Patrick and I just finished up our last marriage preparation class this past weekend. To be married in our church we are required to take 2, 8 hour classes and meet with a married couple from the congregation. I think this is probably one of the most important things you can do as an engaged couple to prepare for your wedding. After all, its about the union of two people before God, family and friends and the state. You are promising to all of those people that you will be true to each other, in sickness and in health, good times and bad, as long as you both live. I mean, that’s kind of a big deal. However, today I feel like some people don’t take it as seriously as they should, or are not really prepared for the long road ahead- aka the rest of their life.
Obviously I’m not married yet, so I cant give you any advice or examples from a married persons perspective. But I can give you the perspective of a person who is 125 days away from promising those things to another person in front of the most important people in her life. With the divorce rate at over 50% in the United States today, I can only hope that people really stop and consider these factors before they say “I Do.” Here are my five reasons I think all engaged couples should take a marriage preparation class while engaged.
1 ::| Opportunity
Taking a marriage prep class gives you the opportunity to learn more about your significant other. It brings up topics and questions that you might not have ever discussed or even thought were important things to know about each other. It helps each person share their views on different subjects and topics in a very laid back and focused setting. You don’t really have a way to avoid the questions or leave the room because you are there for the whole day. It gives you distraction free time to learn and listen to your partner.
Taking a marriage prep class helps you plan for your future. For example, do you really know how many children your partner wants to have if any at all? Do you know how you will want to organize your finances? Do you know where you want to settle down and plant roots or do you want to move every 2 years to a new city? Taking these classes gives you an idea of what your partner wants compared to what you want. It helps you plan for your future together so you are on the same page. Obviously I know every couple will not always be on the same page and you can not predict the future, but I think it gives you a leg up on other couples who never even discuss these issues that could arise.
3::| An idea of reality
At the marriage prep classes we took we got to hear from real life couples who have gone through real life marriage issues. They spoke about how not every day is unicorns and rainbows. There are definitely going to be hard times, but they helped describe how they overcame those hard times. A lot of people don’t like to show they are struggling with their marriage and hide their unhappiness. I think that getting to listen to people who have gone through hard times and persevered is a great thing. I feel like when you are engaged you are usually on top of the world. You can sometimes get wrapped up in the excitement of planning a wedding and all that comes with the engagement that you don’t actually stop and discuss some really important things. But hearing from real life couples gives you an idea of the reality that marriage can be.
Good communication in a relationship is usually a huge factor to its success. If you are able to communicate properly to your partner your wants, needs, hopes and dreams and they are able to be receptive to them you will probably avert many distresses that others who can not communicate properly run into. Marriage prep is a great way to communicate certain things with your partner that you might not otherwise have the opportunity or thought to do. It brings up many great topics and real life situations that not everyone can for see when they are engaged. My thought is, why not prevent a stressful or disastrous situation before it occurs if you have the chance?
5::| Don’t repeat history
I think this is the biggest kicker for me. I grew up in a home where my parents divorced when I was 11. I would say that it was extremely difficult on me as a child, but yet it has shaped the person I am today tremendously. Studies have shown that people with divorced parents are at greater risk for divorce. I will not be part of that statistic. I feel that my parents divorcing has shown me that divorce is just not an option. I would never want to go through something like that nor have my future children experience something like that. I think that marriage prep is a great thing for someone like me, who comes from a home with divorced parents and hasn’t always been raised in an environment of a healthy marriage. There are so many things things these days that are working against you, why not try to be prepared and ready to defeat them.
So that’s my two cents about marriage preparation. I hope that if you ever take anything away from my blog about wedding planning it is that I strongly recommend taking a class. If not for yourselves, for the sake of your partner and your relationship. After all the pretty dresses, and decorations and dancing is over …