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  1. #1
    OPM Queen Kristin Kinsey's Avatar
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    What to Expect from Premarital Counseling??
    Okay, it's getting closer to September 22nd (the official date). The church is booked, my dress is being made as we speak, the bridesmaid dresses are about 2 weeks away from being here, the reception hall is booked, the caterer is booked. Now it is coming down to the counseling time.

    Because we are getting married in Derrick's old church in his hometown we have to go through pre-marital counseling, and the wee strange part is that the preacher is 1) also named Derek, and 2) grew up and went to school with my Derrick. So he already knows Derrick a bit more intimately than most preachers would .. if that makes sense.

    Well anyway, I know there are a bunch of married folks here at ABW, and I am assuming (hoping) that some of you went through pre-marital counseling, and can help me with what to expect??
    KK

  2. #2
    Affiliate Network Rep Kim Salvino's Avatar
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    My counseling consisted of taking a really long, 200+ question test. We each took the test separately and then met with the pastor two weeks later. They gave us our individual responses and then a comparative analysis.

    We then talked about each section of the test on a weekly basis, to make sure we were both going into it with the same expectations, etc. I didn't learn anything new about him by going through this exercise, but it was a requirement to get married at the church, so we did it.

    Good luck to you!
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  3. #3
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    Don't sweat it! Just keep it light. Just keep your mouth shut and listen. They are just trying to help.

    Pre-marriage counseling is harmless. Just take all the advice with a grain of salt and it'll all be over before you know it.

    Best Wishes!

  4. #4
    OPM Queen Kristin Kinsey's Avatar
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    We have to have 2 2-3 hour sessions. It is normally 3 1-2 hour sessions but since we live 5 hours away we only have to make the trip twice for that.
    KK

  5. #5
    CPA Network Rep Joe Lilly's Avatar
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    Although Stephanie and I aren't getting married in a church, my ol' man is what I'd call "extremely Catholic" and sent us an online version of the test that is described above. I'll try to dig up the URL and post it here.
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  6. #6
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    Whatever happens, the man is always right. Remember that and your marriage will be as successful as mine....was....well....ummm....OK, maybe this is not my topic to offer advice on

    Seriously, I am sure the sessions will be helpful. I would try to go in with an open mind.

  7. #7
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    I've got to think back around 15 years. I recall the priest making sure we spoke about what he considered key issues - Church, children, finances and the importance of communication.
    Will we have children & about how many did we want. Who would stay home if needed, what type of school did we plan on sending them to. What religion would we raise our children in. Would we attend church on regular basis and what role we saw the church to have in our relationship. How would we handle finances - seperate, jointly or both. Also spoke about the importance of respecting each other and honoring the marriage; the importance of both of us as a couple and as individuals.

    We never did a questionaire but had sit down meetings. The emphasis was on making sure we could communicate freely with one another and had done so. Also that marriage is a union of two lives not absorption of one into another.

    Sounds like wedding plans are going smoothly. Exciting time!!
    Melanie
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  8. #8
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    was >21 years ago when i had the "sit down" with the pastor...
    i think the pastor got divorced about 16 years ago now...
    funny, but point is...
    remember this...
    this is about what you want in life.

    i hope (and would bet) the pastor asks questions framed to make you think about your feelings... to help you focus on your decision... to make you pause and consider life after the big day, gowns, hall and party have passed...

    because the pastor is trusted and private and serves no real alterior motives concerning "who" you are marrying... the pastor visit is like stepping into the elevator by yourself... he's not there to get you to yes... or to no... he will try to evoke your own inner voice, getting you to look inside yourself for the things that guide you... getting you to both ask, and aim, your own questions of yourself.

    when you come through that process (it lasts a few days beyond the actual visit), it won't be dreamy or automatically perfectly clear forever, but you will have looked as deep as you need ever look inside yourself to see if your path is the one you're meant to be on.

    if you find confirmation within yourself, then contentment with your decision, and even a new vigor about its righteousness, will follow. As an added bennie, that vigor will get you both pretty darn horny too.

    so have a nice visit with the pastor, K. and let us know how it goes in the days that follow.

    :-)

  9. #9
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    through pre-marital counseling, and can help me with what to expect??
    I can tell you for sure that it's unsure what you will hear. Even within one denomination it's all over the place. We are Catholic here and the stories really vary.

    Quite a few of our friends are evolved in a couple to couple approach and theirs last for several weeks with an organized curriculum. The priests being unmarried like that kind of help.

    I think most places it's a formality. I can't even remember what we did back in 1969. We were getting married out of town like you, and it seem like it was only a brief talk by the priest who went on to really do big things for the poor.

    Try to be early for the wedding. My wife caused ours to start 10 minutes late and after 38 years I'm almost ready to forgive her.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador JudiMoore's Avatar
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    key issues - Church, children, finances and the importance of communication.
    Will we have children & about how many did we want. Who would stay home if needed, what type of school did we plan on sending them to. What religion would we raise our children in. Would we attend church on regular basis and what role we saw the church to have in our relationship. How would we handle finances - seperate, jointly or both. Also spoke about the importance of respecting each other and honoring the marriage; the importance of both of us as a couple and as individuals.
    I also really like what Donuts said. I can't help but be a little irreverant here, it's who I am. Dave and I were just this morning meeting with the retirement counselor and he asked if we had any wills, trusts, directives, prenuptuals, etc.

    We shared with him our only prenup, which was this: "Whoever decides to leave has to take all the kids AND the dog. No exceptions."

  11. #11
    OPM Queen Kristin Kinsey's Avatar
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    Thanks Joe! I hope we don't have to do a test. I tend to freeze .. lol

    Mellie, I think this will be interesting since we have managed to do everything backwards, lol.

    Donuts, you words of ancient wisedom are poetic as always .. lol I will let you how it goes ..unless what you said is true ...

    Jmoore, that sounds like a plan, but I will take B
    KK

  12. #12
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    We could give you great marriage advice right here Kristin! ;-)

    Respect is the key ingredient in a successful marriage, IMO. Being kind and good to each other equally important. Not to be shmaltzy, but I would highly recommend reading Dr. Laura's books, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands and The Proper Care and Feeding of marriage. I mostly hate the b*tch but I also highly respect her and her common sense approach to most family issues. Those 2 books would be a great start to understanding what it is that makes marriage happy, healthy and wonderful.

    I'm sure many of us could tell you what NOT to do, too.

    Meanwhile, good luck with the counselling. It certainly can't hurt and you'll probably learn a thing or two from it. Please let us know how it goes and what it's about. I, for one, am curious. Never had to do that. I was married both times by very unconventional, although legal means although I've been through marriage counselling a few times after the fact.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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  13. #13
    general fuq mrbshouse's Avatar
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    the only thing i can say is that communication is the key to long term happiness. You'll need to share the good to pump each other up and the bad so it does not fester resentment.

    the more you share the closer you will stay ;-)

    Best wishes on a beautiful life together!

  14. #14
    Outsourced Program Manager Affiliate Eagle's Avatar
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    Me and my wife had 12 book reports to complete and go through. Were they helpful? Yes. Did I dread every moment? Of course. What I found out later (9Years) to be exact, is that Marriage 90% communication and 10% understanding the various phases of marriage.

    To answer your question, in your marriage counseling classes you're going to be offered a whole lot of principles that will help your marriage, but what you need to keep in mind is your heart attitude and the core beliefs you have about your union. The principles are important but having the right attitude about the principles go allot further!

    Hope it helps.
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  15. #15
    CPA Network Rep Joe Lilly's Avatar
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    Here's the one I used not long ago....

    http://www.successfulstepfamilies.com/view/343
    Joseph Lilly
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  16. #16
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    I have to say that the idea of premarital counseling is all new to me... I'm not even sure I like the idea, sit down answer X questions and based on that decide whether a marriage should go forwards or not? If you've decided to get married is this "test" going to make nay difference at all, won't it just raise worries that you've never even consider and weren't worries until question 37 made it a worry.... all sounds like tosh to me I'm afraid.

    No test is going to tell you whether a marriage will succeed, if it did then we'd all be dating via computer dating systems and pre-arranged marriages based on check boxes and lists.

    I'm with Donuts on this, it's about who you both are and what you believe and how you will develop, nothing a piece of paper can predict , change or influence... I have to ask... what if the results say "it's all a bad idea" then what? So what's the point. Marriage is a GREAT ADVENTURE! Live it, don't take a test about it

    Cheers

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  17. #17
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    What you get in premarital counseling (and whether you even get it) will vary tremendously from church to church and from pastor to pastor. If done right, it can really help.

    Probably one of the most important things that most pastors will emphasise is that marriage should be more about commitment than about love. If you're both committed to making things work, you can make it through just about anything and be much happier. You need to learn healthy ways to work through disagreements.

    Pastors usually talk with many, many couples after things fall apart, so they have a very unique insight into what can cause problems in marriages and what can/should be done to help prevent those problems from happening in other marriages.
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  18. #18
    OPM Queen Kristin Kinsey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris - AMWSO
    Marriage is a GREAT ADVENTURE! Live it, don't take a test about it

    Cheers

    Chris
    I wish I had a choice, but we have to go to counseling if we want to be married by this preacher (and trust me, there aren't a lot of options in the itty bitty town .. lol)
    KK

  19. #19
    Outsourced Program Manager Stephanie Harris's Avatar
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    My husband and I are Jewish so we didnt have the traditional church pre-marital counseling, but we did have to meet with the Rabbi who was marrying us for two two-three hour sessions just like you have to do. I actually found it to be a really good process because there's always a lot of stress and bickering before a wedding and it was a good way to get that off our chests and discuss things that were bothering us. The Rabbi really stressed the difference between infatuation and long-lasting love which everyone "gets" but when you hear it from the clergy, it sinks in a little bit more as to how serious the commitment is. He had us tell him our story - how met, how our families are together, where we've been and where we want to go - and then said we'll get there so long as each of us puts in 150%. That way if one of us ever slacks we're still covered by the other person's extra effort. I'm probably buchering the advice by recounting it now, but at the time it was what Oprah calls an "ah ha" moment.

    At the end of the day, we just felt better that the Rabbi, who's seen a lot of marriages start and end, said we looked like we'd survive and thrive and even when you know it in your heart, it's always good to hear from an unbiased source!
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  20. #20
    OPM Queen Kristin Kinsey's Avatar
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    I'm back!! We went to our first session and they said they couldn't marry us ....
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Okay, not really. We did make it through our first session with no tears or arguements though .. lol. It is really interesting because they gave us each a packet of information including the outline of what we are going to be talking about. The pastor, who I said before is a good friend of Derrick's, is kind of grazing over the topics since we managed to do everything backwards ..

    The first session, we talked about who was going to be apart of the wedding, bridesmaids and groomsmen and such (which derrick still hasn't picked other than the brothers). He talked to me about my background, where I was born and raised, and how my parent's marriage faired ... (not well ... dad is on his third but seems to finally be the right one, mom is 2 time divorcee and has a bad habit of dating the wrong, not available men ... but I haven't spoken to her but a couple of times in the last 5 years).

    We also took a personality test ... which was funny. After we took them, we scored them ourselves and compared our results. There were 4 kinds and each had a list of adjectives to describe that person. Derrick looked up at me and said ... "I'm bubblely!" The Pastor asked me which one I was before I read about it and I told him "d". He said, "Before you read about it, that is the same one I am, and some of the words are kind of mean so take it with a grain of salt .. lol" So it boiled down to I am bossy, brash, harsh, and controlling. But it also had some positive things like, leader, outgoing, organize and so on. Anyhow, my 2 highest personality types were his lowest and vice versa .. so I guess we compliment each other .. ? Mr. Bubblely and Ms. Controlling ...

    The next session, we talk about if we are going to have kids .. lol, budget ..lol, and dealing with the in-laws .. lol.

    Good stuff though. I heard a couple of funny stories about Derrick when he was younger. The weird thing is ... and next time we go up there I will take some pictures .. but the Pastor's name is Derek as well (diff spelling), but they look sooooooooooooooooo much alike too, except the pastor is shorter ... I will post pics next time!!
    KK

  21. #21
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    We got married eleven years ago in a Catholic church in Flagstaff, AZ. It was quite the ordeal. I was raised Catholic. Dirk is no religion. So... we had to go to six months of what my husband refers to as the "conversion classes" before they would consider marrying us. (Dirk decided not to convert, which didn't thrill them.) We then each had to take a 200+ question survey. It asked you in about a zillion different ways if 1) you were gay and 2) (in my case) if you were pregnant. Then we had to go to the "engaged encounter"--a weekend "retreat" at an old military base outside of town. There were three "mentor" couples, who told us about all of their marital problems and at times burst into tears in front of the whole class. The church reminded us several times that our marriage is not a sacrament in the eyes of the church as Dirk is not a Catholic.

    In spite all of that... we have been happily married for almost eleven years (June 29). We have two great kids. We come from completely different backgrounds. (He is a small town boy from WA. I am a city kid from NYC.) But... it works.

    I wouldn't stress too much over these sessions. My 2 cents... just remember... your wedding is one day. A great day, but just a day. Your marriage is what really counts.

    Best wishes.

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  22. #22
    Full Member southbeachannie's Avatar
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    Hey Girl,

    Don't sweat the test! It is pretty straight forward. However, do take the answering seriously. I was engaged to someone who answered defiantly and he failed the test with a 30%! The priest red-flagged us and eventually we never married....he would have been Mr. Southbeachannie #2!!

    Oh well,
    Annie
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  23. #23
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by southbeachannie

    I was engaged to someone who answered defiantly and he failed the test with a 30%! The priest red-flagged us and eventually we never married....he would have been Mr. Southbeachannie #2!!

    Oh well,
    Annie
    Wow, sounds like you made a good choice, Annie!

    I would bet money that the decision to not marry Mr. Defiant was yours and not because the church didn't approve.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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  24. #24
    Full Member southbeachannie's Avatar
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    LMAO! Yeah, the church was going to marry us anyway!! I think the process is just a wake-up call. The priest expected us to have better awareness since we were 40ish at the time!

    It was embarrassing, but not the deal breaker. I'll tell you over drinks sometime!!

    Enjoy the process Miss K!! You have a great thing going there!!

    Hugs,
    Annie
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