Tag: premarital counseling

4 things I wish someone had told me about marriage



image credit: CreationSwap user Marian Trinidad

“It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” – God, Genesis 2:18

I was a 22-year-old recent-college-grad, who had all of life in front of me, thought I knew the path in  I was headed down, and was fired up about getting married. Also, I was clueless.

Within 3 months, my wife and I would be packing our bags, moving away from what was safe, easy, and comfortable, dealing with broken bones and no money, finding new jobs and a place to live in a city we didn’t know…and figuring it all out as a newly married couple.

I learned a lot in those first few years of marriage. I learned what it was like to live below the poverty line in downtown Louisville. I learned what it was like to make, and enjoy, coffee. I learned what it was like to pull a dual-all-nighter to finish up a couple of term papers.

And though by no stretch of anyone’s imagination do I have married life figured out, there are a few things I wish people had told me before I got married.

4 things I wish someone had told me about marriage

The work/home balance is a doozie (tweet that)

It doesn’t matter what industry you work in, finding a healthy balance between work life and home life is difficult. My cell phone is a wonderful tool…and a tool from the devil. Loving my job is amazing…and a curse. Having extra, outside-of-my-job work is a blessing…and a headache. Finding the balance between work life and home life is tough. And maybe that’s because a balance should never be our goal. For me, it’s come down to prioritizing what’s important. While I’m at work, I work. And when I come home, I try (as hard has I can…and I’m better at it some days more than others) to be home. Present. Active. Undistracted. I want to give my family my undivided best.

Communication will be difficult (tweet that)

I’ve never talked with someone who said, “Communication challenges? Nope, we’re good.” Men and women think differently. Process life differently. And communicate differently. Which isn’t a bad thing. But it can become a bad thing if you don’t notice the differences, and work through them. Maybe even consider working through them with someone else, who’s been down the same road you’re headed. I extrovert my thoughts. My wife introverts hers. So as I’m thinking out loud, she’s processing (read: she’s already processed…I’m a little slow, mind you :)) internally. And when she shares her thoughts, I’m still trying to process out loud what she’s already moved on from.

This was incredibly frustrating our first year of marriage. I felt un-heard. She felt disrespected. Embracing our differences has made a world of difference. It hasn’t always made things easy, but we’ve embraced our God-given uniqueness.

The things you thought were a big deal aren’t. The things you thought weren’t are. (tweet that)

In the big scheme of things, paint color isn’t a huge deal. Neither is where you’re going to eat or what movie you’re going to see. And though in the moment, “You forgot to get the flour!” seems life-shattering, it isn’t.

Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out. – Proverbs 17:14

Neither is what car you’re going to buy or what house you’re going to live in. (assuming you’re purchasing within your means, and seeking God in the process) But things like, “Where are we going to go to church?” and “Are we going to join a small group?” are ones that will shape your life. Questions like, “How are we going to intentionally be generous this year?” and “What are our family values?” are ones that will slip right by you. Year after year. Unless you take the bull by the horns and quit ignoring them. “How are we going to spend our money?” and “Where do we want to be in 10 years?” are huge. Choosing moments to come home early from work. Planning a family date night. Surprising your spouse with a little extra money to spend on something they want…those are the kinds of things that seem small, but in the big picture, are huge.

You’re more selfish than you think you are. (tweet that)

As a single person, your free time can revolve around you. And that’s not such a bad thing. You can work on you. Read what you want when you want. Relax when you want where you want. Pursue the hobbies you want when you want. And because you’re single, this isn’t a bad thing. It’s not sinful. But your free time isn’t your own once you get married. To pursue a healthy marriage, look to redeem your free time in light of your spouse. Yes, you still need “me” time. But don’t abuse that.

Anything you wish you knew before you got married?


Premarital counseling

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?


Covenant Marriage

Before my wife and I got married, we received premarital counseling from our pastor.  Though it saved us a bit of money off of our marriage license, the real value that we received was in being a little more prepared for the challenges we would face as a newly married couple.  I can’t even begin to tell you how valuable that time was for our marriage.  We drew back heavily on those meetings with our pastor as we were trying to create and sustain a godly marriage.

Many couples start their married life with no premarital counseling/training.  But you don’t have to.

That’s why I wanted to tell you about the Covenant Marriage event we’re helping to put on at Grace.  At this event, designed for engaged couples or ones married less than 2 years, we’re going to help equip you with the essentials for having a healthy marriage.  Over the course of 3 sessions, Kent Hughes will help you prepare for a lifelong marriage that honors God.

Your marriage is too important to not work on it right out of the gate.

The event happens on Friday evening, August 27th, and ends on Saturday, August 28th, by lunch.  It’s free.  You can sign up HERE.


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