While I was a newbie to Pre-Marital Counseling (PMC), I vote YES! I think it is a GREAT way to get expectations and feelings out there that you might not have realized or you knew all along but didn’t know how to address with your spouse to be. I think those couples who choose not to seek pre-marital counseling are afraid of what they may discover about themselves, their spouse to be, or their relationship in general. No matter how much you have discussed and resolved on your own, having an outside NON-BIASED perspective could help you and your relationship a great deal. Outside of “being too busy”, the EXCUSE of all EXCUSES (because I bet you make time for Happy Hour, TRUE BLOOD, ESPN, or Gossip Girl) is not a decent justification for not partaking in it. That being said….
When my husband and I sat down for our first session, I was anxious because I didn’t know what to expect and although I had very mixed reviews of how PMC sessions work from various people, I knew I had to see how it worked for myself. The couple that counseled us had been together for 35 years and in a word, they were – awesome! They were very warm, down to earth and we didn’t feel uncomfortable which I think was is important when you will be discussing your personal business. We really liked being counseled by a couple because it as we discussed things, there was both a male/female perspective to help us process.
The first session involved an overview of what to expect from the counseling for you as an individual and as a couple. One of the things that they mentioned that I think is so true today is how much people focus on the wedding and not the marriage! People get so caught up in the dresses, tastings, flowers, colors, favors, guest lists etc. that they forget when all the fuss is over it will just be you and the person standing next to you till death do you part. *wipes sweat from brow*
But there’s no need to fret because I honestly do believe that if you put God first in your marriage that all other things should fall into place. A lot of times couples and people forget to do this in their day to day lives and that’s when they end up having problems. I am guilty of doing this and it’s nothing to be ashamed of because we are all human and have our faults. At the same time, I am not a bible basher nor will I try to impose my thoughts and views on others as I can only speak for myself. However, in my time on this earth I have known that trying to do my own thing opposed to what God has planned for me generally has not worked out in my favor, but when I “let go and let God” (pardon the cliché), life has been much easier.
To dive into our session after the preliminary stuff, we took a little questionnaire to see what things we agreed/somewhat agreed-disagreed/somewhat disagreed on. The questions ranged from:
- Do you give in too easily when disagreements occur?
- Do you get jealous when your significant other hangs out with the opposite sex?
- Do you feel like your significant other’s activities (i.e. surfing the net, watching TV, work, social events) takes time away from you?
- Do you feel your significant other considers your feelings?
Now please note these questions are basic and as it was, the first session so I am sure they were just a warm up before diving into the more fun topics like sex, kids and finance! Overall, they were great questions because some questions we interpreted differently and were able to discuss and understand why he thought one thing and I thought another. It didn’t mean that one of us was wrong or right, it just meant how we thought about/framed the question was different.
If you’re interested in doing your own research or having some guidance check out the links below.
The Five Love Languages– By Dr. Gary Chapman….AWESOME Book for couples and singles and they have a male version as well. My fiancé and I BOTH read the book and it really is a great tool!!!
Thnigs I wish I knew before I got married – Have also read this one and its written by the same man Dr. Gary Chapman.. Another GREAT read for those who are thinking about marriage or engaged!!
Prepare Enrich– helps you find counselors in your area for premarital, marriage, counseling etc (lots of great tools!!)
Real Marriage – suggested by one of my BMs (Thanks DMT =)and it has some GREAT stuff on there. It does not try to paint marriage like its sunshine and rainbows. It takes work but it’s a rewarding fulfilling experience so I like that! (check out the videos)
Image: Mad About Marriage