I’ve been married for a little over a year now, and it has been the opposite of easy. My husband and I have gone through a lot lately with layoffs and moving, but we have stayed strong through it all. When we first got engaged, I thought that pre-marital counseling would be a good idea. However, he didn’t agree. When I asked what he had against counseling, he said “We can work through our own problems.” Even though I asked numerous times after this, we didn’t get to pre-marital counseling.
Although I’m sure that counseling could only help, not hurt, our marriage, I decided to do some research of other options. Here are some things that I have found helpful just in our first year:
One of the first things I did was look for several well rated books. Dr. Gary Chapman has of course been a huge help as far as identifying our love languages, and also explaining what he wish he knew before he got married. I’ve read several books and continue to add more to my list as I hear about them. Every marriage is different, but a lot of couples still go through some of the same things. Reading some of the things that other couples have already gone through has been super helpful to avoid some of the problems they encountered and that I may encounter in the future.
Before I started writing for BMWK, I was certainly reading it on a regular basis. There’s just something different about marriage blogs and marriage books. With blogs, you feel like the writers and authors are a bit more real, especially because you can comment on their posts and they comment back. I’ve met quite a few other bloggers who blog candidly about their marriage, and it’s so comforting to know that I’m not alone on some issues and get to weigh my opinion on different topics. It’s nice to also send posts to my husband to find out what he thinks about the posts. It’s a form of counseling without him even knowing it because it sparks up conversation.
It’s true that a couple that prays together stays together. Obviously, your faith may vary from mine, but hopefully at least you and your spouse are on the same page. The Bible has been such an awesome source for wisdom and answers for my husband and I. We may not always go to church together, but we often have conversations about different stories in the Bible and discuss scriptures. You can certainly benefit from a Bible study or even a marriage ministry. Or just make it a point to join in prayer together.
Usually a counselor also acts as a mediator. Communication is so important in a marriage, and there are times when that breaks down. Don’t want to go to counseling? Fine. But talk it out. Arguing can be uncomfortable but it can also be healthy. Don’t attack your husband or wife and don’t cut them off. Each person should have time to talk, and time to listen. You can be your own counselors if you both are committed to working through your problems.
I think counseling is still an amazing option for engaged and married couples. But I also understand that there are people who are uneasy telling someone else their problems. What are other alternatives to improve your marriage when your spouse just won’t go?