Monday, August 1, 2011

Need your advice here..

My hubby is working on his project for his marriage and family counseling class and he is designing a pre-marital program.

Is there anything special that you wish was covered/ discussed during your marriage counseling that wasn't?

Is there something you have learned and think should be included?

Any thoughts??


Lori Alexander said...

My husband and I have been premarital counselors for the past year. I think what really needs to happen is the woman needs to be taken aside and taught by an older woman one-on-one. We went through the whole counseling with the couple for weeks. Finally, I decided I wanted to meet with the girl one time alone and go through "Created To Be His Help Meet" with her. After the first chapter, I asked her if she was cheerful and happy around her fiance. She said, "Never, because I am always mad at him!" Women need to be taught how to love and respect their husbands. My husband would take that time alone to talk with the guy. It helps SO much more!

Lori Alexander said...

Another thing, your husband should ask the young man when the last time he dabbled in pornography was. Women have a right to know if their man is dabbling in it and most men are...unfortunately.

sara said...

Tell them that marriage is a picture of Christ and His church.

Marriage is a great thing, but it is so serious that I don't think it would be wrong to whack people over the head with the gravity of the vows they're contemplating.

Some people think that commitment just means sticking it out even when things are terrible and just gritting their teeth and tolerating a bad situation every day - tell them it really means being committed to working towards making things better - over and over and over and over.

Tell 'em that the marriage bed is good! That they should work to rid themselves of the "dirty" connotations and enjoy a gift from God.

We never went to marriage counseling, but these are the things that would have been helpful to me.

Carissa said...

I've never been married... or been through marriage counseling... but I have a few ideas anyways. :P

One thing I think should be talked about is the whole children thing: the normal stuff, of course--like size of family, birth control, home or hospital births, child training, schooling, vaccinations, etc.-- but another area that I thought of recently is barrenness and miscarriage: they are always a possibility, and one that it would be well to prepare for a bit.

Also, health and diet... beliefs, likes and dislikes, and so on.

I could add many more ideas, but I think those are the least generic, so I'll just stick with those. :)

Herding Grasshoppers said...

At the risk of sounding negative... starry eyed couples need to realize that there WILL be rough spots. And there are times that you have to be more committed to Marriage, and Obedience to the Lord, than to your spouse - whom you may be mad at ;D - if you want your marriage to last.

I think of it like River Rafting. It looks like a big, fun adventure - and it is! But sometimes you hit a patch of rapids that are a lot worse than you ever anticipated, and ALL YOU CAN DO IS JUST STAY IN THE BOAT until you get through it to some smoother water.

But more specifically...

The pre-nup counseling my DH and I received was AWFUL, but the financial counseling we went through has saved our marriage many times over. Things like attitudes toward debt/credit, spending vs. saving, how much do you spend without consulting your spouse, etc. Or - great advice from my parents - if you're both working before you have kids: Live on one income. Use the other income to pay off any debts and to save for a down-payment on a house. Then when you have kids, you're already used to living on the one income.

Kids, of course. You may not be planning them right away, but life has a way of surprising you :D

Here's a piece of advice that ought to be given earlier... marriage-minded people ought to think about not living alone. In part for the accountability, but even more so they don't just get too set in their ways! Having roommates, while not the same relationship as marriage, still keeps you in practice with daily compromises that need to be made.

Priorities... skipping over the obvious (faith), what are both people used to spending their time and money one? For instance, if one person likes a "swanky" lifestyle (high-end vacations, restaurants, etc.) are they going to insist on being "kept" at that level when circumstances change? Or, from our own experience, my DH was used to taking an hour-and-a-half lunch break to go to the gym and work-out, and fitness is Good. But that made him an hour-and-a-half later getting home each evening, and me home alone with a colicky baby. I'd much rather he'd come home, put the kid in the stroller and gone jogging!

Kind of related... if one of the two seems a bit "high maintenance", what will get sacrificed to maintain that? Again, priorities...

And family history... my DH's parents were divorced, both remarried, and both divorced again. There was brokenness, mental illness, alcohol and drugs all in the picture.

Not his fault! He's determine to rise above all that. But there are still HUGE effects. Lots of manipulation/guilt/obligation in the family dynamics.

If a counselor doesn't work through that stuff with you, it will blindside you later, for sure.

And, one more (if you can stand it), hit hard on the marriage relationship taking priority over family-of-origin. Not that the two should ever have to be mutually exclusive! But when push comes to shove, the husband and wife need to be united.

How's that?

Mrs. Parunak said...

I see that other people have already said what I was planning to say, but I'll say it anyway just to make sure it really gets emphasized. I asked my husband, and he said "a frank discussion of pornography." I say amen to that. The couple NEEDS to know how dangerous it is, how ubiquitous it is, how to fight it, and how to win. They also need to seriously and thoroughly confront their pasts on this issue. There needs to be total and brutal honesty. And this cannot be pussy-footed around with. I cannot over-emphasize just how huge this problem is. I just had a woman tell me her father-in-law, who's in Christian work, told her that 95% of churched young men said pornography was a problem for them. My friend said, "I think the other 5% are lying."

The other thing I would emphasize is that marriage is about sanctification and, as such, is often a crucible. Happily Ever After comes in Heaven, not on earth, no matter how much you love your spouse. Life on earth is full of hardship. "In the world you WILL have trouble" (emphasis mine). Expect it. Prepare for it. Don't be surprised or upset when it happens to you. And most of all, do not consider it grounds for divorce. Every marriage goes through hard times. Every. Single. Marriage. Even yours, oh goo goo headed young couple.