In my previous articles on premarital counseling, I introduced the idea of nuggets of wisdom as one of the most helpful aspects of premarital counseling. These are specific pieces of wisdom that one can easily apply to one’s life, and which one can remember throughout life.
Where Do Nuggets Come From?We can encounter these ‘nuggets’ in two different ways. They can be pieces of wisdom that we come across in precisely the right way at the right time. They just ‘stick,’ because we were already primed and ready to receive a particular lesson in such a way that it becomes part of us.
Nuggets can also come custom-designed, especially in a professional premarital counseling setting. When a particular theme or an important lesson comes to the surface, the counselor and counselees can verbalize it in such a way that it becomes a nugget. It becomes like a mission statement that is repeated, processed and integrated into the lives of the counselees. For example, a fiancé might think that her husband-to-be is as strong as a rock, but she might find his tendency to think and plan internally, without communicating with her, distressing. In this context, his custom-made nugget may be “to be an emotionally intelligent rock, whose plans are painted on the outside.” The male fiancé could be asked to find a rock, paint “plans” on the outside of it, and keep it as a fun reminder of what he learnt in counseling.
How Do Nuggets Work?
Once a thought becomes a nugget, it will pop up during hard times. It reminds you to be active when you’re being passive, and it guides you when you’re unsure. In other words, nuggets are the wise thoughts that become part of who you are.
In the rest of this article and the following article, I provide some examples of nuggets that can help you in your marriage. I did an informal survey among my married friends and colleagues, asking them for their nuggets, and I also added some of my own. Here are some valuable examples:
Nuggets on Maintaining Perspective
- Being closer to Christ than to anyone else will prepare you for marriage, and through the Holy Spirit He will sustain you in your marriage more than anyone else.
- When it comes to time, quantity is almost the same as quality. Many small words and gestures are more powerful than a single large dose.
- Marriage is the place where you learn how selfish you really are, and in ways that you didn’t know. In marriage, you are called to be selfless at a level that you never faced before. (I call this the character logical crucible of marriage).
- Make your partner the person you confide in most deeply and don’t share that level of intimacy with anyone else. Tell your partner if you talked about them with someone else, and tell them what you said.
- Marriage is not about being fair. Having said that, you should seek equality at all times, even when it means balancing imbalances, giving in the kitchen, choosing the evening’s movie, or both of you getting two and a half cookies or doing four chores each, and getting one car each. You do need to try to be equal. But, having done that, we need to acknowledge that it’s never about trying to get your fair share or seeking a position of power.
- You can tell a lot about someone by their parents, but your marriage is your marriage. Be yourselves.
- When you are courting, you are actively seeking to see your partner’s goodness. But when you have made a commitment to each other, you start to only see their bad points. Be ready to overlook things that the Accuser points out – whether real or imagined – and trust your decision to love them.
- Your job is to set your partner free and to see them become the person they were created to be. Let go of your expectations and nurture your partner so that they may truly blossom.
Christian Counseling Can Help You Prepare for Marriage
In my next article, I will continue to suggest further nuggets that can be helpful as you prepare for marriage and reflect on your future together. As a Christian Counselor, I have found that preparing for their marriage is one of the most important investments that a couple can make. There are many aspects to this and the nuggets presented in this article may raise issues that you feel you need to reflect on and discuss. A trained Christian counselor can help you and your partner in this process of preparing for your life together.
Photos are from freedigitalphotos.net; Isolated Pyrite Stock Photo by smokedsalmon, published on 05 February 2012; Stock Photo – image ID: 10071623; Young Couple Romancing Stock Photo by photostock, published on 09 May 2011