I see it too often. A year after the 20k wedding and 5k honeymoon, the couple is already severed and talking through attorneys because they do not know how to communicate and forgive. Marital dissolution is like the tearing of flesh. And, unfortunately, it is not just the couple working through the heaviness and hardship. Children, parents, friends, neighbors – just about everyone connected with the estranged partners – are hurt when the marriage becomes tattered and twisted. Could all of this have been avoided? Perhaps.
My first question is this: Did you all receive premarital counseling before opting for post-marital advice? Good premarital counseling will afford a couple with the tools they need to practice forgiveness throughout the lifetime of the marriage.
The power of transparency
Transparency is a key component of forgiveness in a marriage. It is not always easy to talk about our family of origin. It does not always feel good to talk about previous relationships if they rendered us scarred and scared. Who among us likes being vulnerable with a credentialed person we have never met before?
Premarital counseling, if done well, will take us out of our comfort areas for a few hours. Why? Putting the bad stuff on the table and dealing with it before it shows up announced and trashes the marriage is not such a bad thing. Premarital counselors insist on honesty & your marriage – if it is going to be a healthy one – will demand honesty!
Premarital counselors will help you develop the tools you will need to practice forgiveness. Active listening, “I statements,” and atonement are among the assortment of tools premarital counseling brings to the future bond.
Walk together or walk apart
Sometimes two individuals have no business being together for a long-term partnership. If the relationship was forged through the fire of intimacy, the couple may be running on endorphins instead of a mutually shared commitment.
If addiction and infidelity are issues before the marriage license has been signed, then what’s the value in perpetuating an unhealthy cycle? Premarital counseling, when effective, forces us to ask the difficult questions about the relationship and its future before the rings are exchanged and the vows are sealed by holy invocation. There are many cases in which the couple, prior to the marriage or not long into it, agree to forgive one another but move in a different directions later on.
Do not step into a marriage without premarital counseling. Your life, the life of your partner, and your potential life together should all be honored and respected at all times. So, be willing to risk some transparency. Trust a professional to help you through this important process.