Pre-Marital 'Counseling' / by

I had a phone call last week from a young woman asking, “What is pre-marital counseling?”

That’s a tough question as a general rule.

There is no prescribed course of action when I meet with couples for counseling. My approach is not psychological but spiritual in nature. The very notion of counseling leads many to believe that (a) a problem or problems exist; or (b) there are things that need to be “fixed” before the marriage happens.

I prefer to take a different approach. I can best describe it as a course of discovery, lessons in communication, and an opportunity to check-in amidst the flurry of activity that consumes couples as their wedding day approaches.

It’s easy for all of us to lose each other. When things become more important than people it’s time for a re-set. When lists and tasks pre-empt our hopes and dreams for the future we become bogged down in the tangible—the devil is in the details after all.

It’s interesting when I ask couples, “What does your fiancé do that makes you laugh?” Every time they turn to their partner and burst out laughing. It’s a glimpse into the heart of the relationship and a step back from the fight-or-flight position that most couples walk in with—each expecting the worst.

At the end of it all, most end up somehow enlightened. The process of “lightening up” relaxes the mind, opens the heart, and allows the vulnerability that we fell in love with to re-appear. It’s the times when mutual control is surrendered and we give it all up to the present moment that make a relationship.

As much as we try, we simply can’t plan life. The best part of any marriage is that you have someone to lean on when life throws you curveballs, or even better, to pick you up after an awesome belly-laugh.

Instead of expecting the worst, expect the best, not only during “premarital counseling”, but for the rest of your lives.