Going on vacation is an exciting adventure! It is a time of relaxation and new experiences, togetherness and connection. However, going on vacation requires some planning; choosing the place you are going, deciding how you are going to get there, how long you are going to stay for, how much you are going to spend, what kind of clothes you are going to need, etc. If the planning is not done thoroughly or well, your enjoyment of the vacation will be affected.
Getting married is an exciting time. It is much like going on an adventure; one that we hope will last a lifetime. Most couples spend a lot of time, energy and money planning for the wedding day – the ceremony and the reception, which is a good thing, however they forget to plan for the future life that they are going to spend together.
Premarital counseling helps couples plan for their future adventure and prepares them to have a healthy approach to resolving conflict, and handling life difficulties. In 2003, a research study, based on 23 studies on the effectiveness of premarital education and counseling, found that “premarital education programs are generally effective in producing immediate gains in communication skills, conflict management skills, and overall relationship quality…” (Carroll, J. S., & Doherty, W. J. (2003). Evaluating the effectiveness of premarital education: A review of outcome research. Family Relations, http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.570.5123&rep=rep1&type=pdf)
Four years ago, my wife and I decided to go to the beach for vacation. It was our first vacation as a family and we did not take the time to plan for everything. Therefore, there were things that we forgot to plan for; like taking an umbrella to the beach, packing enough sunblock for the entire week and bringing flip flops or sandals. Although we went to a nice beach, we did not enjoy our trip like we could have, because of our poor planning. The same could happen to couples who are engaged or thinking about marriage but have not been able to spend enough time planning and preparing for their new life as a married couple. In Luke 14:28-30, Jesus talks about planning. Although Jesus is not talking about marriage in this passage, I believe we can apply this verse to preparing for marriage. An important word in verse 28, is “sit down.” In Judaism, it was customary for the rabbi to preach or teach from a seated position (Luke 4:20; Matthew 5:1). It is also a position taken when judging or taking an important decision that will affect the future (Matthew 25:31-33; Luke 14:31). Deciding to get married is an exciting and an important decision. To “sit down together” and to prepare for your future is the first step to a healthy marriage. Getting the help of pastoral counselor or a professional counselor is both valuable and helpful. As the wise teacher in the book of Proverbs writes, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety”. It is important to have a professional counselor or pastoral counselor to help you as a couple. to navigate though the process of planning and preparing your life together. The amount of time that you spend on planning for your future as a couple, will increase the level of your confidence when facing adversity and will help you to make healthy choices as a couple.
Here at The Marriage Point, we wholeheartedly believe in the importance of planning and preparing for marriage – which we view as the most important relationship in your life. We offer an 8-week program in order to help you prepare for marriage from many different angles. We cover topics such as finances, sex, extended family dynamics, conflict resolution, spirituality, parenting approaches, communication and boundaries. Depending on your need and desire, we place you with either a licensed professional counselor or a certified pastoral counselor to complete this program. Feel free to reach out to us today for more information.