Project Marriage Part 2: Pre-Marital Counseling

So yesterday was our first pre-marital couseling session with the Associate Pastor of our church.  Its been a real pain in the bootay trying to get these sessions underway (like three months in the making) so I was really anxious to see what it would be like after waiting so long.  As a firm believer in the sanctity of marriage and all of that I really wanted to make sure that my FI and I developed the right skills and aquired the necessary tools to start our marriage off on the right foot.  So pre-marital counseling was a no-brainer.  So as I mentioned, I really didn't know what to expect so I was a little anxious, but at the same time excited because I know its something we need and something that could only do us good in the long run. 


So we sit down with the pastor and start talking.  He mostly started off with explaining to us the format of the sesions, how long they will be and what we hope to accomplish.  That was cool.  But then he started asking us some questions that really made me...I guess it really made me realize just WHAT we are getting into, what we could possibly be in for and that marriages are: a lot of WORK.  I mean I guess its nothing that I didn't already know but sitting down with the pastor and actually hearing him say it was like, WOW.  This is the person you're going to spend THE rest of your life with.  Its time out for the games, the selfish bahavior, and the immature attitudes.  It also means that if you really want to connect with this person that you have to dig deep down into yourself and bear it all: your fears, your true feelings, your concerns...it became a little overwhelming.  I mean, without going into too much detail (I know these sessions are supposed to be private but its MY life I can talk about it if I want to) there wasn't anything said that was negative its just like so REAL now and I feel a sudden sense of anxiety.  I mean he was talking about the fact that a lot of people think that after they get married they're going to ride off into the sunset and are usually always disappointed with what they find marriage to be.  and then he was saying that its not a matter of IF marriages have conflict but WHEN and HOW they solve them.  And then of course he started talking about asking ourselves if GOD has truly ordained our union.  Scary!  And then something that really made me think was when he asked us why we wanted to get married -- not to each other, but why did we want to BE married.  He wanted us to take each other out of the equation and to think about marriage all by itself.  That was kind of hard question to answer.  I mean what's the "right" answer?  I know you should go into counseling with an open mind and with honest answers but I sort of feel intimidated all of a sudden.  Like are there any WRONG answers?  I am already starting to feel the pressure of planning the wedding -- and that only lasts a DAY, but trying to prepare for a marriage that lasts a lifetime.  WHOA.  That's a biggy.  Anybody else had similar feelings of uneasiness or anxiety after attending their first PreM counseling session?  Does it get better?

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 4:38 am
oreomaximus
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oreomaximus
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oreomaximus

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Shameless BUMP!! Hehehehe

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 4:47 am
soon2beMrs.Jackson
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04/10/2010
soon2beMrs.Jackson

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we had ours this past Saturday and it was actually a 6 or 7 hour workshop at a church here in Atlanta. there were about 8 other couples that attended. each couple basically worked together on worksheets addressing certain issues and we all openly discussed and asked questions to the clergyman/counselor who was conducting the workshop.


for us, it was VERY informative and FI and I both walked away feeling so much better and more knowledgeable about areas in our relationship where we may not have always seen eye to eye. we were able to see which expectations we had for one another were realistic and which ones are not. we discussed just about every topic..communication, conflict resolution, finances, raising children, dealing with in-laws, adultry etc; i actually loved how the workshop was set up because instead of feeling like we were in a class listening to a lecture it was much more personable and interactive. FI and I would answer individual questions on multiple worksheets then discuss it with one another and the counselor would discuss,ask/answer questions in between.


there is a book..The Five Love Languages that i purchased and read last year and the counselor actually had all of us take the quiz located in the back of the book (which i thought FI would NEVER do) and it was awesome. FI and I talked about our own love language that we prefer and i actually finally learned what his was...and it wasn't what i had initially thought!


overall it was an excellant experience and i would recommend it to anyone that is getting married. there was even a couple there who were both on their second marriage and they had already been married for about a month! so it just goes to show that you are never too old or been married too many times to learn. we will continue to learn about our spouses for the rest of our lives because we all will change as time goes by and it's all about how we deal with those changes and transitions and emotions that will take place in our relationships and in our lives together.


great post :-)

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 4:49 am
Sankofa24
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when we had our first session it was like OMG...my pastor is so real so he got deep down in all of our business to make sure that it wasn't a game we were trying to run or somethign for the mean time. I think you having those feelings is normal.


you guys will be fine im sure.

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 4:52 am
oreomaximus
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oreomaximus

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Thanks Sankofa! Soon 2 be: I'm going to buy that book 2DAY! Seriously.  About 350 ppl have been telling me about that book forever and I had been meaning to buy it.  What better time than now?

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 4:58 am
soon2beMrs.Jackson
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soon2beMrs.Jackson

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yep, you can get it on Amazon.com for less than $10. it's definitely a great investment.
Posted on November 19, 2009 at 5:01 am
Sankofa24
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@soon: i see it on there for 2.97...did u get 2 books or u guys shared it?

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 5:31 am
soon2beMrs.Jackson
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soon2beMrs.Jackson

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i only bought one. i read it first, FI said he would but he never did but i am so glad that he took the quiz this past Saturday. that was what was most important so that we could both see what our love language was.


it would be ideal that you both read it together, at the same time. i wish i had just bought two in the first place!

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 5:37 am
lvnlrn
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wow, this is very interesting and important to think about! thank you for sharing!

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 5:38 am
tgdtobe
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11/07/2009
tgdtobe

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ABSOLUTELY get 5 love languages.  It has helped DH and I alot.


As for counseling, it definitely does get down and dirty and make you think--and maybe even second guess.  But, better now with the help of your counselor to work through those things and communicate with FH so that your foundation is solid.  It's like spring cleaning (for the soul)--it always gets worse before it gets better.


My dad required that we do counseling in order to give us his blessing on our elopement.  We didn't start counseling until after that (with a Christian counselor in this area).  So, it was a bit different in what was discussed, but we SO needed it.


GL!

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 5:39 am
Shesh
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Our sessions won't start until January but I am sooo eager to get them underway.  We CHOSE, on our OWN, to do the sessions with our officiant who happens to be a retired priest.  So he is going to the the pre-kana that we would have had to do if we were getting married in a church.


This was FI's idea originally, and, at first- I will admit- I was offended that he wanted to go through pre-marital counseling.  Actually, it was because he was having a difficult time dealing with something related me, but after thinking about it rationally, it is a great idea.  My dad seems to think that we are doing it because something is wrong, but it is to build a solid foundation.


I am sure that they are challenging, though provoking, will make you want to cry, sream, kick and fight but in the end.... it has to be worth it!

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 6:17 am
Eesmerelda
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We had to do pre-cana to get married at out church.  I want to do the pre-marital counseling too, but, FI refuses.  Has anyone run into that?  How can I get him to go?

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 6:22 am
soon2beMrs.Jackson
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soon2beMrs.Jackson

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yay Shesh!  it will definitely be a thought provoking experience but go into it all very open minded and you will be fine. FI  and I talk about pretty much everything but what we found was that there were STILL many things that we had not addressed or even thought about...and as we all will learn...there will be many more things that we will have to address that won't be covered but at least you'll both know how to better deal with those situations when they occurr. it definitely shows maturity in both of you to go through with it. you won't regret it, i promise ;-)

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 6:23 am
soon2beMrs.Jackson
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soon2beMrs.Jackson

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one issue that we touched upon (which FI and I never discussed) was infertility and how to address it. this is a very real issue that many couples face however most of us never have to deal with it until we start TTC(trying to conceive). it definitely takes a toll on a relationship at some point so it's good to know how to handle your emotions and each other during some of these very difficult times...they will definitely come!
Posted on November 19, 2009 at 6:27 am
Eesmerelda
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Absolutely, I totally agree.  It is so important, I don't want to skip it :(

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 6:28 am
zlie17
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Interesting enough - my dad is the kind of person that truly believes marriage is a business/financial deal. the more and more i think about it, he's right. It isn't just about love and wanting to be with that person. it's about how the other can help make your life better or worse.


Last night, my fiance and I sat down to get his credit record cleared. Turns out we didn't have to do anything. it got cleared. Except he has about $20k in school loans, and well at this rate, it's feeling like Forever before he pays it off. I know he'll get it paid off eventually. But we also want to live life. so he's paying what he can without breaking the bank, or restricting our lives. Though we hardly ever go out to eat or go out for drinks. We don't travel except to see family. it kinda sucks, but what are you going to do about it.


Money makes him agigtated! and I have to explain to him how the whole money thing works. If he gains a better understanding, he'll be a lot better for it. Though, so we're definitely working through that. He never realized that once we get married, his credit record completely affects my credit record, and mine is SUPERB.


Will we do counseling, I don't think so. But i do think maybe i'll look into the book.

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 6:28 am
GoingtobeGoff
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Yup been there. Done that.


We had pre-marital couselling as well.  It made us second guess EVERYTHING.  It made us mad.  It made us cry.  It made some things surface that we needed to take care of.  It made us realize that it's only 1 day: the wedding... but the marriage is for a lifetime.  It made us dig down inside ourselves and figure out our reasons for marriage. 


The best part of it is: after 6 MONTHS of counselling, a postponed wedding, and SOOOOOOO MCUH heartbreak later, DH and I are STRONG.  I mean STRONG, today.  We have 100% no doubts in our relationship, in our purpose for being married, in each other's trust and love and respect. 


And YES, ditto to: Five Love Languages book.... ALSO:  Love and Respect, Wild at Heart (for men), Captivating (for women), Letters to Karen/Phillip


I am a firm believer that if you walk away from any counsel session, feeling "good", you've missed the point.  You should feel like CRAP, defeated, in trouble, all the above.  That's when you'll hurt enough to change.  Major change won't happen if all is "going good".  ;)


As far as "why to be married": For DH and I, it's a matter of purpose.  Together, in God's santuary of marriage, we are SO much more effective in our walk, than a single person would be.  When we are unified, we are VERY STRONG against the Enemy, against anything that's not of God.  Marriage really isn't about "love"; it's about the amount of impact you can have in this world during your life.  Granted, we obviously do love each other, but's that's not the real important reason :)

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 6:29 am
soon2beMrs.Jackson
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soon2beMrs.Jackson

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zlie17 i understand. do what works for the two of you. most of us develop our own perception of marriage from our parents or someone around us that is/was married. the important part is distinguising which part of those perceptions are realistic and which ones are not.


finances are always a touchy subject but the best piece of advice that i EVER heard in regards to finances and marriage is...


"If we all live within our means, we will NEVER have financial problems within our marriages."


check out the new group ladies :-)


http://www.projectwedding.com/groups/boards/project-marriage

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 6:40 am
oreomaximus
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oreomaximus

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GoingtobeGOff: I love you for this: 


"We had pre-marital couselling as well.  It made us second guess EVERYTHING.  It made us mad.  It made us cry.  It made some things surface that we needed to take care of.  It made us realize that it's only 1 day: the wedding... but the marriage is for a lifetime.  It made us dig down inside ourselves and figure out our reasons for marriage. 


I am a firm believer that if you walk away from any counsel session, feeling "good", you've missed the point.  You should feel like CRAP, defeated, in trouble, all the above.  That's when you'll hurt enough to change.  Major change won't happen if all is "going good".  ;)"


That is soooooo encouraging!

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 6:57 am
soon2beMrs.Jackson
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soon2beMrs.Jackson

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GOFF...great insight. i know for us.. we experienced all of those emotions before counseling but thank goodness we stuck it out. the counseling really helped us understand why we felt all those different emotions and it helped us understand how to deal with them better so they won't happen as frequently. we were very fortunate though that we have always been able to look beyond the stressful issues in our relationship early on and focus on the commitment aspect. not many people make it that far and give up before they find out why they are having all these challenges! thank you for sharing that with us :-)

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 7:09 am
oreomaximus
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oreomaximus

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I wish we could somehow transfer these posts to the new Project Wedding group.  There are really some good posts in this thread!

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 7:45 am

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