For Dating Couples Marriage Relationships

The Value of Pre-Marital Counseling

August 15, 2015

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Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am passionate about godly marriages, families, and relationships. I love talking about lots of things, but I especially love talking about these 3 subjects. In this entry, I am going to focus on preparing for marriage by going through pre-marital counseling.

About 14 years ago, when my husband and I were engaged, we went through 6 sessions of this book, Called Together ( by Steve and Mary Prokopchak), with my pastor and his wife. It is an amazing workbook that uses a lot of Scripture and asks a lot of questions for the couple to answer. My husband and I loved going through this book so much ourselves, that in later years when we were asked to premarital counsel different couples, this was the book we always used.

When one is young and in love, you often cling to this belief that the fluttery love you are feeling when you are dating and engaged will carry you through anything in your marriage. I don’t mean to be a “Debbie Downer,” but any married couple that is honest and has been married past a month will tell you, that this is a false notion. Yes, there are times when that fluttery feeling will carry you through troubles, but there are also times when conflicts arise and you aren’t feeling so fluttery towards your spouse and you will need something more concrete to hold onto. (And just to be clear, my husband is amazing and those fluttery feelings do still exist in my marriage at times 😍)!

Proverbs 19:20-21 (ESV) says, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

I think it is wisdom when beginning a dating relationship to seek the counsel of trusted, more seasoned couples in your life. In the dating stage, you can get advice about keeping good physical and emotional boundaries. And when you are engaged I think it is crucial to continue to seek counsel about what marriage will be like. I love the book, Called Together, because it asks questions that you might never think to ask your fiancé, yet it is helpful to ask these questions before marriage to temper expectations and by discussing some of these questions on the front end, you may even avoid some future fights.

In case I have not convinced you yet of the value of getting pre-marital counseling, I wanted to share some comments from a few married friends who have benefitted from pre-marital counseling:

C, married 5 years~ “When we talk to newly engaged couples, my husband and I always recommend that they get couple-to-couple pre-marital counseling. It was such an important (and most of the time, fun) experience for us and helped give us an open platform to talk about things that we may otherwise not feel comfortable bringing up. Our ‘counsellors’ ( I prefer thinking of them as mentors) was a couple we both trust and look up to, and they’ve been such a blessing to us. Even now, five years and two kids later, we still quote things that they said in our counseling sessions. And we love that they are still there for us, even though we are on opposite sides of the world. They are people we can go to in good and bad times, and can keep me and my husband accountable to that decision we first made to love and be committed to each other.”

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Y, married 8 years~“Pre-marital counseling was a great experience that allowed us to grow as a couple while ‘under the wings’ of a wise and happily married couple. It raised important talking points that we may have discussed previously as a couple but were challenged to go more in-depth while being guided and supported by our counseling couple. Pre-marital counseling provided a safe and neutral place to discuss these issues and gave us the opportunity to learn from the experiences of a healthily married couple. We found pre-marital counseling to be very helpful and enjoyable!”

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P and J, married 5 years~ “In the sessions, we talked about our love languages which helped prepare us to reach out to each another in the way we needed to feel loved.  We  read passages from the Bible regarding honoring our significant others, the roles of the husband/wife, and parenting.  We also discussed finances as I originally wanted to keep our accounts separate and have a joint account for expenses similar to some of my colleagues.  After much prayer and counseling, we decided it was best to have only one joint account where our finances were pooled together.  It was an important concept because in our new journey together, we needed to remember we were one team.  One cannot succeed without the other. The pre-marital  counseling helped us plan through some of the marriage decisions prior to our wedding and also seek Good in instances where we needed clarity.

 

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