(Photo by Lindsay O’Neil)
So You’re Engaged…What Now?
By Kyle Jane Heskett
“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding…”
– Proverbs 3:13 (NIV)
Cinderella finally gets her Prince Charming. Snow White finds happiness after marrying her prince. Doesn’t marriage seem perfect? Then why do so many marriages end in divorce? With all the media, romance novels, and people we know making it seem like marriage is the ultimate dream, we can easily forget that it is not the end of the story. It is the beginning of something new. And this new adventure is wonderful, but it can also be tricky. There are so many great ways to prepare for marriage but one of the best ways is pre-marital counseling.
My husband and I did pre-marital counseling and we are so thankful we did. Counseling is not just for couples who already have problems. Pre-marital counseling is powerful because it can either prevent several problems from occurring in the first place or provide wisdom in dealing with issues that do happen. The pre-marital counseling my husband and I took part in helped in two main ways I want to share with you.
The first way was that it gave us a realistic view of what marriage is and what God created it to be. Yes, it can be romantic, fun, and blissful, but it takes work. Hard work. We learned that there is no perfect marriage, no real way it should look like except what the Bible says about it. All other opinions and viewpoints have to be filtered through the Word of God. God created marriage for His glory. Marriage is a reflection of God’s devotion to His Church. Once a couple appreciates its deeper meaning, there is more appreciation for one’s spouse. Biblical pre-marital counseling opened our eyes to the challenge of marriage because of our sinful nature. But it also opened our eyes to the hope of God and the joy He can bring to any marriage. We realized that God has to be at the center of our marriage in order to experience all of His blessings and to be able to get through difficult times.
The second way pre-marital counseling helped, is that it gave us the tools and wisdom to deal with conflict. In between the intimacy and laughter, there are times of anger, pain, and tears. God lays out the perfect blueprint for marriage in Ephesians 5. We learned what it means for husbands to love their wives and for wives to respect their husbands. Pre-marital counseling not only showed us what to do, but how to do it. It gives husbands and wives the examples and tools to respond lovingly to a situation. Of course, there are moments where the flesh takes over and couples respond out of pride or impatience, but that is why it is important to learn how to forgive and keep loving.
Pre-marital counseling is not a guarantee of perfection or happiness but out of it comes great understanding and wisdom. Although you may never feel completely ready for such a big step, there is blessing that comes from seeking the Lord. Open yourself up to the possibility of more love, understanding, and hope with your prince charming.