Okay so you’re engaged. HOORAY! You and your fiancé are going through premarital counseling and talking through all these great marriage questions. But what happens when the hypothetical questions become a reality? Living out marriage is completely different than talking about it. Can I get an amen?
The problem with premarital counseling is that you are working with a set of hypotheticals. Since you’re not currently living in married life, you’re merely looking to what marriage could be like and what your obstacles might be. Premarital counseling is a very good start to building a healthy marriage, but it is only the first step.
I want to offer some advice to you newlyweds (between 0 and 5 years married) not because I’m a counselor or expert, but because I know where you’re at! I lived it and I want to be transparent with you and share what I’ve learned. It is SO normal for your expectations to not match your new reality. I want to encourage you to desire a healthy marriage and give you tips on how to do just that.
Postmarital counseling is just as important, if not more important, than premarital counseling. Premarital counseling is crucial for making sure you two will compliment each other and champion each other’s passions. It’s important to tackle some big questions before the knot is tied, but when it comes to building a healthy foundation of marriage, it has to be done in practice, simple as that.
My husband and I experienced this firsthand as we went through a bumpy road our first year. Although the majority of our first year of marriage was really great and fun, there were a lot of hardships that came up, and a few situations that weren’t quite panning out like we talked about in premarital counseling.
In a panic, we ran to a trusted married couple to talk to them about how our arguments were escalating in a way we hadn’t anticipated. We didn’t know how to handle it, and asking for wise counsel from a couple we trusted during that early season of marriage was critical. Since they had been married quite a bit longer than us they were able to give us great advice and encouragement.
We instantly felt like we weren’t alone, that we could tackle this head-on because we cared so much about each other and both desired to see our marriage thrive. We were given tools to work on the things that were inherently hard for us, because a lot of marriage is dying to yourself and preferring the other person’s needs above your own. It’s having the humility to say that you were wrong and that you care enough about the other person to want to fix things with them.
So if you are in your first 5 years of marriage, and you don’t have a mentor couple older than you, that’s what I want encourage through this blog post. Find a married couple you admire, that speaks respectfully about each other and has a thriving marriage. Ask them if you can meet once a month or so to talk through marriage! I promise you it will make all the difference.