I’m about five years removed from my time of being engaged, so I can look back with clarity now. There are a few things I would go back and change (conversations I would approach differently, time I would have spent differently, details I would have worried less about, details I would have worried more about, etc.), but the one thing I would NEVER change is the fact that we did premarital counseling.
Many of my successfully married friends would also tell you to do just regular old marital counseling, but to be honest we haven’t so I can’t speak to that. But premarital counseling? For the love of all things good, do it.
A lot of people probably have a negative reaction to premarital counseling because you don’t want to pay to talk to a stranger about your relationship, but it doesn’t have to be like that.
Here’s what our premarital counseling looked like: we met weekly for 4 months with a couple from our church (who had been trained for this sort of informal counseling) and went through a book that was really just a way to guide our conversations. It was so helpful to have a set time each week that The Guns and I would sit down with a more experienced couple and go through the things that are not fun to bring up in conversation. Like chores, plans for visiting in-laws, how we’ll handle conflict, money, kids, debt, free time, vacations, and the list goes on and on. These meetings, even though we sometimes had to talk about not fun stuff, were honestly the best part of our week!
You think you’ll talk about that stuff while you’re engaged, but honestly you’re more likely to talk about what excursions you want to do on your honeymoon or that annoying distant family member that you must invite.
There’s a lot of formats for premarital counseling if you’re still not sure. You can try a conference near you, heading to your church and meeting with a pastor or minister, finding a family counselor, or even just finding a couple that’s been married and asking them (they will be flattered that you asked!). However you do it, just make it happen. As much as it’s important to plan a beautiful wedding, it’s also insanely important to plan a beautiful marriage.
Are you married or engaged? Did you or do you plan to go to premarital counseling?