Post # 1
My fiancé and I have to do the Prepare Enrich program. We took our tests last week and I guess they are being graded to see how we match up now. Our pastor says it will be 7 individual hour long sessions. I am very nervous and scared. I am a very private person and the idea of talking about deeply personal issues with anyone outside my fiancé and family and close friends is nerve wracking and furthermore I think personally, that you should not air all your dirty laundry like I am sure we will be doing with the amount of time he wants to spend with us. I was in an abusive marriage before this and I know that that will come up. I have dealt with those issues, they are behind me, and fiance knows al the details but it is not something I enjoy rehashing. I am just worried this will cause conflict between my fiancé and I or even worse the pastor will say we shouldn’t get married.
Post # 2
You don’t have to tell anyone anything that you don’t want to. I don’t care who it is.
And who cares if the pastor says you shouldn’t get married? He can’t stop you right? (Legit asking cause i’m not religious and the thought of some random dude telling me i’m not allowed to get married seems bizarre)
Post # 3
Where does your fiance stand on this?
First of all, you don’t HAVE to do this. No one can force you. And no one can stop you from getting married.
Premarital counseling should be beneficial and helpful to your relationship. It is not supposed to be an interrogation. If he brings up something you’re uncomfortable with, say you aren’t going to discuss it. You have that right.
If your pastor makes you uncomfortable, please just leave. Get married somewhere else.
Post # 4
I don’t think the purpose of the tests is to figure out if you are allowed to get married or not. It’s to find potential issues and work on them so that you CAN get married and have a good marriage.
Post # 5
He thinks it may be beneficial. He has gone to this church for a long time and is friends with the pastor, the pastor is a younger guy, early 40s. My fiancée says he is very easy to talk to, but he is a much more open person to the world than I am so it doesn’t bother him like it does me to discuss my personal life with others outside my core group. He wants me to become closer to our pastor and feels this is a good way to start that dialogue between him and I.
Post # 6
Premarital counseling isn’t about digging into your private life and airing out all your dirty laundry. A lot of it is about making sure you have good communication skills and are on the same page about big life stuff (kids, finances, what you expect out of a partner, etc.).
Its also not about looking for a reason you shouldn’t get married. If there are worries the pastor should give you strategies for strengthening your relationship in those areas, not tell you not to get married.
I think you might benefit from simply asking the pastor what to expect from these sessions.
Post # 7
Prepare and Enriched is an assessment simply designed to help you think about and highlight areas where you and your future husband already think alike, and highlight areas where you may need to use more communication. It is not in any way a “pass-fail”!!
As a pre-marital counselor myself, I once had a mentor tell me that 99% of marriage counseling is simply helping people anticipate problems and learn good ways of encountering them; only in 1% of cases does someone ever advise a couple to not get married — that’s pretty extreme (but does happen — aka: one person absolutely wants kids, the other doesnt…. there are red flag abuse issues…. unwilling to compromise on the little things, never mind the big things…).
One example I like to use is birthdays — how was your birthday celebrated when you were young, and how do you appreciate being celebrated now? How about him?
If he grew up never having anything more than a card and a piece of cake at Sunday dinner for bdays and thinks that how it should be for everyone, and you grew up having “birthday month” and enjoy having someone throw you a big party every year, you might really have to communicate about the expectations around that, so that no one ends up really hurt. …Prepare and Enrich helps you do that…
Now, if in the midst of that conversation you work to compromise and express how you don’t need a big party every year, but it would mean alot to you for your husband to throw you a birthday dinner at least on the “big” bdays (decades), and he says “tough luck, I don’t do that, you get a card and that’s it”….. that might end up in the “let’s really think about what type of marriage you’re looking at” zone. Not bc a birthday party is that big of a deal… but bc of the unwillingness to be loving and supportive toward the spouse in a way that he or she would feel it.
Does that make sense?
Please don’t be scared! This is just a time of anticipating together what married life will bring! 🙂
Post # 8
We definitely agree on the big things and have discussed those. I guess I am worried bc I don’t know what we are going to talk about.
For those who have done this what was asked? This Prepare Enrich program assigns you a couple type too, I was reading about them and the one is conflicted and apparently correlated with a high incidence of divorce! That is definitely not something we consider an option going into our marriage and I am scared to death it will say that what it will categorize us as even though i think we get along great.
Post # 9
That is helpful, thank you 🙂
We have very similar upbringings and our families are very similar in how they interact and treat one another, how they do holidays and celebrations, etc
Post # 10
As PP’s have said, premarital counseling isn’t about digging into your personal life or finding reasons that you shouldn’t get married. It’s more about making sure you have discussed the big things, are on the same page for those big things, have good communication skills, understand each other’s expectations, and providing tools that can be used in any weak areas.
When H and I did ours, neither the priest nor the couples we talked to asked us specifics. They didn’t ask us exactly how to split up our finances or how many kids we wanted or how we planned to handle issues with in-laws. It was more just checking in to make sure we had talked about it and were on the same page. And if for some reason we weren’t, they were available to offer guidance and advice.
We also talked about things like love languages, how to fight, and common pitfalls/issues that can arise in a marriage. We weren’t asked how we fight or what we fight about, just given tools on how to fight fairly and correctly.
Basically, I don’t think you should be scared or nervous. If there’s something you don’t want to talk about, no one should force you. It might also help to make a list of topics you would like to talk about. Then if someone brings up a topic you feel uncomfortable talking about you can say, “I don’t feel comfortable getting into details about my past relationship, but one of the problems was name calling during fights, do you have any tips or advice on how to make sure Fiance and I fight in a healthy way?” Even if you don’t feel you need advice on a certain topic, it doesn’t hurt to take advantage of these sessions and get someone else’s point of view.
Post # 11
My fiancee and I are also doing the prepare enrich program through church. I’m not very religious, and he identifies as agnostic, so we were a little unsure going into it as well. It has been a lot of fun actually and we are really enjoying it. There’s no airing of dirty laundry or anything like that, at least in our experience. Mostly it’s just learning communication skills, that actually I think is helpful to more that just our marriage. While the online questionnaire seemed pretty personal, the classes have all been very on the surface, and no answers we gave on that form are ever shared. We get bar graph print outs showing trends but no actual answers. I think you guys will have a good time and find it to be worthwhile!