Spring and Thoughts of Romance

   Written by on April 24, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Spring finally! And, as the saying goes, spring and a young man’s thoughts turn to romance. Are you planning a wedding? How much time are you spending planning your marriage?  The divorce rate suggests that more time should be spent planning your marriage than your wedding. Yes, we know you are in love but how do you answer these questions?

  • Do you know the struggles you and your mate are going to face?
  • Do both of you understand each person’s responsibilities in the marriage?
  • Can you speak your future spouse’s love language?
  • What is your personality type?  You fiancé personality type? How do your personality types fit together?
  • Do you understand how to fight fair? (And yes, no matter how in love you are, you will fight!)
  • How will you say I am sorry so your mate will hear you?

Premarital counseling can help you answer these questions and help you start your marriage on a strong foundation by dealing with the following topics.

Cheryl Gowin, Counselor and Dennis Gowin Director of Hope for Tomorrow Counseling Center. Any feedback, comments, or if you have issues or questions you would like presented in future columns, please feel to contact us at dgowin@hopefortomorrowcounseling.org.

Cheryl Gowin, Counselor and Dennis Gowin Director of Hope for Tomorrow Counseling Center. Any feedback, comments, or if you have issues or questions you would like presented in future columns, please feel to contact us at dgowin@hopefortomorrowcounseling.org.

Communication Skills: Being able to effectively listen, truly hear and validate the other’s position is a skill that isn’t a given. Couples that communicate effectively can discuss and resolve issues when they arise. Premarital counseling can help tune up your talking and listening skills.

Role Expectations: It’s incredibly common for married couples to have never discussed who will be doing what in the marriage before the wedding. This can apply to job, finances, chores, intimacy and more. Having an open and honest discussion about what each of you expect from the other will lead to fewer surprises down the line.

Conflict Resolution: Nobody wants to think that they’ll have conflict in their marriage. The reality is that “conflict” can range from disagreements about who will take out the trash to emotionally charged arguments about serious issues. You need to know ways to effectively de-escalate and resolve conflict.

Spiritual Beliefs: Differing spiritual beliefs and customs are an issue that is often overlooked. You both need to understand how your beliefs and family traditions will function in the marriage including practices, traditions, raising of children, etc.

Family of Origin Issues: We learn so much of how to “be” from our parents. You need to explore how past experiences will play out in your marriage. Couples who have an understanding of the existence of any problematic conditioning around how relationships work are better at disrupting repetition of these learned behaviors.

Blended Family Issues: Over 50% of marriages today, are not first marriages. That means your marriage may include a range of “your, mine and ours” issues. Having discussed the blended family complications before the wedding will help when the issues come up (and they will) after the wedding.

Personal, Couple and Family Goals: Premarital counseling will help you design the road map for the rest of your life including your relationship, personal and family goals.

Premarital counseling doesn’t need to be a long process. For some who are poised to start out the marriage as a “higher conflict” couple or have deeper issues to contend with, the process could take a bit longer. Regardless, be sure to take time to invest in your marriage. The return on your marriage investment has the potential to offer a life-long reward!

Think about how love is described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. “Love is long suffering, and is kind; love has no envy, love is not boastful, love does not behave itself inappropriately, seeks not its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, rejoices not in injustice, but rejoices in the truth; love bears all things, believes everything, endures everything.” Love and marriage can be complicated but take it from me, it well worth the effort.

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