When a couple is dating, some of the decisions that have to be made involve where to go out to eat on a date, what movie to watch on a Friday night, what to get one another for Christmas and birthdays, and how to interact with one another’s friends and family. Dating involves getting to know the other person and trying to mesh well with their personality and work through differences.
When a couple gets married, the decisions go from 10 to 100 very quickly. A couple must work through how they are going to pay bills, where they are going to live, who is going to do the laundry, and who is going to make dinner and go grocery shopping.
Couples must also try to set an agreeable budget, decide where to attend church together, and when/if they are going to have babies and raise their family. Couples must also learn how to work through disagreements and how to support one another’s personality differences.
Things to Consider in Premarital CounselingDeciding who you are going to marry is not a decision that should be made on a whim. If you are planning to get married, here are a few things to consider in premarital counseling and before you say “I do”:
Talk about finances.
It is important to discuss finances and come up with a budget before a couple says “I do.” Couples need to be aware of accrued debt, credit card bills, shopping habits, and how to navigate decisions regarding saving versus spending.
Mindy Crary said, “With honesty, open communication, and a willingness to look at your finances objectively, couples can avoid becoming victim to the top money arguments, and move forward as a cohesive team.” Finances are one of the top marriage disagreement factors and with careful planning and cohesiveness, a couple can avoid a lot of potential fights.
Financial planning will help ease the adjustment period the first few months after a couple says “I do,” and allow them the opportunity to spend more time together without the frustration of working through their differences.
Discover your love language together.
A great read for discovering your love language is “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. For a couple to best serve and show love to one another, it is helpful to know how their significant other is best ministered to. Some couples feel love best through acts of service while others feel words of affirmation speak the loudest to their heart and soul.
Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages said, “Express love in the right language. We tend to speak our own love language, to express love to others in a language that would make us feel loved. But if it is not his/her primary love language, it will not mean to them what it would mean to us.”
God calls us to serve our spouse, and to effectively serve them, it helps to know how to minister to their heart. Does the wife prefer random acts of kindness, like receiving flowers just because; or does she prefer her husband to start the laundry and mopping the floor before she has a chance to do it?
Does the husband prefer his wife to watch his favorite show with him without complaining; or does he prefer a surprise golf trip with his dad and brother? Little things can go a long way in the marriage relationship. Preparing and learning about one another in premarital counseling can help a couple in tremendous ways, helping ease the months of trying to figure it out and gliding right into serving one another.
Talk about your past.While it is not always easy to do, it is important for couples to talk about their past relationships, emotional scars, and what made them the person they are today. It almost resembles reading the preface of a book; it gives a backstory to make the chapters of the book the absolute best they can be. It helps set the foundation, establishes a backstory, and helps a couple appreciate who the other person is today.
In premarital counseling, a counselor can help ease the awkwardness of discussing the past and help set the foundation for asking the right questions to really know and understand the other person. Some people have baggage, such as rape, abuse, or emotional scars that are difficult to bring up and talk about. It is important to let your significant other know that you are there for them during their good moments and while working through past turmoil.
In any relationship, it is important to listen with love rather than judgment. It is important to learn to make the marriage relationship a safe place to talk about your hopes, fears, baggage, struggles, and future plans. It is learning to be the other person’s biggest advocate and cheerleader.
Developing a relationship as a team rather than as individuals is vital to the future of the marriage. It is helpful to understand that you cannot change a person’s past; however, if your partner knows they can come to you and receive love, you can always navigate the future together.
Establish healthy lines of communication. One key element in any relationship is to establish healthy lines of communication. Learning what questions to ask, when to ask them, and how to ask them are all vital components of navigating the marriage relationship. While many couples ask questions without hesitation, it is helpful to realize that the tone in which questions are asked or things explained have much to do with healthy versus unhealthy communication.
It is normal to have disagreements, but disagreements do not have to escalate verbally or in tone. It is normal to ask questions, but questions do not have to be asked in a way that makes the other person feel victimized.
Realize that no relationship is perfect.
It is important to realize that no relationship is perfect. In an age of social media where couples dote on one another, it can become all too consuming to search for and expect the perfect relationship. It is important to realize that once you say “I do,” there will be things to work through along the journey.
There will be differences of opinion. There may be job loss, miscarriage, infertility, loss in the family, or other unexpected situations. People change and couples must learn to navigate the ups and downs of life together. Marriage is a roller coaster of events, emotions, highs, and lows; therefore, it is important to realize that Jesus is the only constant.
If He is the center of the marriage, the marriage can exude love and light that not many will understand. A marriage centered on Jesus is focused on serving the other person, forgiving, and being slow to anger. Ephesians 4:2-3 says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Jesus set the ultimate example of laying down one’s pride, being merciful and humble; and loving others regardless of their shortcomings. If this is the foundation of the marriage relationship, it will soar beyond what anyone could hope for.
Getting Started with Premarital Counseling
Scheduling a premarital counseling session can help a couple to plan financially, discover their love language, learn how best to serve one another, talk about the past, ask the right questions, and establish healthy lines of communication that will help the marriage soar for years and years to come. Premarital counseling is an investment in your relationship that sets the tone for your future together.
Marriage is a beautiful journey. With any journey comes different obstacles that a couple has to work through; however, the more you plan for the journey, the more you can enjoy the scenery. Schedule a session today to help your future marriage soar.
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