You’ve just become engaged and the next question you hear from everyone is, “Have you set a date?!”
Sound familiar? The pressure to have a date and plan the perfect party to celebrate can not only be overwhelming, but cause unforeseen stress in your relationship.
Don’t get me wrong- planning a wedding is FUN and EXCITING! Spending days, weeks, months picking the perfect dress, giving gifts to ask friends & family to be in your wedding party, taking engagement photos, settling on “colors”, sending out save the dates…
In a day and age where planning and preparing for a beautiful wedding is given so much attention— my encouragement is to spend the SAME, if not MORE time preparing for a beautiful marriage. Not just in a cheeky, instagram picture perfect caption way- but truly.
A beautiful marriage isn’t something you see in headlines, on E News or typically on Instagram. A beautiful marriage is created through seasons of highs AND lows, the joyful AND the painful, the optimistic moments AND barely hanging on by a thread. Most of us smile and our hearts are light when we see an elderly couple holding hands on their 50th wedding anniversary or swaying together during an Anniversary Dance at a wedding… but what did it take to get there and how can engaged couples prepare and plan for something so beautiful?
I know this might get a few eye rolls or sighs of “that’s for religious couples”, but bare with me for a second. We study, work hard and seek tips/advice/guidance to prepare for every other adventure or goal in life we have. Why should a beautiful marriage be any different? No, I’m not saying it’ll be a guarantee for a marriage void of conflict, hurt or trials. And quite honestly, nothing can TRULY prepare you for it like the real thing, BUT- premarital counseling can help both of you to understand each other better, open communication, set goals and expectations in advance, discuss hard topics that can lead to fights like finances, past trauma, family background, family boundaries, jealously, insecurity, your past, sex, children, household chores and roles within the marriage.
So what does pre marital counseling look like in real life?
If you’re apart of a church- you can seek out your pastor and his wife for premarital counseling.
Whether you’re apart of a church or not, you can seek out a seasoned, married couple who you look up to and has a high view of marriage to do premarital counseling with the two of you.
If neither of these are an option for you, don’t let this hold you back from premarital counseling. I’ve included a list of helpful books the two of you can go through together to help set realistic expectations for marriage, prepare your hearts and be on the same page when it comes to marriage.
While premarital counseling is a helpful tool for setting you two up for success, it’s definitely not the end all. Beautiful, lifelong marriages take WORK- just like anything worth having and keeping. They sometimes require routine maintenance, which is ok and NORMAL. Your marriage is not a failure if you did premarital counseling and you now find yourselves fighting more often than you’d like to admit, but what premarital counseling can do is create a foundation and be a tool to draw back to and remind each other of the goals and expectations you two set. Sometimes goals and expectations will need to be shifted, adjusted or changed—which should be done together. Each season can bring new challenges, which can’t always be prepared for.
If you’re skeptical about premarital counseling, my question to you would be— can it hurt?
TO BE CONTINUED…