4.11.2011

An alternative to pre-marital counseling.

We're talking 'bout the MAN IN THE MIRROR!
I don't remember when we first talked about pre-marital counseling, but I think it was back around the time we were getting rejected right and left by ministers. (Kidding. Sort of!) One of the things I value most about my relationship with Chris is our communication. You have not heard two people talk more on a day to day basis about how we're really feeling, how happy we are, what isn't making us very happy, etc ad nauseum. The idea of pre-marital counseling didn't come up because we were having trouble talking about our futures.

Rather, it came up because we know that we don't know everything. From living wills to who knows what, the one thing that's certain is that our lives will not always be rainbows and ponies. What better time to talk through the Big Issues than this preparation period before we make a big commitment to each other?

First, we emailed the awesome minister who's going to marry us to see if she does counseling. She doesn't, although she does conduct the Meyers-Briggs personality tests and discuss the results with the couple. She recommended us to a therapist in the city and things were going swimmingly. We felt responsible and on track! And then the therapist came back with $125 an hour and 15 sessions and holy, moly. That wasn't exactly in the budget.

Let me say this: writing an email that tells a therapist that you don't have the cash to spend on your future happiness and well-being? Yowza.

And so we got creative. I found a list of Questions to ask before you wed on A Practical Wedding and we're starting a tradition of a homemade dinner on Sunday nights, over which we discuss a few of the questions each week. Is it the same as having an outside person asking probing questions? Probably not. But is it making us talk about the kind of marriage we want to have, the way we want to parent and what we see for our respective careers? It is. Is it even allowing us to talk about the hard things, like spending money and divorce? It is. And I can't say that those things would all organically come up otherwise.

We also emailed our minister to set up the Meyers-Briggs test. That conversation will be interesting, shed light on our personalities and help explain why we react differently to the same scenarios. I'm excited to have a third party person in the room, even for a small part of this process.

So! Should you find yourself desiring some pre-marital counseling without a budget, I totally recommend piecing something like this together. Don't sweep it under the rug, don't assume that you won't have issues. Cause you will - any time two independent beings try to become one anything, there's bound to be some friction.

Talk it out! It won't kill you! And it will probably be awesome.

1 comment:

Josh Diehl said...

Interesting read and good food for thought.

I'll be interested to see how the Myers Briggs types come out, Jen if I had to guess you'll come out ENFJ and Chris will be INTP.