Friday, March 29, 2013

Premarital Counseling: Learning

I thought especially in light of my Monday post on getting married young, I would talk a little bit about premarital counseling. I definitely don't think this is just applicable to younger people—but it does help for us to learn from someone older who has been through all of these years.

I know premarital counseling varies widely—for example, in the Catholic church it's Pre-Cana and significantly more structured. I found a bunch of posts on Pre-Cana by some other bee bloggers, such as Mrs. Mascara, Mrs. Dumpling, Mrs. Boa Constrictor, and Mrs. Treasure. I'll yield to the experts since I'm not familiar with Catholic tradition! In many Protestant churches, premarital counseling is often done voluntarily with the pastor of the church—in our circles, sometimes pastors will also require you to have premarital counseling or least a session with them in order to get married in the church.

Image via / Photo by Melissa Tuck

Ours is a little more casual since first of all, we are not getting married in a church and second, we're getting married by a friend of the family who also happens to be a pastor. However, we're still doing a more relaxed form of premarital counseling. In our case, we're reading a book together and meeting with our officiant and family friend for an afternoon. Regardless of what you choose to do, I think the most important thing is being intentional about your future marriage and realizing it's more than just a wedding! For us this does involve our faith, since that is a big part of our lives.

Image via / Photo by Jennifer Dery

Today's post is a lot more general though, and something I think applies to everyone no matter what their faith may be—becoming a learner. Our book gave fifty questions for Mr. Lemur to ask to learn more about me, but I don't see any reason not to ask them both ways! Some of them were really simple and straightforward, and others were a lot more detailed and insightful. Some of them I really hoped Mr. Lemur would know right off the bat, and others I had to think about myself. Here's a sampling with some of our more casual answers, just for fun. (I'm skipping most of the more personal questions!)

What gifts does she like?

I'm definitely more of a time together kind of person. Remember when I wrote my proposal story and talked about how Mr. Lemur taking the afternoon and evening off to spend time with me was the best gift I could have received? Just today we were talking about small trips we want to take together! Not that I don't enjoy tangible gifts, but I'd rather see Mr. Lemur for the weekend than receive a gift in the mail—although that's the way it is right now, unfortunately.

What is her favorite color?

This one made me laugh, and actually Mr. Lemur got it wrong—but I can't blame him since I change my favorite color every few months! Right now I think it's pink/peach/coral. Here's hoping I still like coral by the time we get married. I don't think this one has much to do with the healthiness of our future marriage, although it does help when he buys me things.

How much sleep does she need?

I actually really appreciated this question. It's not something people in relationships always think about—am I being considerate of the other person and their sleep needs. I really, really like going to bed early. Basically, I'm a grandma. Then again, Mr. Lemur often works till 10:00 at night and that's sometimes the only time we can talk on the phone, so it's a compromise in both directions. Usually I go to bed around 11:00 so I have a chance to talk with him without staying up too late.

What is she looking forward to the most?


The point of these questions was trying to know your partner better, and to be deliberate about learning more about each other every day. In the future, I won't sit down with Mr. Lemur and ask him fifty questions about his life—but I should be noticing things he does and asking him about things I don't understand.

Plus, I just thought it was fun to ask random questions! Including some I came up with myself, because I just want to have a good time with it! What about you? Are you doing any kind of premarital counseling—formal or informal? How do you keep learning about your partner?

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