When I was in college, a favorite professor once shared his secret to premarital counseling. He had counseled many couples over his tenure, so I was excited to hear how he approached it.
“I just try to break the couple up,” he said, smiling.
I gave him a puzzled look. “Wait, you do what?”
He explained that his goal was to let the couple feel all the pressures and challenges of marriage. If these pressures were too much during the engagement, they likely would only get harder in marriage.
Counseling For The Pre-Engaged
For years, couples on the road to marriage have been encouraged to seek the counsel of a pastor, professor or wise couple as they prepare for marriage, but I wonder if this is really the best plan.
I believe that many couples considering marriage counseling during engagement might be too late. Some of the issues that come up in premarital counseling would be better discussed and considered before engagement. I wonder if many couples should seek wise counsel before they make the decision to get engaged.
The Pressures Of Engagement
Engagement is a time of increased pressures. Planning a wedding and preparing to transition from single life to married life can be stressful on its own. It’s not the time to figure out if marriage is really the right move. Too many couples see engagement as a time where you can still decide not to marry.
One of the purposes of good counseling is to help the couple identify and respond to any reasons they might not want to move forward. But many couples get so far into the wedding planning, they feel pressure to move forward merely because of all the time and money they’ve already invested.
Moving Forward With Confidence
I think engagement is better if a 100% commitment to each other is firmly in place. An engaged couple should have already worked through all of the reasons they might want to the rethink the match and decided together to move forward. If a couple is going to decide not to get married, the sooner they make that decision, the better.
My professor was right to try and break couples up. If marriage is not a good choice for a couple, it’s loving to help them realize it as soon as possible. Breaking up is never easy, but it is better to decide to stop dating than to call off an engagement, cancel a wedding or even one day get a divorce.
So if you are dating someone seriously, consider seeking some pre-engagement counseling. Be sure to discuss any reasons you might not want to get married before you make the decision to get engaged.
You may also be interested in Important Questions To Ask When Preparing For Marriage