My last post promised more details about the premarital counseling sessions that my husband and I were required to attend. Premarital counseling helps couples to prepare for marriage, to ensure a healthy relationship, and to identify relationship strengths and weaknesses – all of these things may help conquer future problems during a marriage (Mayo Clinic, 2011). I knew that many couples do attend therapy prior to marriage, but honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from our first session. My husband and I are both quite open with our communication with one another, but neither of us knew how to feel about including a third party in the mix.
Our therapist was great – he is employed by our church and provides counseling to members at a highly discounted rate. Dr. L was extremely personable and thankfully engaged in humor to make each of the interactions a bit less awkward. We covered many topics including communication, love, family, boundaries, budgets, and *gulp* SEX.
After a bit of research, I found that Dr. L utilized a solution-focused type framework in our counseling. This type of counseling helps couples discuss and come to a general consensus about what the future of their marriage looks like, and develop strategies that will aid in establishing their vision (Murray & Murray, 2004). Although some of the tools covered in this research weren’t used, Dr. L included other exercises like an in-session questionnaire concerning relationship strengths and weaknesses, a survey about family life and relationships taken separately, and a take-home assignment of creating a family budget. All of these exercises were surprisingly helpful. R and I thought we knew everything about each other – turns out there was more to discover!
What did we discover?
Our families are very different! We were definitely aware of this, but we weren’t fully aware of how this may present obstacles in the expectations within our marriage.
Our personalities don’t have as many similarities as I thought. I’m extreme in my people pleasing quest while he has established better boundaries than I have.
When it comes to decision-making, I’m a talker while he is a thinker. We learned that just because I talk about things, it doesn’t mean I make snap-decisions. Although he doesn’t talk about things, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care or doesn’t want the same things.
We learned the value of a purity vow prior to marriage. We both agreed that it made our bond stronger. Sex is very important part of marriage – God created it! I’ve learned to become more comfortable in talking about sex in our relationship, but honestly the conversation we had to have about this in counseling was AWKWARD!!!!!!!! Nothing could have prepared me for that!
Lastly, but most importantly, R and I learned about trusting in God for everything within our marriage. We have incorporated praying together in our relationship, which has been a truly joyful experience. We hope to continue to work on sharing devotional time together.
We are currently enjoying the beginning of our journey, and we look forward to conquering obstacles together by placing God first.