Premarital counseling

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Ever have one of those ideas that you didn’t realize was a good idea until afterwards?

I had a little accidental awesomeness yesterday.

I said this on Twitter and Facebook, and turns out it’s a question that lots of people think is important:

If you could tell an engaged couple 1 thing before they got married, what would you say?

The responses were so good, I decided to put them in a blog post.

  • To the engaged couple: you’re gonna hurt each other (sometimes on purpose, sometimes on accident), but forgiving is worth it.  @pckaufma
  • When u know, u know. Don’t ask how b/c u can’t explain it, but when it’s really right you’ll understand exactly what I just said.  @aim3
  • Never let the sun go down on your anger…ever.  @daniel1012
  • Agree that, no matter how hard it gets, divorce is never an option.  @rkinnick59
  • Why do you love this person? What will the purpose of your marriage be?  @LucySongJau
  • Always try to be the first to apologize and to ask for forgiveness. It makes you work through junk in order to do it sincerely.  @masonconrad
  • To be open with each other about finances and how much debt you actually have, if any. – Bobbi Jo Cozby Caulfield
  • Have them do the Dave Ramsey course… a lot of marriages fail due to money and this is a way to make sure they are on agreement on how to handle their finances. – Arie Detweiler Schlabach
  • I think they should be required to see a print out of the last 6 months of their bank account just to get a small idea of their money management. not that it should stop them from getting married, but that they know that about the other one before hand.  – Michelle McClure Reese
  • be quick to forgive and slow to dwell on differences that, when embraced, makes the “whole” more complete. But how can you really narrow it down to one? In short…love as Christ loves. So…I guess it would really be to know and love God first! How simply complex.  – Mya Parker
  • Open honest communication – Diane Boots Bryant
  • don’t go to bed mad. – Rebecca Hackett Schilling
  • Make sure you understand each other’s expectations of getting married. – Michelle Lawrence Moore
  • Elope – Kristen Cocker
  • In many states, marriage licenses are cheaper (or free) if you go to premarital counseling. You may think it’s a bunch of psychobabble bullcrap (or, alternatively, a bunch of hyper-religious “God says X, so you should Y” stuff), but premarital counseling can help you explore aspects of marriage you might not have considered, especially if you have had a short engagement. Plus, it can reduce the over-all cost of getting married, assuming the marriage counseling doesn’t cost you more than the discount on the marriage license. – Noel Bagwell
  • What I would say just changed on Sunday. Last 10%! Don’t hold it back. – Angela Ridge Edwards
  • Enjoy each other without having children for at least two years. Living with a spouse exposes areas in your relationship which need some addressing ~ this can be a fun process if you’re on the same page! When you have spent time really getting to know each other, then you can move forward, better prepared to become a family. – Todd Oesch
  • marriage is a contact sport, you must love restlessly and get up from failure quickly. – Lindsey Pippins
  • Sit down every chance you get. – Bradley Mayse
  • In short, your only responsibility before family is your relationship with God….get that right and the rest will fall in place. – Wiley Aaron Rutledge
  • That You cannot Change Him/or Her. It seems like every new couple has this thought cross their mind somewhere in the relationship process. So if something “small” makes you feel uneasy, that something “small” will become quite Large later on. – Heather Bro Moroschak

To me, this is one of the great values of community…learning from each other’s mistakes, victories, trials, pains, and joys.

What would you add to this list?


Christ follower, husband, father, writer, small groups pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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  • Randy Kinnick

    Good stuff! Thanks for sharing and thanks for the quote.

  • Kris Wolfe

    awesome post! I would add:
    1: Get pre-ENGAGEMENT counseling
    2. Forget 50/50. Go for 100/100.
    3. 1+1=1.
    4. Marriage is never about winning. It’s about loving, all the time.
    5. Important: SEEK WISE COUNSEL! When you seeks advice for your marriage, ask someone who is doing it well!

    • Ben Reed

      Great additions, Kris…thanks!

  • Preston Atkinson

    The couple must wait until marriage to have any sexual intimacy. This is actually the number 1 cause of divorce. It destroys trust, respect, and future desire for one another. Those who have failed in this area typically do not confess and repent due to not looking back far enough to address the root problem which began before marriage.

    • Ben Reed

      That’s the #1 cause of divorce? Interesting…I wouldn’t have guessed that.