Let Christian Premarital Counseling & Coaching Work for your Future Marriage
Many people think couples counseling is only for people who are already waist-high or knee-deep in challenges, but that’s not true.
Getting married is one of the most important milestones in a person’s life. The newly engaged man or woman is very often in a euphoric state and receives so many congratulations and pats on the back. For you married couples, do you remember? As soon as you said "yes," or popped the question and received a “yes,” you likely moved on to thinking about the excitement of married life together.
Premarital counseling might not have even been a thought unless you were raised in a religious home.
Today, only 44 percent of couples who get married agree to premarital counseling before walking down the aisle. But couples who do undertake premarital counseling before their wedding have a 30 percent higher marital success rate than those who do not. That’s quite significant!
For anyone contemplating marriage or those in your sphere of influence who are planning on marriage in the near future, JUST US highly recommends pre-marital counseling or coaching. I hope this blog gives you solid confidence that premarital counseling is effective in helping you and your partner address issues that married couples commonly struggle with.
Many people think couples counseling is only for people who are already waist-high or knee-deep in challenges, but that’s not true. Engaging in premarital sessions is incredibly wise and a great use of time. Such an activity helps you and your partner learn how to identify issues, have difficult conversations, and handle conflict that will inevitably arise at some point in your relationship. It allows a couple to lay down a firm foundation for their future.
Here are a few examples of topics that are discussed during a premarital counseling program:
- Individual and joint finances
- Parenting styles
- Communication styles
- Conflict resolution strategies
- Decision-making styles
- Gender roles in the marriage
- Religious beliefs and worldview
- Hot-button issues that you have discovered
Counselors and Life Coaches can help engaged couples better understand each other and God’s purpose for the covenantal relationship that is a marriage. The process is a powerful opportunity to ensure that each person and their relationship is rooted in God. It can inspire you to follow God’s plan for your lives individually and collectively. There are a host of obstacles awaiting your marriage, and you will do well to have some awareness of these topics and potential issues, especially at the onset, so that you won’t be blindsided.
Consider Selfishness. Multiple factors will determine the health of your marriage. A key determinant of a thriving marriage is the extent to which you are able to recognize and overcome your own selfishness. Marriage has to go both ways, with give and take from each spouse. The word of God admonishes believers, and this is most certainly applicable to spouses in the wisdom found in Ephesians 5:21: Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
If one person typically gives and the other takes, it may be a far cry from healthy, and will be devoid of intimacy and mutuality.
This is where healthy boundaries are so important. Just because your spouse asks you to do something doesn’t mean you have to drop everything and do it. It is not selfish to ask for clarification, or to postpone it for a short time. If you are exhausted, saying “no” or “I really don’t have the bandwidth” may be necessary self-care. Talk about it, express how the request lands on you, and most importantly, have patience with one another as you negotiate or work through it.
Consider Distribution of Chores. In single-income households, oftentimes the person who stays at home typically takes care of a lot of the chores. If the outside worker comes home from work and expects dinner on the table and not to have to help at all around the house, this is a recipe for frustration. Some down time after work is a reasonable expectation, but to saddle one person with all the housework is only sustainable if that person is genuinely okay with it. The sooner you can identify and voice your frustration, the less likely you are to have an argument about it. And remember, speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Consider Stagnation. Every marriage faces periods of time when one or both individuals are what we like to say at JUST US – “dog tired.” Take notice of when you started feeling this way because the syndrome doesn’t go away on its own. Getting ahead of these problematic syndromes like stagnation can be difference between liking your future spouse and tolerating them. Remember that relationships can be like roller-coaster rides – but don’t allow the roller-coaster to swing too far in any direction.
Consider Temptation. In many marriages, at some point each spouse will be tempted to stray by someone outside the marriage. It may seem obvious, but the stronger and more grounded in God’s principles your marriage is, the better able you will be to resist temptation. We all need to be seen, known, valued, and loved well. If we do not get any one of these things from our spouse, it wounds us and we might intentionally or unwittingly be drawn to someone to soothe us in that area.
A guy at a bar was chatting up a single woman saying, “My wife doesn’t understand me.” The implication is that “I am not getting what I need from my marriage, so I will look for it somewhere else.” This is where our awareness, commitment to our vows, and commitment to God can save us. Also critical is our capacity to take and hold an adult position. An adult gets to say, “No, I will not take this momentary pleasure at the expense of my loved ones.” A wounded individual often only recognizes and acts upon what he or she perceives as an immediate need.
Finally, no one makes it through childhood without experiencing challenges of some kind and very often trauma. We bring those wounds into the marriage, and move in and out of younger, more selfish, more demanding self-states, which disrupt marital harmony. This is why premarital counseling is worth pursuing, so you increase your chances of bringing a better version of yourself into the relationship.
JUST US adheres to the words of Proverbs 19:20. “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”
We count it an honor to walk alongside couples contemplating the step of marriage and offering them our ladder of counsel, counsel borne of 26 years of walking together and walking with the Lord in marriage.