Post # 1
FI and I are looking to do pre-marital counseling since we feel that we need to really go in depth with what we expect from each other in marriage and for our future together.
We can’t really afford to go to an actual counselor (unless I can find one through my EAP at work but it would only be 3 free sessions) so I was thinking of buying a few books on the subject. We would rather not have the main subject of the book be about God as we are both agnostic and really do not believe that God is the reason we are together. We’d like the counseling to surround the theme that we have chosen to be together and will do anything to keep our relationship going strong, rather than the theme that we are together because God wills it.
Any suggestions on secular books in this gengre that you found helpful? Or even websites that have workbook pages?
*Also, I wasn’t sure where this topic should be posted so I just picked Secular. Feel free to flag it to be moved if you feel it is in an inappropriate spot.
Post # 4
@BlueBelle0927: I would recomend these.
You Can Be Right or You Can Be Married: Love-Based Solutions for Couples. By Brett R. Williams.
Trading Places: The Best Move You’ll Ever Make in Your Marriage. By:Les Parrott III
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. By: John M. Gottman
Post # 6
@Sweetescape1976: Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll definitely try those 🙂
Post # 7
@BlueBelle0927: I’m having the same problem as you, except that we are definitely atheists, lol. I’m sorry I don’t actually have books to offer yet, I hope you don’t mind if I share my experience and stick around to see others’ suggestions.
One of my best friends recently got married, and she and her FI did go to counselling at an Anglican church, despite being non-religious. (I mention that it’s Anglican specifically because my friend insistes that this denomination is particularly “secular,” I have no idea if this is true). She had only good things to say about it to me, and strongly reccomended the experience. She said that it was extremely practical discussions and advice with hardly any mention of god/religion ata all. I think I would be okay with that… FI and I are super poor students so there’s no way we are affording any other type of counselling :/
So for that reason we are actually seriously considering getting counselling with an Anglican church. I just have to figure out if I can resolve my conflicted feelings enough to go through with it!
Post # 8
@MrsSnowMountain: I don’t mind you sharing your experiences!
While I am okay with some mention of God, I really do not want to have the responses to questions answered with religous or “God’s love will help you through”. I am pretty close to Atheist but FI is less so. However, we both agree that we are in this relationship because we choose to be and we choose to put as much work into it as needed for it to be successful.
I would be wary (personally) about going to counseling at any church as the connotation of a church is a place of worship. I think that even if it was non-denominational (like Universalists Unitarian) there will still be mention of God’s influence in the marriage. I’d just rather not have that.
What I’d really love is if we had a couple in our lives that could serve as role models for us in marriage. Both of our mothers are passed so our parents can’t serve that role for us.
Post # 9
@BlueBelle0927: I absolutely agree with your first paragraph! That’s exactly how I feel. (I considered Unitarian too, lol). We are looking for advice about very concrete things we can do to maintain the health of our relationship.
I’m so sorry about your mothers! 🙁 Best of luck to you both. If I were you I would at least do those three sessions covered by your work, they might be able to point you to further resources so you can keep going on your own.
Post # 10
@MrsSnowMountain: Yes, I will definitely be looking into the sessions through my work benefits.
Thank you for your well wishes. Best of luck to you and your FI as well! I never realized how hard it would be to find resources for those of us that are skeptical or non-believers.
Post # 11
SO and I are reading “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts”. It’s pretty damn good. There are also accompanying workbooks (one for men & one for women). The idea is that you read the chapters, work on your individual workbooks and then discuss.
Post # 12
I hear the five love languages is a good read…
Post # 13
@MexiPino: Thanks! I’ll look into that one too. I like the idea of each having our own workbooks and working on the pages separately, then coming back together. FI usually needs to process things alone before having to answer so the question/response type of book without time for each individual to process their answer would overwhelm him.
@Kabira1208: I have this book and while I like the idea of Love Languages and actually think that it is a good way of approaching things for FI and I, Chapman brings God into it a lot. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a worthwhile book for those who believe in God and his gudance in a marriage.
Post # 14
- Wedding: July 2013 - The front lawn of our church
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
His Needs Her Needs by Willard Harley Jr.
Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts by Parrott
My FI and I read these books and they were incredibly helpful! They opened our eyes to learning what eachother needs in a relationship. Absolutely amazing how insightful and right on they both were! I think that His Needs Her Needs might mention God, but it definitely focuses on your relationship.
ETA: Sorry, just saw that you didn’t really like the five love languages lol. Still a lot of good points in it:)
Post # 15
@BlueBelle0927: Yeah, my SO is the same way. It’s good to be able to really reflect on it yourself. The plan is to do a chapter a week and discuss on date night.
Post # 16
I’m not a fan of these types of things, but our officiants recommend the Five Love Languages. Bonus: you can take the test for free on the website. I see you said that you didn’t like it, but we’re both Agnostic and not once is God mentioned in the quiz or the results. Then again, I never read the book.