Invest in the Marriage Over the Ceremony

Posted: January 10, 2012 in marriage, Ministry, Relationships, Weddings

[This post is the second of a new series on weddings and marriages.  You can find the first post here.]

After witnessing all the pain, suffering, hurt, emotional toll, and FINANCIAL cost of divorce…I am now convinced that NO ONE should get  married without going through pre-marital counseling.  No one.  And the reason is because every engaged couple has major issues that they HAVE to work out.  And if you don’t think you have issues, you have bigger issues than you are even aware of.

It is amazing to me how much money a couple will spend on the actual wedding ceremony – flowers, photographer, reception, dress, tuxedo, programs, decoration, facility, dinners, wedding party gifts, etc.  When you add it up a father could be very tempted to say to his daughter – “I’ll give you $2000 if you would just elope!”

But when it comes to premarital counseling, all of a sudden money is an issue.  “Well…we really can’t afford that.”  Really?!!  You can afford thousands for a wedding, but you can’t invest a few hundred for your marriage!!!?

Others think there is no point in pre-marital counseling because they “already know each other so well.”  I don’t care if you have been together (or even living together) for five years (or longer), you still have issues.  You have not taken the time to systematically and intentionally worked through the possibilities of communication, conflict, sex, finances, children, chores, values, personality types, emotional needs, etc.

No one is exempt.  If you have never been married, you have no clue what you are in for and you are so “in love” you are blinded to the reality that is about to hit.  And if you have been married before, it means you might have some life lessons learned through experience, but it also proves you weren’t ready the first time around and statistically you now have a greater chance of seeing another divorce than your “never been married” counterparts.

Don’t let these thoughts or fears keep you from pre-marital counseling:

  • We can’t afford it.
  • What if the counselor doesn’t think we should get married?
  • I already know everything there is to know about them.
  • We don’t have enough time.
  • I’ll just read a good book on marriage.
  • I don’t know any counselors.

When planning for your marriage, plan to invest in that marriage!!  Make pre-marital counseling a must do on your check list.  And if your fiancé refuses to go to pre-marital counseling, let that be a HUGE red flag that he/she has some major pride issues that will manifest itself in your marriage.  And when it does, they will also most likely be unwilling to seek the help, support, and counsel of a professional when you (and the kids) will need it the most.

One other thing.  Go to someone who is trained and qualified to be a marriage counselor.  Just because someone is a “Pastor” doesn’t mean they know what is necessary to guide you through all of the thoughts, negotiations, and theories of marriage and family systems and dynamics.  Some Pastors are great.  Trust me on this…others are not.  Don’t go the “cheap route” by having a non-qualified Pastor do your pre-marital counseling.

I promise it will prove to be the best money you ever invested in your future.

  1. the other ed says:

    I agree wholeheartedly! I especially agree with the comment,” Just because someone is a “Pastor” doesn’t mean they know what is necessary to guide you through all of the thoughts, negotiations, and theories of marriage and family systems and dynamics.”

    When we were getting married, We chose to go to the pastor of the church we were attending. It was the church she had gone to throughout her childhood!
    At the time, the pastor was excited for us, and gave us a test to take. At our first appointment, the very same pastor told us that based on our test results, he didn’t feel he could marry us, and did not want to marry us, because, in his words,”I don’t want to read in the paper five years from now and Ed and Melissa are getting a divorce.”
    Later, we learned my father-in-law, in essence, paid him off not to marry us.

    I wish I was making this up. I can tell you that, at the time, we probably were not ready to be married, we were young. But this very same person had no problem marrying people for the sole reason of a pregnancy. We were crushed!

    My father in law and I are now friends. We don’t speak of this.

    The only thing I can add is, the first years of a marriage are hard, regardless of who you are! we lucked out, I think, because I inadvertently married the person who would become my best friend.

  2. david says:

    I remember one pre-marital counseling session we had. My wife had just spent several hours meeting with a lighting contractor who was not being very understanding or helpful. My bride-to-be was at her wits end, and when she came directly to our counseling session and our preacher started by asking her a probing question, she just broke down. Our preacher came away thinking my wife had some serious issues. Lesson I took away — don’t just use your (my) preacher, he’s probably not qualified.

    (I find it somewhat odd that this post was reblogged at “High Yield Investment Programs.” Me thinks the “investment” in Sam’s post is a little off-topic from those other posts about investing in oil, etc. Who knows, though, maybe some betrothed investor will read this and be compelled to get some counseling before signing his prenup…)

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