One of the most interesting and unfamiliar activities that goes on before a wedding is pre-marriage counselling. Not everyone opts to do this, but many do. It’s not always by choice, either. Some churches actually require a certain degree of pre-marriage instruction if you want to be married in their facility. Likewise, if you choose to be married by a clergy-member, they may require or strongly suggest you and your fiance take part in some sort of marriage prep course.
Tonight, my fiancé and I had our first session with the pastor who will be performing our ceremony. To be honest, it wasn’t that weird. Some guys might joke that it’s lame or girly to sit around and talk about relationships, but this is actually kind of an important thing. I’ve never been married before, and neither has my fiancé. It only makes sense to try and figure it out beforehand from someone who has much more experience in that area. Think of it like driving school.
In our case, we know the pastor very well. He’s a good friend and we’re pretty familiar with him. That obviously makes things a lot easier. Normally,his wife would also be present for these pre-marriage sessions (she couldn’t make it tonight because of another commitment) to give the female perspective on things, something that I’m sure my fiancé would find helpful. Basically, this first session was to get us talking about ourselves and how we interact as a couple. They got us to discuss our strengths and weaknesses and see how we might be able to compliment each other as husband and wife.
I consider myself fortunate with our situation. Another friend of mine didn’t have such a pleasant pre-marriage experience. They were Catholic. I don’t say that to imply that Catholics are weird or that their ways of doing things are strange or wrong, but it is a relevant point. In order to be married in this particular Catholic church, the couple had to do a marriage course facilitated by the priest of that church. You might be aware that Catholic priests aren’t permitted to
be married, so obviously this guy teaching the course had never been married. My friend expressed (quite passionately) that he wasn’t enjoying the course and thought it was stupid to take marriage advice from someone who had never been married. I sympathize with that. He makes a pretty valid point. For those of you who find
yourself in a similar situation, I would just advise you to make the best of it and head into the class with a good attitude and an open mind. Granted, the priest isn’t married, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t collected wisdom over the years. Given his profession, chances are good that he has counselled many couples who have experienced every sort of struggle you can think of. He’s probably run into couples with financial problems, loyalty issues, trouble with their kids, conflicts with the in-laws, and sexual boredom. Any chance you get to acquire some wisdom during this pre-marital phase, grab it! Don’t brush someone off just because they haven’t personally walked down the isle.
Should you and your fiancé take part in pre-marriage courses? In all honesty, it wouldn’t hurt. As I mentioned, many churches may require it. But even if they don’t, it could be wise to seek it out anyway. Our session is only one hour every two weeks, so the time investment isn’t huge. Considering that your mar
This has been one of the more enjoyable activities of my engagement period so far. We had a few laughs, learned a bit about each other, and gleaned some great tips from a guy who’s been happily married for many years. I would highly recommend it. riage is a life-long commitment, those few hours are well worthwhile if it helps you learn some techniques for dealing with common issues. You might not be comfortable talking about those kind of things with a clergy that you don’t know very well, and that’s completely understandable. Instead, maybe you and your fiancé could double-date with a married couple, preferably someone you’re comfortable enough with talk vulnerably with.