I’m going to be completely honest and say that my husband and I used to have relationship troubles at one time. Things were not always peachy keen and sometimes we’d get into little spats ranging from minor issues like him not taking out the trash which resulted in the whole house smelling like crap when I came home after a long day or work, to deeper rooted issues like money problems and lack of communication.
We loved each other through our issues though and decided to take a premarital counseling class with some members of our church which was the best decision we ever made. Let me tell you why.
Learning More About Each Other
We signed up for premarital counseling at our church. It was free and included private sessions with a couple from our church so it was very laid back. We used a book called Getting Ready for Marriage Workbook and it was all about getting to know the person you were going to marry even better.
Even though we had been dating for around three years, it was interesting to realize there were still some things we didn’t know about each other. Some of our workbook lessons included understanding who the important people were in our lives, how we set expectations for each other, how we resolve conflicts, and where the foundation of our communication skills stem from.
The counseling sessions helped me understand my husband in a new way and realize that his childhood and family-life played a huge role in shaping who he is today, how he acts, etc.
For example, around the time we were getting married, I was pretty stressed out with life. I was working full-time, freelancing part-time and planning the bulk of our wedding. I was tired, irritable and frustrated with my day job. I felt like I was working so hard and my fiance wasn’t empathizing with me or trying to lighten my load and make things easier on me. Turns out, our counseling session about families and communication brought a few things to my attention. For starters, his mother is an extremely hardworking woman she’s very independent. She has always worked right along with his father and if not more than his father. She’s currently in her 60s and still works 2 jobs (we’re hoping she slows down soon though).
Viewing our situation from this point of view made it clear to me that he views the responsibilities of a hard working woman as normal since his mother has been working non-stop basically his whole life. His mother never complained about working 7 days a week so he must have assumed it shouldn’t phase me either. Again, a communication break down at it’s best, but I’m grateful we were able to hash everything out in counseling.
Having a Middle Man
Another benefit of premarital counseling was that it was nice to have the couple from church going through the lessons with us and serving as a middle man. In the past, my partner and I wouldn’t really listen to each other especially during disagreements. I know my main goal during an argument was to get my point across and screw all the rest.
As combative as my flawed way of thinking was, it was nice to openly share my issues or concerns during our counseling sessions and feel reassured that they were being heard. Our counselors didn’t act judgmental and often shared stories about their past disagreements and other experiences that had throughout their marriage to teach us valuable lessons with their examples. They also made sure each of our sides were being heard and comprehended so we could reach a solution.
Confronting Our Issues Head On
Premartial counseling helped us resolve our relationship troubles by confronting our issues once and for all. Our workbook involved taking a ton of surveys to share our own thoughts about certain situations and topics so we could compare them with each other and see where we agreed and disagreed. These exercises were great for outlining the issues or different viewpoints we had.
For example, when we got to the chapter about having kids, we found out we needed to discuss what we wanted our family to be like further in private according to our survey results. I was interested to go through the chapter about finances too since we used to have quite a few money arguments. After the lesson, we were able to pinpoint which areas of our financial plan were conflicting and how we could compromise so we could both feel satisfied about our future together and our financial situation as a whole.
It’s Definitely Worth a Try
Overall, premartial counseling was a great life-changing experience. The fact that is was free for us is an added bonus because what we gained from the experience was priceless and our relationship is so much stronger as a result. If you are interested in premarital counseling or even relationship counseling to address your relationship troubles, I’d highly recommend reaching out to churches in your area and other local organizations to see if you can find anything affordable to meet your needs.
Have you ever tried premarital counseling?