We hear this all the time from people getting a divorce: “If I had known that about (them), I would’ve never gotten married”. And while in most instances people did know and they married anyway in hopes of changing someone, sometimes, you really don’t know until it’s too late.
This is where a few meetings with an objective third party could’ve help before we rented the tuxes. People are often afraid of premarital counseling for one of two reasons. The first being they don’t want someone telling them that they’re making a mistake. The second being they don’t want that someone to be right about what they’re saying.
The misconception about counseling is the idea that someone is going to tell you that you shouldn’t marry someone that you love and want to spend the rest of your life with. This just isn’t true. Counseling isn’t meant to break you up. While there are instances when two people are making a mistake, the purpose of counseling it to let you know whether or not you’re ready for the next step. If you’re not, you can use this opportunity to get ready. This is something that you can’t always see when you’re looking through the eyes of love, but an objective pair of eyes looking at your situation can prove to be invaluable to the success of what you’re doing.
At its best, counseling opens up dialog that you hadn’t thought of before and causes a couple to discuss things more deeply before moving forward and getting married without opening up completely. At worst, it exposes some things that a couple may not be able to get past. Yes, in some cases, you do find out that you’re not right for one another. But if it saves you years of heartache and frustration and keeps you from getting a nasty divorce, possibly involving children in this mess, is that so bad?
But let’s be real. When our mind is made up in the name of love, who’s gonna change it? All a counselor or minister is doing is giving you suggestions. When we make up our minds in the name of love, the only thing that can stop us is the other person in the relationship. We struggle with this because we don’t wanna be told about the people we’re in love with. Once we’ve decided that we’ve found The One, we don’t want any negatives from parents, family, friends and most certainly not from any minister or counselor that don’t know “the boo” like we do.
The last things we want are arguments, hurt feelings and uncomfortable situations. So we tread lightly. We keep a limit on difficult conversations. Well, that can be counterproductive if your future wife has lavish spending habits that you’d like to see under control before you say “I do”. That can be a problem if your husband doesn’t understand that he can’t roam the streets all night anymore because he has a wife, and in some cases, a family that he must come home to after the nuptials.
Our divorce courts are filled as we speak because there are conversations that people just aren’t having before they get married. A counselor can ask questions without worrying about whether or not they’ll get the cold shoulder later for bringing up something uncomfortable. Other than hoping that the two of you are making the right choice, they have no further investment in the relationship.
I’ve always said that unequally yoked will always fall apart, even if it takes a long time. So it’s best to be on the same page from the start, rather than hoping you get there after the wedding. While we’d all like to believe the best about ourselves, the person we’re planning on marrying and the decision we’re making, we need to remember there’s always something to talk about before that big day. If we don’t uncover our issues and confront them, the “worse” in “for better or worse” won’t simply be a footnote in the wedding ceremony. It may be a way of life. And who wants that?