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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Marriage Series: Preparation and seeking wise counsel.

Welcome back for another addition of how to make your marriage work.

Today we're talking about properly preparing for marriage and continually seeking counsel throughout your marriage.

Let's start with prepping for marriage.

People are constantly talking about how most marriages end in divorce. It's all over television shows, movies, and the Hollywood starlets have seem to make a sport out of it. 

But do you know the real reason marriages end so abruptly? 

It's because the lack of preparation. 

I touched on this a little last week, but I wanted to go a little more in depth with it. 

So many couples get into the swing of planning the wedding, buying a home, and combining assets that they forget the most important part, nurturing their relationship and getting educated. 

Unless you're a serial marriage participant, the concept and execution is completely foreign. 

There's no bigger change an individual can endure than going from being single to becoming "one" with another person. No one, unless you're God, knows how to make this transition seamlessly.

So why act like we do?

There are tons of resources out there from books, to webinars, conferences, and preparation for marriage classes that are aimed at teaching you how to make this transition. 

When my husband and I decided to get married, we were so gun-ho about taking a marriage class. Aside from the normal societal friction of getting married young, we were also faced with friction culturally because of his upbringing. I wasn't exactly his families first choice because of my culture and ethnicity so if we were going to get the okay, we were going to do everything in our power to make it work.

As a part of our marriage preparation, we went through a 12 week course hosted by our church. While commiting to something for 12 weeks seemed tedious, we were able to learn, explore, and discuss things we would have never thought about until post marriage. (Hence the high divorce rates).

As a part of our classes, we were forced to talk about things like:

1. Finances: Who would make what? Joint or separate checking accounts?

2. Debt: How much did we have? How would we pay it off?

3. Marital Expectations: Who cleans? Cooks? Takes care of the pets, children?

4. Personal goals and how that would fit into our lives.

5. How much to spend on family members for different occasions. (Crazy? I know but wow have we used this one a lot).

6. Family involvement

7. Where we wanted to live and if we were willing to relocate.

and so much more. 

Grant it, the topics presented a lot of heated discussions and tension, but we had the tools and mentors to work through them. The point of it all was to see if we were compatible enough to get married and if we weren't, they would let us know.

Twelve weeks seemed like a long time, but what we learned in those three months saved us a lot of heartache and gave us the basics of a strong marriage. 

With the availabilty of the internet today, there's absolutely no reason everyone can't be prepared. Order a book, take a class, watch some videos. You'll be surprised and happy you did.

What about if you're already married?

To me, seeking wise counsel continuously throughout your marriage is the best thing you can ever do for it. 

Notice that I did say wise. This doesn't mean talking to your best friend who's single or the guy from work. Wise counsel means someone who is married, has been married, and is a woman. 

Never, ever, ever, discuss your marital woes with someone of the opposite sex. It could lead to emotional ties and much more.

So many times people think getting help for their marriage means they have a problem. 

I assure you, those people who have a strong, functional marriage don't get it or keep it without hard work. They're behind the scenes, reading books, meeting with other women to mentor and be mentored, and seeking to live lives of an honorable wife. 

In my household, we have made the decision to build our marriage on a strong Biblical foundation. We make decisions by it and I try my best to live the life of a Virtuous woman. At times it can be truly overwhelming because I feel like I'm the one doing all the marital work but I've seen as my attitude changes, so does my husbands. 

When things started to get tough, I knew I had to change something. As I prayed and pondered on what that was, I came across a book entitled "A Women After God's own Heart." As I read it, my eyes began to open and it literally changed my marriage. I could finally see that by making those adjustments (some major) in my life, my husband had no choice but to make adjustments of my own. Chapter by chapter I followed the advice; omitting some things I felt were ancient and applying the others. 

Just by seeking help, I with the assistance of God was able to turn my marriage around. 

You see, getting help doesn't mean your marriage is falling a part. 

It means you want it to be better, thriving, and fulfilling for you and your husband. 

I hope you will be willing today to take the step and seek wise counsel for your marriage. There are tons of resources out there that can bring drastic change. 

Shoot me an email. I'd love to share with you what I'm reading and/or have read.