Before “I DO”
The big question has been asked, she said “YES”, and the wedding plans have begun. The journey of planning your wedding is an incredible journey, but it is one which causes a bride and groom to begin to see what things are important to the other, try to understand why, and then find ways to compromise. The wedding planning sets the stage for creating your “Perfect Day”, but what about after you say “I Do”?
Many ministers of different faiths request (require) for a bride and groom to attend and complete a series of marriage counseling sessions before they will perform their wedding ceremony. This is especially seen when the wedding ceremony is to take place within a church setting. The reasoning behind this is to help them be perspective to areas within their marriage to which they may need to address now or possibly in the future and how to handle situations which may arise within their marriage. The idea is to provide counsel before the wedding so there is no need for counsel during the marriage.
Jonathan and Brooke realized the value Marriage Counseling had and decided this would be a part of the beginning of their life together. They attended marriage counseling at their home church, Life Church of Mobile, AL and their young adult’s pastors Ryan and Jacque Howard guided them through the process. Here is a little insight as to what they experienced and learned from this portion of their journey.
Moments which stood out the most:
Jonathan– We were glad to know that we are on the same page with details such as finances and expectations.
Brooke– I really enjoyed just getting to know Ryan and Jacque even better as they mentored us one on one. I loved talking about marriage from a Godly perspective.
What do you think you gained from this experience which will help you the most in your marriage?
Brooke- We had a total of eight sessions, four with our pastors and four which we did alone, and had a wonderful atmosphere where we felt comfortable opening up and sharing with our pastors. I felt like learning about the priorities in marriage will be so helpful in the future. We talked about the importance of putting Jesus first, then spouse second. Children, work, and even ministry should not come second but third. It helped me begin to form goals for myself about what kind of wife I want to be, and how life will change when we have children. I loved hearing Jonathan’s perspective in the sessions at church and then in our sessions alone together. Through the workbooks, it helped us ask each other the right questions about what we expected of each other. I only wish I would have journaled my thoughts more after each session so I could remember the conversations in a more detailed way for the future.
Jonathan- It gave us a chance to talk through how each other grew up versus the dreams we have for our future family. We learned about conversational prayer with your spouse. It was awesome to start practicing it together. I also liked the finance portion that gave us a better understanding of how to create a budget. We watched a Dave Ramsey video on money management that was also helpful.
What advice would you give to other brides and grooms concerning marriage counseling?
Jonathan- We would definitely recommend it! It is great to build a relationship with a Godly mentoring couple that you could even talk to in the future.
Brooke- I would advise them to put a very high value on the counseling sessions. Don’t try to rush through this part because it is more valuable than all the wedding planning in the long run. It is so great to be on the same page with your future spouse and lay all your expectations out before marriage.
Jonathan and Brooke Wallace & Ryan and Jacque Howard