There are lots of things that couples place on their “to do” list as it relates to weddings. The flowers, venue, guest list, and reception menu are just a few. Add to the list premarital counseling. After all the hugs, kisses, and well wishes are said and the wedding cake eaten, comes the marriage!
Couples often describe the calculated time frames and check lists necessary to meet the grand expectations of their perfect day. During premarital counseling we discuss the effort and energy extended preparing for their wedding day, would also need the same determination to grow with one another. I call it next level loving. It is said that couples move from falling in love to being loving.
Premarital counseling is an excellent way to establish “next level loving” dynamic in a marriage. Here are just a few ways that Christian premarital counseling provides space and opportunity to develop tools toward loving to the next dimension of a relationship.
Petals of Grace
The flowers a bride will walk down the isle with frame the beauty of the moment. Petals of grace frame the way in which a couple can learn to give unmerited favor in the moment. Grace is an important element in next level love. When we learn to accept the imperfection on one another and ourselves it is much easier to extend grace. Counseling allows a couple to come face to face with family of origin challenges and habits that can derail communication.
Safe Support Systems
Often couples struggle with who to invite and how to limit the number of people remains in budget. Today’s couples find themselves stuck describing a safe support system. They find it hard to identify safe people in their network where they can articulate their concerns about marriage without judgment or criticism. There are various ways to develop support systems. Churches, family, and friends are great places to start. Many of my clients have found it beneficial to establish a relationship with me prior to the wedding. When issues arise, it makes it easier to discuss challenges with someone they already know.
Menu of Expectations/Roles
Couples meet with wedding venues to sample food for their upcoming nuptials. Great details are made to identify special needs such as Vegan or gluten free. The bride will insist that her wedding cake includes doves and bows, etc. You get the idea. It is surprising how quickly couples forget the special needs of their spouse. The things we did to attract our spouse are still necessary to maintain the relationship.
Find a Counselor
Over the past few years, I am surprised at the number of individuals who do not feel the need to secure a wedding coordinator or an individual who will own the responsibility of manage the intricate details of a wedding. It produces miscommunication and disconnects that tend to ripple well into the honeymoon. Enter the journey of marriage with the guidance of a counselor who specializes in supporting couples. Christian premarital counseling is not about telling couples they should or should not be married. Counseling provides an opportunity for couples to identify the following:
- Where are the perpetual problems in our relationship?
- What victories and challenges do they each bring to the marriage?
- How will they define the importance of sex, money, and family in the relationship?
- Are there norms and expectations that are unspoken that require exploration?
The above questions are just a few areas of importance that couples have found beneficial to address early in the relationship instead of later. Marriages today are under numerous challenges. Premarital counseling provides the framework in which to address what could, would, and may happen. Christian premarital counseling has been worth the cost when compared to the cost of divorce. Invest in your marriage early and often. I look forward to supporting you through the tool of counseling.