Weddings and honeymoons are incredible times in our lives! You probably guessed that as a pastor, I believe in the value of pre-marital counseling. Yet did you know that the State of Tennessee does, too? So much so, they will grant you a $60 discount on your almost $100 marriage license if you attend at least four hours with a professional. See here for details: http://www.tncountyclerk.com/forms/Marriage_Counseling.pdf
Another of my goals would be to give you a number of tools to help increase the probability of a solid marriage that will weather the storms of life for decades to come.
First, reflect upon your past to move stronger into the future. How has marriage been modeled for you? How did your parents or adults in your life communicate? How did they deal with conflict? What are traditions or parts of family life that you wish to continue and what are aspects that you do not want to repeat?
Secondly, turn to the present and future by looking at items that you should already be talking about before the big day. Recognize some of these items may not be issues right now, yet they are the classic items that can trip up a marriage in the future.
- Family. What are the dynamics with each other’s families? And how will we decide things like: where will we spend Christmas?
- Finances. Joint account? How do we make big dollar decisions?
- Recreation. What hobbies do you have together and separately?
- Friends. Yours, mine, and “ours”? How do we balance this time?
- Sex. Yes, it is good and healthy to talk about it; past, present, and future.
- Life Goals. Do we have similar goals for 5, 10, and 50 years down the road? Children? Retirement?
- Religion. Yours, mine, or “ours”? How will we live out our faith and spiritual life together?
Awareness of these potential issues can give you more confidence to move forward if they should arise in the future. Remember that these conversations are normal and can be worked through either on our own, or with help from a trusted pastor, priest, or counselor.
Good communication in a marriage is key to working through any issue that might come your way.
Congratulations, and happy journeying together!
Dr. Deborah Suddarth
Collierville United Methodist Church