Premarital Counseling and Why You Should Do It

Me: Show me Your Mumu Dress | Brown Wedge Sandals | Kendra Scott Earrings and Cuff Bracelet

Nick: Blue Shirt | White Jeans | Sperry Topsiders

Let's just dive right in...I normally give somewhat of an intro, because that's what writing is "supposed" to be like. I typically write this way, buuuut in work and often time in discussions, I'm straight and to the point. (to the point, no faking. Vanilla Ice anyone?) Soooo here we go! This post is actually 24 hours late. Nick surprised me with dinner reservations at Hattie's last night (one of our favorite spots in Bishop Arts). I didn't want to lose sleep over this blog post, so I just went to bed! It is one of my NY resolutions to worry and stress less and my blog is something I stress over. YAY 2 full-time jobs!!

I almost deleted the first couple of photos on this post, because they were too bright/sunny; however, if you look at them as a whole, you actually experience the sun setting without actually being there with us. By the end of the photo section you get to witness the beauty of the sunset, which was WAY worth the sunny, awkward brightness. Do you see where I'm going with this?; ) Sometimes uncomfortable situations occur, but they can lead to pretty endings!

One of the things Nick and I were adamant about doing before we got married was pre-marital counseling. Whether you're thinking about it or not,  DO IT. Yes, some subjects aren't necessarily fun, but they are essential to discuss before marriage. We did a class offered in Dallas called Merge. (It is based on Christian principles, but you do not have to be a Christian or member of Watermark to attend) If you are in the DFW area, I would look into it! (side note: some people do this pre-engagement! So, don't feel weird if that is what you want to. Nick and I did it after we were engaged.) It is an 8 week class that covers a different topic each week - anywhere from should you combine your bank accounts and discussing debt, to how to address your in-laws. I wanted go over my favorite topic to give you a little insight in what it is like. 

Both mine and Nick's favorite / most applicable section for our relationship was the chapter on communication...particularly bad communication. The way that Merge worked is that there was a "message" on the topic, then small group time, then homework applying what you learned. (you meet in a large group, but are sitting at smaller tables, which is your small group). They presented 4 types of negative communication, then we discussed what we each tended to turn to. For example, I am very much a withdrawal or avoidance person. Not sure what you are? Read the descriptions below!

1) Escalation - This occurs when the person responds back and forth negatively, in a hostile way, that continually increases.

2) Withdrawal or Avoidance - This occurs when the person leaves the conversation, whether it is mentally or physically. It can be as noticeable as getting up and leaving a room or as subtle as stopping correspondence. This person tends to look away in an argument or agree quickly just to finish the fight faster.

3) Invalidation - This occurs when the person discounts the other person's opinion and considers it irrelevant. It can also happen when the person puts down the other's thoughts to make theirs seem better. This can be done in a direct, name-calling fashion or passive aggressively. 

4) Negative Interpretation - This occurs when the person dramatizes or takes out of context what the other person said. This is probably the trickiest to deal with because it's hard to speak logic into someone who turns your words into worse, simply because they believe you meant them harm.

Okay so which are you?! The fact that we discussed it, allows us to be able to know what is going on when we are having a disagreement. You can't get mad at someone for saying (in a calm voice) "hey babe. you're escalating." Right? I mean once you learn what they are and identify what you are prone to, you can't unlearn it...you know the other person is right. The argument may not be over, but perhaps it will be shorter and occur in a better manner than it would have otherwise! Now, just because Nick and I know these principals, it doesn't mean our communication is perfect. It's not. I just withdrew from an argument on Sunday as we were trying to walk out the door to church. It wasn't pretty to say the least. BUT we have an understanding with each other that does make it better.

This was our favorite topic, because every relationship can always get better at communicating! We were able to quickly apply this to our relationship and see results. This was just one of the beneficial topics that we covered during our pre-marital counseling. I cannot stress enough how important it is for any couple considering marriage. I have recommended it to couples who have dated since high school (and are in their early to mid twenties now) and they still loved it and learned something from it!

As an added bonus, at least in my state, there is a program called Twogether in Texas premarital counseling is something it encourages, because it increases marriage length. For couples who do premarital counseling, they qualify to get a discount on their marriage license. Merge qualifies for this benefit.

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