How exciting it is to find the person you desire to spend the rest of your life with, whose presence gives you butterflies and whose touch is utterly electrifying. You see the best in each other and can hardly wait to live happily ever after in each other’s love. Passion is high and this is a very thrilling season of life as you prepare for marriage.
Often the last thing we want to do during this time is to have a sober look at our relationship. We don’t want anything to rob us of our joy. However, if we let the intensity of this season get the best of us, we can rush ahead of wisdom and set ourselves up for many disappointments and regrets. Whether building a house or building a marriage, wisdom instructs us to count the cost before beginning (Luke 14:28).
Premarital counseling is a great way for you to count the cost as you prepare to build an intimate marriage. Through counseling you are able to explore the strength and the growth areas of your relationship. Do you have a solid foundation ready to endure the many storms of life and marriage? Are there issues that need to be addressed before walking down the aisle?
It has been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Investing in premarital counseling can be that prevention that saves you from many problems down the road. Problems will still come, but you will be better prepared to deal with them and use them as opportunities to grow.
When should you start premarital counseling?
For many, premarital counseling is one of the last things they do in the few weeks or months before the wedding. It is squeezed in between the fittings, showers, and other wedding plans. While this is very common, premarital counseling is actually recommended prior to the formal engagement.
Premarital counseling is ideally part of the “confirming” stage of your relationship, the pre-engagement. This is the time in which there is full disclosure with each other. No question is off limits and any remaining secrets and fears are brought into the light. Premarital counseling can help you ask the tough questions and sort through any new or difficult discoveries. Doing this prior to your formal engagement allows time to make an informed decision about moving forward, without the undue pressure from family and social expectations. For instance, time might be needed to process the discovery of a substance abuse or an addiction to pornography. This is more difficult once the wedding invitations have already been mailed.
Premarital counseling helps you to privately confirm your relationship and desire for marriage as a couple before making a public declaration. Once you have done this you can then confidently enjoy the excitement of sharing your decision with family and friends.
What’s the difference between premarital counseling and a marriage mentor?
A marriage mentor is an individual or couple that serves as a role model for your relationship. In sharing their own story and experience, these mentors provide hope, enrichment, and direction. Marriage mentors are an invaluable resource as you begin your marriage, and throughout.
While there is a lot of overlap between premarital counselors and marriage mentors, they serve two different functions. Mentors model what a godly relationship might look like, while counselors help you to thoroughly assess your relationship and equip you with proven tools to help strengthen your marriage. It is strongly recommended that you engage in premarital counseling and also find a marriage mentor (or two) to walk with.
In all the eagerness of planning for your wedding, don’t forget to prepare for your marriage. Let premarital counseling (learn more about the format I use at BIM) help you to count the cost and build a strong and vibrant marriage.
Photo credit: Carolina Ponce, “Save The Date“