Post # 1
So, our pastor is really not doing any kind of formal counseling or even making us go to any type of retreat or anything before the wedding! I’m kind of annoyed with this because we were looking forward to some relatinship building and marriage prep beforehand. What are you all doing for this?
We want to have a Christian counselor and attend some sort of class or seminar or retreat or SOMETHING.
Post # 3
Our officiant took us through this program called Prepare/Enrich. There is a place on there to find a facilitator for you to do this through. It is a great program and shows you your strengths and weaknesses as a couple.
Post # 4
We also did the Prepare/Enrich program. It was pretty fascinating, but a lot of it we already knew!
Post # 5
Is this a Christian based program?
Anyone know of any good Christian programs?
Post # 6
We’re getting married in the Catholic church and the archdiocese has a marriage prep program for all couples wishing to be married in the church. Have you asked your pastor if your specific denomination has any programs/retreats? If you do something independently of your church, it may cost you a quite a bit (maybe around $400 or so for a couple’s weekend retreat). If your pastor has no ideas, do a search for marriage preparation retreats and you should find some in your area. This is sad that your pastor isn’t better helping you! We also took a compatibility test called the FOCCUS, but it may be only Catholic oriented. Ask your pastor about this too.
Post # 7
We’re baptist and our Pastor is having us work through a book called Before You Say I Do:
We do about a chapter a week and then we’ll meet with with our Pastor again to discuss it. We’ll meet a total of 5 or 6 times before our wedding but you could very easily do this without a pastor’s guidance. He also recommended we read: The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. I already owned the book but had never read it until now. It’s a very good book and I very highly recommend it.
He also recommended a book called: His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley. Haven’t read this one yet but I trust his recommendations.
My FI’s sister is also getting married this year and they are working with their pastor as well as with an older couple that has been married for 25+ years and has raised kids. I would maybe see if there’s a couple you admire in your church that has been married for awhile and seen the ups and downs and then maybe ask if they would feel comfortable meeting with you a few times to disciple you.
I completely understand you wanted some type of counseling before marriage. We did too and we are so lucky to have an awesome pastor who is doing this for us!
Post # 8
@jennybirdy, it really is disappointing that our pastor isn’t more involved in helping us. My parents church (which is Methodist, but we really just want Christian counseling in general) switched pastors last year so I don’t know him very well. But it seems that he just kind of wants to marry us and that’s that. Very strange.
My Fiance and I even did some pre-marriage/pre-engagement books before we were engaged and we really loved it.
@eeh2010 We are starting the Five Love Languages soon. How do you like “Before You Say I Do”? I think we will do some searching around in our area for some counseling services or retreats.
We just think it is so enriching as a couple and want to go into the marriage with as much preparation as possible!
Anyone else have other suggestions? I’d love to see what other programs people have done/are doing and how you like them!
Post # 9
I second the love languages! AND I second “Before you say I do” – we have that one too 🙂 (I bought it from the bookstore, though, we’re not going through it with our pastor). I like it, it’s *really* thorough, and I really liked how it focussed on the bible and God, and wasn’t full of secular advice masquerading as a Christian book.
We’re doing the alpha pre-marriage course with our pastor. It’s only four or five sessions but it’s good. Not quite as thorough as “Before you say I do”, but I don’t really want to get into super personal discussions with fi unless we’re alone anyway 🙂
Post # 10
We love it. It covers everything, even things you think you’ve already talked about and decided. It’s a good way to address important topics that may or may not be touchy subjects. It does it in a very loving, Godly way. It has helped each of us grow individually as well as grow as a couple. The chapters include:
What is Marriage, Uniqueness and Acceptance in Marriage, Love As a Basis for Marriage, What Do You Expect from Marriage, A Vision Statement, Fulfilling Needs in Marriage, Roles Responsibilities and Decison Making, In-Laws or Outlaws-It’s Your Choice, Communication, Conflict, Finances, Sex in Marriage, Your Spiritiual Life Together, and Planning Your Wedding Together.
I would suggest going to a big bookstore to see if they have it. Then you could look through it and see if it’s something you’d be interested in. Maybe sit and read through the first couple of pages together. My finance is VERY antsy and doesn’t read much but he even reads this with me. He calls it our love book. It’s been really, really great for us and has helped us remember the REAL reason for our wedding and it helps us step back from all the stressful wedding planning and refocus our relationship. Good luck!
Post # 11
Oh and Miss Velvetine: I hear ya on the personal discussion thing! Luckily our pastor is awesome and doesn’t make us go into all of those discussions with him. Just encourages us to make sure we have them with each other and talk about everything we need to talk about. I was a little uneasy about that at first but he put us both at ease. 😀
Post # 12
My OH and I are long distance until 3 months before the wedding, and both our churches are running their annual marriage prep courses NOW! AARRGGHH It’s really stressing me as I want to do marriage prep in our home church, but I want to do it BEFORE we marry, not after as newlyweds although church don’t seem to have a problem with that at all!
Post # 13
We’re doing pre-marital counseling with our pastor who isn’t doing a workbook or book with us. We’ve had our first session where we narrowed down different items about who we are as individuals and as a couple for them to know what direction our pre-marital counseling will go. I think that is actually better because different couples have different backgrounds and issues they need to work through. I did get recommendations from other friends who did pre-marital counseling that said these two books were amazing.
The first one is more in depth and takes forever. The second one is more general. 🙂
Post # 14
As a couples therapist who’d seen married couples at the end of their ropes, I can’t stress enough the importance of getting some type of premarital education – whether it’s religious, non-religious, workshop, class, book or online resources.
There have been some great suggestions so far (Prepare/Enrich for one) but I’d like to throw in a few other ideas.
There’s a weekend workshop in San Francisco called MarriagePrep101 by a husband / wife team (both psychologists). If this is out of your budget you can try The Premarital Counseling Workbook for Couples, an e-workbook by me with worksheets for couples to do separately then come together to discuss. If you’d like a totally free option, there’s a very comprehensive website covering this topic called http://www.TheFirstDance.com.
Give your marriage the best chance of weathering life’s storms – that do come up! Your marriage will be that much stronger if you work on aspects around strengthening it’s foundation. The way you get the information is less important than just getting the information!
Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT
Post # 15
Love languages is great!
We are using my fiance’s Christian couselor who does marriage counseling. We will do premarital and then continuing counseling through out the first year of marriage.
I cannot wait to find out the great (and not so great) things about each other.
I would ask people in your church (sepcifically young married couples) and talk to your Christian married friends and see who they went to and who they recommend in your area.
Post # 16
We have an almost compulsory pre marital course at my church, but besides that we are doing our own reading. we read Gary Chapman’s five love languages and i am looking for sheet music. we will practically pounce on all the info we can put our hands on. however we take up what we might consider relevent to us and leave the rest