If there is one thing my husband and I point others to do before marriage, it is premarital counseling. Hands down, this course helped us to know each other even more by diving deep into what a Godly marriage should look like and how we can achieve a healthy relationship in the years to come.
Over five weeks of tests, deep conversations, speakers and even tears, we became in-tune to the future ahead of us and what it was we were committing to.
On the first day of our marriage prep course we were told at least three couples, out of about 15 in the room, were not going to succeed. Whether the couple decides before stepping up to the alter, right after they get married or years down the road…three marriages would fail. In the moment that number seemed high to me, as well as discouraging. But as my husband and I come up on three years of marriage this month, we see couples struggling left and right to make it work…and that right there is the problem.
We have all heard or practice the ideal that we must “fight” for our relationships, that we must “make it work.” In reality, that is not how God designed our relationships to be - dating, engaged or married.
The relationship with our significant other is created to magnify God; not partially, but in every sense. He wants us to be in harmony, in sync, and happy with who He has placed us with. First we must focus on God, then who He has created us to be and then we can enter into a relationship with someone equally focused on God and comfortable with who they are in Him. There are a multitude of reasons why we, as women, convince ourselves of staying in a relationship even when we know something is off. But what if we chose to not settle, to wait for the man God created for us.
The number one issue, according to our counselors that first day, is poor communication. Plain and simple, that is what it always boils down to. Not saying what you mean, thinking about something you wish they would have done without telling them and then getting mad when they didn’t do it, misunderstanding them, not listening, refusing to take their feelings into account during discussions, and not conveying your hopes, goals and dreams to each other. Everything goes both ways and premarital counseling helps to bring light to the many facets of communication that one would not typically think of.
I will be the first to admit that communication was my weakest area when I first started dating my now husband. He flat out told me one day, as we sat in the car after a date, that if I did not start communicating with him that he was not sure he could continue pursuing me. That was my wake up call. We absolutely knew we loved each other by this point, but I was holding us back from moving forward in that love because I would not open up, I would not simply speak, and I had a hard time believing he would stay with me even after the countless times he reassured me of his love. I spent years working specifically on this area and by the time we signed up for premarital counseling, it was my second highest strength on the test we were given.
I am not gloating by any means when I say all this. I want you to realize what may be holding you back as well, what may be needed before entering into a marriage. What you may need to work on.
Take it to God first. Work on yourself second. Then bring it into your relationships.
I know that counseling in any sense seems scary, especially if you feel you have everything already in order for your marriage, career and life and general. But trust me when I say that it truly can’t hurt to do a course, and it certainly will help you align yourselves with God before entering into the marriage He has prepared for you. Check out your local churches for what offerings they may have and read reviews of their courses and counselors before committing - make sure it is right for each of you.