written by Glenna Tooman,
ForeverWed staff expert & Sara L. Ambarian,
ForeverWed staff expert and Newsletter editor
You're in love, you've asked for her hand or
said "yes" to him, you've set or are
contemplating a date, you're reading all the
wedding magazines and websites, and you're
starting to make specific wedding plans... but
have you given any thought to what happens AFTER
wedding? Have you made any plans or done any
research about how to have a long, happy and
Many couples think that they know each other
well enough that they don't need counseling.
Some are right, but unfortunately others are
not. There are
a number of common alternatives to accommodate
the different needs, relationships and
backgrounds of couples. In secular
(non-religious) circles, the decision to pursue
pre-marital advice and/or training is generally
a personal choice. In some religions, however,
have specific pre-marital requirements.
For example, Catholic churches require
pre-marital counseling. If both the bride and
groom are Catholic, they go through what is
called a pre-Cana. It amounts to up to 4 months
of preparation for marriage classes. If either
the bride or groom is not Catholic, the couple
must attend a week-end engagement encounter. It
is like a retreat where the couple attends group
sessions, then has time alone as a couple to
work through assignments and also personal
time alone to do some assignments.
Some protestant ministers also require
counseling before they will marry a couple. The
average is about 4 meetings. Other engaged
Christian couples take advantage of week-end
Family Life Conferences, sponsored by a branch
of Campus Crusade for Christ.
Some couples who feel the need for some type of
counseling don't want to receive counseling
from a minister. For these couples, there are
self-help books available that couples can work
through on their own. They may also be able to
find a secular counselor
that will help them, but often for a higher fee
than church-related services would cost.
Even if you choose not to pursue pre-marital
counseling or other formal training, do try to
take time during your engagement to share with
your future spouse about your dreams,
expectations, and concerns. Good
communication is key to happy marriage!
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