Pre-Marital Counseling with the Book – Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before—and After—You Marry
Heather and I recently completed an excellent per-marital course that was recommended by our minister, Reggie. As part of the course we read the book Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before—and After—You Marry while also working through the paired his and her workbooks. Yes you heard that right. There was a different workbook for the male and female in the couple. Reggie also connected us with a great couple, Tracy & Warren, who was able to talk with us after we completed sections of the reading and workbooks. Yes there was actual work required in all this, but I’m not naive enough to think that getting married isn’t going to be work too!
I really enjoyed the whole experience. Although Heather and I have been together closing in on four years and lived together almost three there was still a lot about her that I don’t know. I’ve always believed that communication is the single-handedly most important piece of any relationship. There were a lot of things that we just hadn’t thought to talk through as a married couple. Things like kids, financial and deep religious beliefs were all things that just never really come up in normal conversations. They are all extremely important to our success going forward and I found it extremely valuable to set aside the time to really study and discuss these details in an organized format.
I would highly recommend that any couple that is closing in on a marriage date, recently married or even been married for years and could use a refresher pick up this book and work through it together. Ultimately I believe it helped make us a stronger couple together. There were so many little details things that I instinctively knew about Heather but I had never really stopped to understand why or how that was. This book put those abstract ideas into concrete understanding for me. We now know the areas where our relationship is extremely strong and where we each need to work a little harder to get better.
As with all books below you will find my highlighted Kindle notes.
Let’s be honest. The “till death do us part” statement of the marriage vow rings increasingly ironic. In the 1930s, one out of seven marriages ended in divorce. In the 1960s, it was one out of four. Of the 2.4 million couples who will get married this year in the United States, it is predicted that at least 43 percent will not survive. For too many couples, marriage has become “till divorce do us part.”
For example, happily married couples will have: healthy expectations of marriage a realistic concept of love a positive attitude and outlook toward life the ability to communicate their feelings an understanding and acceptance of their gender differences the ability to make decisions and settle arguments
the hot points in marriage usually result from poor communication, gender issues, and lack of spiritual health
Most incongruous expectations fall into two major categories: unspoken rules and unconscious roles.
Marriage means giving up a carefree lifestyle and coming to terms with new limits. It means unexpected inconveniences.
Some experts believe the half-life of romantic love is about three months, after which you have only half the amount of romantic feelings you started out with. Others believe romantic love stays at a peak for two to three years before starting to fade. Which-ever theory is correct, you can be sure that the enchantment of romance will begin to fade eventually. The point is that we marry an image and only later discover the real person.
All of us, at least unconsciously, marry in the hope of healing our wounds. Even if we do not have a traumatic background, we still have hurts and unfulfilled needs that we carry inside. We all suffer from feelings of self-doubt, unworthiness, and inadequacy. No matter how nurturing our parents were, we never received enough attention and love. So in marriage we look to our spouse to convince us that we are worthwhile and to heal our infirmities.
Our faith sees the wedding day not as a place of arrival but the place where the adventure begins.”
The success of a marriage comes not in finding the “right” person, but in the ability of both partners to adjust to the real person they inevitably realize they married.
The Swiss counselor Paul Tournier describes the marriage vow as a gift: “total, definite, unreserved…a personal and unchangeable commitment.”
When it comes to passion in marriage, the bottom line is that the intensity of early passion is only the beginning. We often illustrate it this way: A jet airliner from Seattle to New York uses 80 percent of its fuel in takeoff. A tremendous amount of energy is required to get the plane launched so it can reach a comfortable cruising altitude. The takeoff, however, is only the beginning. The cruise is the important part of the journey, and it requires a different kind of energy, one with more sustaining and even power. By cultivating a deep-rooted passion, you can avoid years of needless marital turbulence and enjoy soaring at altitudes never imagined.
Nothing drains a relationship of intimacy faster than anxiety. And nothing promotes intimacy more than knowing you are unconditionally accepted, even though you aren’t perfect.
“There may be nothing more important in a marriage than a determination that it shall persist. With such a determination, individuals force themselves to adjust and to accept situations which would seem sufficient grounds for a breakup, if continuation of the marriage were not the prime objective.” 15 Commitment is the mortar that holds the stones of marriage in place.
Without knowing it, our pilot had given us a perfect metaphor for creating a happy marriage—the trick is to develop the right attitude in spite of the circumstances we find ourselves in.
But the bottom line is that happy couples decide to be happy. In spite of the troubles life deals them, they make happiness a habit.
Couples report that the number-one problem they face in marriage is “a breakdown in communication.”
You can shower your partner with love, but if you’re not real, the love is hollow. You can use all the communication techniques in the world, but if you aren’t genuine, they won’t work. Authenticity is something you are, not something you do. It comes from the heart, not the hands.
Conversationally speaking, women share feelings, and men solve problems.
Given its potent impact on our lives, it’s no wonder that touch is known as the “mother of the senses.” There is simply no better way to communicate the idea that “You are not alone,” “You’re important,” “I’m sorry,” or “I love you.” So the next time you’re at a loss for words, remember, touching may be the best way of speaking to your partner.
research and experience consistently point to a fundamental and powerful distinction between the sexes: Men focus on achievement, women focus on relationships.
Well, Freud may not have been able to identify the deepest needs of women, but modern research has. A wife’s most basic needs in marriage are: (1) to be cherished, (2) to be known, and (3) to be respected.
When your wife is satisfied in knowing that she takes first place in your life, when she knows she is the most important thing in the world to you, she will encourage you to do the things you enjoy. It is part of the mystery of marriage: When a woman is truly, genuinely cherished, she feels free to encourage her husband’s independence.
Consider this fact: Men say three times as many words in public as they do in private, while women say three times as many words in private as they do in public.
To meet your wife’s important need to be known, you need to actively listen to her, reflecting back to her what she is saying and feeling, and genuinely wanting to understand her. This point cannot be overemphasized: Women need to have their feelings validated and accepted. They need to have you see and experience the world the way they do, instead of explaining to them why they shouldn’t see it that way.
Being appreciated is a man’s primary need. He measures his worth through his achievements, big and small, and needs them to be recognized. A woman’s need for admiration and appreciation, while certainly important, is rarely as strong.
When a woman seeks appreciation she is more accurately wanting to be understood, to be validated.
One of the sad facts of close relationships is that we treat the ones we love worse than we treat just about anyone else. We are more likely to hurl insults at our marriage partner than any other person in our life.
Loving your partner as yourself is probably the single most wholehearted step you will ever take to fulfill the love of God. Such a step, of course, could never even be contemplated without the enabling grace of God.