significant other navigate these challenges successfully?

Today, we’re sharing three common issues that couples face during dating and engagement. Let’s jump in!

1. HELP! OUR MENTORS DON’T THINK WE SHOULD MARRY.

It’s difficult to learn that someone you look up to, like a trusted friend or your pastor, doesn’t support the marriage you’ve been planning. But when someone you trust raises a red flag about your impending wedding, it’s worth taking some time to pause and find out why. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get married, but what it does mean is slow down for now. It’s okay to take some extra time to prepare before taking this tremendous life step.

Most likely, the person concerned about your relationship has experience observing marriages. If it’s your pastor or counselor, they’ve seen many couples in pre-marital counseling and they know what to look for. And the secret they know is, the more time you’ve had to get to know each other as a couple before you get married, the more likely you are to have a happy and fulfilling marriage.

Keep in mind that when you’re in love, you’re blind. When someone says you shouldn’t get married, your first reaction is to be defiant. You want to get away from your detractors and do exactly what you want. But now isn’t the time to be impulsive. Instead, find out where they’re coming from, listen to their questions, and be respectful.

Don’t forget that you can also get a second opinion; objective feedback is crucial as you move forward with this important decision. Taking a relationship assessment together can help you take a step back and look at your dynamic from a different perspective. Our SYMBIS Assessment is one way to accomplish this. Find out more here.

[You Are Not the Only One Ministries and Consulting Services Inc are Symbis Certified Facilitators.]

Ultimately, the commitment to marry is yours to make. No one else can truly make this decision for you, so it’s important to equip yourself with as many tools as you can while you weigh your next steps.

2. SHOULD I MOVE TO BE WITH MY SIGNIFICANT OTHER?

If you’re not engaged yet and the person you’re dating moves away, should you follow? That really depends on where you’re at in your relationship.

If you’re thinking of following your boyfriend or girlfriend to a new city, the fact that you’re entertaining the thought proves you love them deeply. You likely want to pursue a very long-term relationship. But there’s risk involved with picking up and moving away from your home to follow them.

The biggest question is, has your significant other invited you along for this transition? Are they ready for you to take the risk? Moving to stay close to them won’t cement the relationship as permanent.

If you haven’t talked about getting engaged or married, you might actually harm the relationship by moving, too. But if they’re moving away and it’s breaking their heart to leave you, your following could signify a deeper commitment to your relationship.

The bottom line is, don’t follow your significant other on impulse. Before you call the movers, take time to evaluate the dynamics of your dating relationship and its potential future.

3. WE WANT OUR WEDDING TO BE ABOUT US, NOT OUR EXTENDED FAMILIES.

Planning a wedding is a wonderful time, but it can be stressful if your families are jockeying for control of the celebration. In fact, it can feel like you’re constantly avoiding landmines.

If the two of you totally agree on the kind of wedding you want, you need to sit down with your families and tell them what you genuinely desire. Respectfully invite them to be emotionally present, even though you may not share the same preferences and desires for the big day. Then, stick to what you’ve agreed on with your fiance.

Your families need to honor the choices you’re making together as a couple. Ultimately, this is your day. It’s not about what your mom, mother-in-law, or any other member of your extended families wants for you. While it’s totally fine to include your families and invite their opinions, you don’t have agree.

Are you dating or engaged? What kinds of challenges have you faced–and how are you working to overcome them? Or if you’re married, what did pre-marriage look like for you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.