How can I be sure?

How can I be sure

Why are we getting married?

How are we going to divide up the household chores?

Does religion play an important part in your life?

Do you think faith and spirituality are important in a marriage?

What is your image of God?

Finances:

Are you a saver or spender when it comes to money?

How much do we owe in debts and what are our assets?

Do you want to have a budget?

Should we have a joint checking account or separate accounts or both?

Who is going to be responsible for making sure that bills are paid on time?

What are our financial goals?

Family:

Do we want to have children?

How long should we be married before having children?

What is your parenting philosophy?

Will one of us stay home after we have children?

What values do you want to bring from your family into our marriage?

Sex & Intimacy:

Are you comfortable discussing your sexual likes and dislikes?

What are your expectations of our sexual relationship?

Am I a jealous person?

Do I have trust issues or feel insecure?

What is your love language?

Do you think it is important to be faithful to one another?

Do you think we have problems in our relationship that we need to deal with before our wedding?

Do you think our differences will create problems in our marriage?

Do you expect or want me to change?

Are we both willing to work on our communication skills and to share intimately with each other?

Why Should We Get Pre-Marital Counseling?

Why Should We Get Pre-Marital Counseling

This past Friday, I attended the wedding of two good friends.

These two friends had been dating for two years, were engaged after a year and a half of dating, and had originally planned for a long engagement while the bride finished her bachelor’s degree.

The couple had entered into their engagement with the intention of completing pre-marital counseling to ensure that their decision to marry was foolproof. They thought of the counseling as a “flu shot” and as being “preventative,” which is an excellent perspective on how beneficial pre-marital counseling can be.

Unfortunately, due to a change in their original perspective, they did not finish their pre-marital counseling and moved their wedding from three years in the future to this past Friday. They confessed that they moved up their wedding because there was a fear of marriage failure if they chose to wait any longer.

They did not realize that, by giving up on their counseling, they may be setting themselves up for the failure that they are most afraid of.

The benefits of pre-marital counseling has been defined in an article I’ve found while researching this topic:
1. There would be no secrets revealed after the “I Do’s” because they would have been revealed in counseling sessions.
2. You benefit from the objective perspectives on your relationship given by the counselor.
3. If done with a pastor, plans for worship and faith are clearly defined. Your pastor will also KNOW WHO YOU ARE before the ceremony.
4. It really is a good preventative method for divorce.

Melissa Butler

Top 5 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Say I Do

After what was hopefully at least a 2-year courtship, you now find yourself engaged. You’re excited and nervous as the big day approaches. You think you’ve got all the important questions asked and answered. Are the guests seated properly? Did we give the florist a deposit? Are all the relatives travel and lodging arrangements finalized? Has everything been done that needs to be done? While these are all important questions, many people fail to take the time to ask themselves key questions about how their life will change after they say “I do.”

Here are five key questions to ask yourself before you say those two life-altering words.

1) How do I expect my life to change once I’m married? (Think it won’t?).
Everyone enters into a marriage with expectations about how the marriage will satisfy his or her needs. Problems arise when these expectations go unmet and feelings of disappointment start to seep into the emotional connection between the couple. At lot of times, this is due to one partner expecting the emotional connection to intensify and the other expecting things to stay as they have been. Therefore, it is very important that you openly talk with your partner about what you expect from the relationship, emotionally, financially, physically, and how you view your future together playing out. Failure to do so may lead the two of you down a bitter path culminating in divorce.

2) How happy am I with our dealings with the good, the bad and the ugly?

Well functioning relationships are able to survive difficult times and grow as the environment around them changes. Just as one needs to prepare for a harsh winter, a couple needs to devise a blueprint for how they are going to get through tough times. All couples experience situations that test their commitment to each other and their compatibility. This is why I wrote “at least a 2-year courtship” in the opening paragraph. When you first are dating, it’s like summer—peaceful, calm, exciting, and warm. Then winter comes and things often get harder. No longer is one focusing on being on his or her best behavior and ones “baggage” surfaces. If you haven’t experienced all four seasons of your partner to be, maybe you should push back the wedding date. If you have, what did you learn about yourself and your partner? Is your relationship going to be like living in Los Angeles where the change of seasons are hardly noticeable, or is it going to be like living in the Colorado Rockies? If the two of you are having wild emotional swings getting married isn’t the answer.

3) Why am I getting married?
Most of us know the fairy tale where the prince rescues the damsel in distress and they ride off into the sunset to a place called “Happily Ever After.” Many of us think, in some way, that there is truth to this insipid tale. It has been my experience that rescue missions usually end up with the rescuer getting his or her butt kicked as the damsel is in distress, due to her own choices, which can’t be fixed by the rescuer. In our modern world, both men and women attempt to rescue, just as both men and women can be a “damsel” in distress. Happily Ever After has a little known subtitle, “Just as long as you work your butt off and are not trying to save anybody or hope to be rescued from yourself.” Thus, make sure to answer this question as honestly as possible. And, ask your partner this question as well. If getting married has anything to do with living out a fairy tale, you may want to reevaluate the situation.

4) Have you fallen in love?

When asked why one is getting married, a common answer is “because I’ve fallen in love.” To me, the word “falling” is associated with painful things. I fell down, I fell off the chair, or I fell off a cliff, to name a few. Whoever first coined the phrase “falling in love” knew what s/he was talking about. This wise person knew that with love comes pain. Within every successful relationship there exists a healthy level of emotional pain that a couple uses to further grow their relationship. Part of making a relationship stand the test of time is to agree to work together to solve problems. Learning how to avoid hurting each other will lessen the chances that someone will tumble and fall, causing both to suffer. Never put ANYONE before them.  Don’t fall in love. Rather, build it together and leave all others behind.

5) Who do I want to model my marriage after? (Why Did I Get Married or Why Did I Get Married Too?).

Are your parents still married (if they ever married)? The relationship that our parents had affects us more than most of us want to admit. It is from their teachings and behaviors that we learned about how, or how not, partners are supposed to treat each other. If they were, and still are, great role models, ask them to tell you everything that they have learned about marriage. If they weren’t, still ask, but also seek out advice from someone whose marriage appears to be running smoothly (I say appear, as people are great on putting a positive face on what is really a relationship in trouble). Try attending some premarital counseling. Working with a therapist prior to getting married may prevent you from having to go to therapy to try and save the relationship in the future.

Do you have a goal for your pending marriage?  A vision of where you want to be in the future?  If you don’t, start on one today.

Will We Have a Good Marriage?

naturalwmbaldmanAccording to Thomas Holman’s research predicting marital success, there are four broad premarital predictors of marital quality and stability.  They are:

Family Background

* Contributes to a high level of marital satisfaction if both spouses come from emotionally healthy families.

* The opposite is true if both spouses come from emotionally unhealthy families.

* For both men and women, closeness to fathers improves their marriages.

Individual Characteristics – these include personality, attitudes, beliefs and values

* Women who feel good about their physical attractiveness also feels more successful communicating with men, which leads men to draw closer, which often leads to marriage.

* Men who feel physically attractive don’t necessarily see themselves as better communicators, an they are usually more hesitant to marry.

Couple Interaction

* The longer a couple knows each other before the marriage the better.

* Premarital pregnancy  is related to future marital problems.

* Living together before marriage also relates to low marital quality.

Current Society Views

* If the couple’s race or gender has a negative or controversial meaning in society marital satisfaction could go down.

* Parental support is also related to marital quality.

The issues that you have during your engagement will be magnified in your marriage if they aren’t dealt with.   Don’t stick your head in the sand and believe that a magic wand will be waved when you walk down the aisle.  Consider pre-marital counseling to address your issues.  Premarital Counseling is not used to change your mind, it used to open your mind.  To prepare you for what your marriage will really look like.  Negative behaviors can be changed, if a person is willing to do the work.

Have you discussed these things with your financee? If not why.  I would love to hear from you. 

What We Want vs. What We Need

What We Want versus What We Need?

In an ideal world we would satisfy our search for a significant other, with someone who fulfills all of our wants and needs. This would be our Mr. or Ms. Right.  Does such a person exist? Are our standards set to high that no one will ever be able to fill these shoes? Does this longing cause a sense of desperation and we begin to settle more for wants over needs?  For example, you may want someone who is spontaneous and buys you nice things but what you need is a partner with job stability.

Are you willing to settle for the bungee jumper who changes jobs three times a year or, are you willing to work on spontaneity with a partner who has job security?

You’re a Witch (clean version) – Chapter 1 of “Why You’re Not Married Yet”

I recently read this book called  “Why You’re Not Married Yet – The Straight Talk You Need to Get the Relationship You Deserve” by Tracy McMillan.  I’m all about sharing information and improving marriage.  So if I can help some folks before they married, I can maybe help some future marriages down the road.  (The views in this book are not necessarily my views or those of Family First Counseling.) Read the previous post to learn more about the book and for a link to Amazon’s review.

You’re a Witch (Or, How Anger and Fear are Keeping You Single)

  1. Do people walk on eggshells around you–and you kind of like it?
  2. Does the idea that you should be nice to a man make you angry?
  3. Have past boyfriends felt that you were defensive or hard to get close to?

Bottom line of this chapter: Most men just want to marry someone who is nice to them.  That includes having sex enthusiastically with them, laughing and occasionally cooking a meal, folding the laundry or something else just because you love him.  If being asked makes you mad, then the answer is probably not.  It boils down to just having a funky attitude often with no reason.  Be conscious of how you express your anger.

Author’s Summary: Take a cold hard look at what no one has been willing to say straight to your face:

  • You’re a witch – You’re not nice, and men don’t want to marry you because of it.
  • Being a witch is really about anger and defensiveness  – The anger looks justified, which is why it seems so righteous.
  • Be nice.
  • Learn to forgive – being nice won’t happen until you forgive.
  • Get a new story – Be creative, live ya life.

Next Post: Chapter 2 – You’re Shallow