Wise Counsel

Chris and I have just begun pre-marriage counseling. We’re meeting with a very wise, Godly man (who I know will read this because I’m writing about him – hey Doug!) and even though we’ve only met twice so far, I’ve already got lots of good stuff to process.

I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned.

Marriage is about helping. It’s about being better off together than alone. A married couple should be more than simply the combining of two individuals.

When communicating, make statements about yourself. Ask questions about the other person.

Fights have winners and losers … marriages don’t. Either both are winners or both are losers.

Contrary to what many believe, when Genesis 2:24 talks about becoming “one flesh,” it’s not referring to a single act (you know … THE act) but to a process – one that lasts a lifetime. Hence the word “become.”

If you’re married, did you do pre-marriage counseling? What’s the best thing you took away from it?

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9 thoughts on “Wise Counsel

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  1. We did pre-marital counseling and it was good for us. I think for me the most helpful was just setting expectations. Going into marriage already knowing what you expect of the other person and what they expect of you. We also did personality tests (Myers Briggs) and discussed how this would affect how we'd communicate with one another, which was also helpful to keep in mind.

  2. Oddly enough, our pre-marital counseling stunk…big time. Fortunately, my very wise husband had us go through a book called, "Preparing for Marriage," by David Boehi, Brent Nelson, Jeff Schulte, and Lloyd Shadrach. AWESOME! As mentioned in the previous comment, it's extremely important to talk about your expectations in every category. I can't tell you how many unnecessary arguements this saved us. We also read a ton of marriage books during our first year of marriage. Our favorite was, "Sacred Marriage," by Gary Thomas. Good stuff.

  3. We loved our premarital counseling. We went through a book called "Reforming Marriage" with Matt and Tammy. The author, Douglas Wilson, is relatively controversial in some Christian circles, but we LOVED what he had to say. Some people who heard we read that book for premarital counseling think we're whack.I think the most important thing in our marriage, which should sort of go without saying but I'll say it anyway, is to always always ALWAYS put each other's needs in front of your own. If you can get to the place where you get genuine joy from meeting each other's needs and making one another happy, then I think you will get along well.We've decided that every conflict or tension that we've ever had has been borne out of selfishness. It masquerades as other things, but at the root it's one of us being self-serving rather than selfless.That's what the Dellie thinks.

  4. Since everyone else is commenting, I will too.Amber and Karen are right about the expectations thing. Get that stuff out in the open first. And talk about every category.We too read tons of books cause that's how we roll. Since we're talkers, we just talked about everything in the books and that seemed to work (Our pre-marital counseling was kind of lame if you ask me).Sara's right too. Be nice to each other. Problem is, maybe I'm a jerk, but it's not that easy to actually do that.Also, I think Ellie is right too. Pretty much every conflict we've ever had can be traced back to selfishness. If your spouse's needs are more important to you than your own, then you're golden. Again, maybe I'm a jerk, but I suck at that too.Lastly, since all I've done is agreed with everyone else instead of adding my own thoughts, I'll tell you this. One of the things that I've seen cause the most problems in marriages is lack of communication. You HAVE to work stuff out. Nothing goes away on it's own. It just doesn't happen. No matter how trivial or small something seems, the best policy is to bring it up, talk it over, and get it dealt with. The littlest things can ruin a marriage if they're allowed to become big.

  5. I'll tag onto what Chris said a bit in regards to getting everything out in the open. Someone once told us about the concept of the "4 A's,"–affirmation, affection, apology, and amen. We do this every single night before we go to sleep. We tell the other person something that we appreciated about them that day (big or small). We hug, snuggle, kiss, or somethin' like that for the affection part. We ask the other person if there was anything that we did during the day that offended them or hurt them in any way. This is a chance to apologize, not necessarily a time to hash it all out. And then we pray together. This routine has served us VERY well. Everything gets brought up that needs to be brought up and it forces good communication. Some nights it takes a while, but most nights it's fairly quick. I'd highly recommend it!

  6. Oh yeah. I third what the Boy said about communicating. Just SAY it, whatever it is that needs to be said, and then clean it up later. It's ALWAYS better to be 100% honest and on the same page, even if it makes for an uncomfortable conversation sometimes. Amen, the Boy, amen.

  7. Who needs premarital counseling when you got seriously wise siblings? Holy crap you guys blow me away. Re: the expectations. We did a very helpful exercise for our PM counseling. We spent like a week making lists (apart from each other). My lists were things I expected from Skip and things I expected from the marriage. Then we compared them. Mostly we were on track but there were a few things were we said, "Say WHAT?" Be super specific like, "I expect Chris to take the trash out every evening after dinner" if that's what you expect. It was pretty fun. I have nothing but confidence in your marriage because of who it is founded on (Christ) and your amazing support system of healthy marriages. You are so blessed. And I highly recommend finding one couple that you can bare your souls to and they can walk with you through the valleys in your marriage. Love you!

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