Tonight, Zack and I finished our 8 weeks of premarital counseling through Regent University. **pat on the back**
I would like to squash the assumption that counseling is only for couples who have problems. Ok, good. Now that it’s squashed, let me explain. Zack and I went into this looking for ways to grow and solve conflict when we are married and living together. We chose not to live together before we get married and it has honestly been the best decision we could have made. Yes, it’s hard. I always miss him like crazy and texting each other goodnight gets old. And yes, we would have saved money living together, but we both work in ministry so what’s money anyways? But for a lot of people, more that just living situation changes once you are married. EVERYTHING else does as well.Are you truly prepared to handle those tough times?
^ I love this, except that Zack and I work in ministry and can’t afford to wake up at 11:30 on a Sunday HAHAH. But, I do look forward to the day when we are living in the same home that we built on faith, love, and trust.
Here are 3 things I learned from our time in premarital counseling:
ONE: Communication isn’t important, it’s VITAL.
(If you aren’t using tools to help you better communicate, your skills will deteriorate over time)
TWO: Set boundaries.
(Set boundaries in your time, friendships, and workplace. If these boundaries get crossed, feelings get hurt)
THREE: Know your identity.
(You are not your spouse. Just because you are getting married or are married, doesn’t mean you stop doing the things you love. Keep your hobbies. Work on you)
When I look at our experience in counseling, I realize that we came out more prepared than ever and I can’t imagine not taking that courageous step. Yes, some weeks were hard, and we realized that we don’t have a perfect relationship like we thought we did. We realized that marriage will take a lot of work and constant check-ins. It’s going to be hard, but it’s also going to be the adventure of a LIFETIME. Tonight, for our final session, we had to present a project that represented us. We made this frame together from scraps of wood and used a wood burner to etch out the our verse. The man who builds a home on a strong foundation will survive any storm. Our relationship will have to weather heavy stuff. Life isn’t going to be a box of chocolates. But, we have built this bond on a foundation of faith and authenticity. Fake crap(excuse moi francais) won’t get you far in this world and neither will leaning on your own strengths and understanding alone. Our frame holds our vision statement as a couple and all the things we hope to do. We plan on having it displayed at our wedding so the people who love and support us can also hold us accountable as friends and mentors.
This stuff beats out all the wedding planning because we are pouring into something that will live much longer than just one day. It’s days like today that my heart is so FULL because I realize God chose this man for me and I have the pleasure to do life with him.
(Future Mrs. Neelands)