021: Preparing for Marriage & Surviving the First Year

Podcast Guest: Dr. Mark Ogletree

021: Preparing for Marriage

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In this Episode

Join in today on the Stronger Marriage podcast as Dave and Liz sit down with Mark Ogletree, a professional marriage and family educator, to guide you through how to not just survive, but thrive in your marriage. Whether you’re a fiance, newlywed, or long-time spouse, these tips apply to all couples and are sure to help you strengthen your relationship.

0:00 – Introduction: Who is Mark Ogletree?
2:51 – Why would couples who are in love benefit from premarital education?
4:15 – Discovering more about each other through relationship assessments
6:17 – Great conversations to have before marriage
7:46 – The 12 core traits to build a marriage on
9:24 – Topics to discuss when engaged, newlywed, or at least in the first year of marriage
11:36 – It doesn’t matter what they think - It is what’s best for you
14:00 – Expectations - verbalizing and discovering them through relationship assessments
16:03 – #1 core belief that needs alignment in order to build a successful marriage and family
18:41 – Is it normal for engaged couples to get irritated with each other?
21:47 – Research shows that every couple will have about 10 things they just can’t resolve - and that is okay
23:09 – Red flags that may urge you to hit the brakes
25:11 – Addictions, extreme views, lying, cheating, narcissism
27:20 – How does your partner get along with your family? How do they feel about your partner?
29:58 – How they treat their mom may reflect how they will treat you one day
31:49 – Negative effects of phones/social media on marriage and family relationships
33:46 – Topics that couples often struggle with in the first year of marriage
35:00 – First year of marriage is an opportunity to decide what kind of team you’ll be
37:12 – Common areas of adjustment for newlyweds
40:00 – Comparison is the thief of joy
42:05 – Principle of reciprocity between couples and in-laws
45:02 – Keeping up the practices that caused you to fall in love - talk and time rituals
47:47 – Mark’s take away - love and affection looks different for everyone
49:35 – Liz’s take away - what is fun for you may not be fun for them
50:00 – Dave’s take away - humility, being open to change, expecting respect

About Dr. Mark Ogletree

Mark is a professional educator, having taught for over 20 years in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints seminary and institute program. Since 2010, he has worked as a professor in the department of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University. He is also a licensed professional counselor, having worked with individuals, couples, and families for the past 30 years. Mark is the author of books and articles on topics ranging from marriage, family, and contemporary Church history. He has also been a regular presenter at Brigham Young University’s Education Week for the past 20 years. Mark and his wife Janie have been married for 35 years. They are the parents of eight children, and 22 grandchildren. Mark and Janie love spending time with their children and grandchildren, traveling, and spending time on the lake.

Dr. Mark Ogletree Links




Insights and Invites


Dave: Comparison is the thief of joy
Liz: It is absolutely normal for engaged couples to get irritated with each other
Mark: Anytime a couple can work out conflict, that’s a healthy relationship


  • Whether you're engaged or newlywed, sit down with your partner and discuss at least three of the topics mentioned by Mark Ogletree. Examples could be finances, intimacy, or in-laws. Having these conversations will ensure that you and your partner are on the same page.
  • Alone or with your significant other, take the free RELATE assessment on the Utah Marriage Commission website to evaluate and gain a better understanding of your
    relationship. At the end, choose one meaningful discussion question and have a conversation about it with your partner.
  • Never stop dating your spouse! Write notes, surprise each other, send sweet texts, compliment and praise one another like you did before you were married. Keep doing what made you fall in love in the first place.
  • Decide with your partner what some good “talk and time together rituals” would work for you as a couple. Whether it’s going on walks at night just the two of you or  having time alone in the morning before the kids wake up to plan the day ahead. Make these rituals an important part of your daily connection.

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