counseling has become more and more popular since the divorce rate in
our country has gone up. Now more than ever before couples are taking
matters into their own hands to ensure that their marriage will have
happiness and longevity.
at least ten sessions for premarital counseling. This will give the
couple time to go over such important issues as:
is the most immediate expression of who we are and how we view life.
It is a place we retire to after giving of ourselves in the all day
long. It is the one place in the world that should be a safe space.
Marriage often begins with agreeing to share a home-to share the financial
burdens of maintaining it, the joys and hassles of decorating it, the
creation of a way of living together. After the ceremony, after the
honeymoon the newlyweds go home. Even if they lived together before
the wedding, this particular trip home is different. Now we are a family.
Now we are here to stay. Now my things are also yours. Now your cloths
on the floor mean something different and are particularly terrifying.
Is this what I will come home to everyday? Let the fears begin.
the subjects couples can discuss, money is the most metaphoric. Money
can mean security, love, power and/or freedom. Perhaps because of its
various levels of meaning, it is one of the subjects most often battled
over. Financial disagreements cause probably as many failed relationships
as do sexual/romantic disagreements. It is almost guaranteed that each
partner holds undiscovered assumptions about money, from “My husband
will always support me” to “Separate checking accounts mean
a lack of trust”.
be the center of our lives or simply the means to an end, or both. In
any case, outside of family, work often houses our most important relationships.
Professional relationships and goals can have a powerful impact on the
life of a couple. Often, men and women hold quite specific views of
their spouse’s work (My wife will never/always have to work,”
“My husband’s work will never/always support us,”
“My travel and time needs for work will often/never take precedence
over family commitments,” ect). It’s important to examine
these assumptions and confirm or deny them with your partner.
sexual connection. It lives. It dies. It is reborn. Or not. What aspect
of a relationship is more mysterious than this? Where do trust and passion
and anger and adoration and need and ennui live most directly between
you and your partner?
toward food and the ways we eat shop, prepare, and serve it are wonderfully
reflective of deeper values, as are attitudes towards exercise, body
image and aging. For some couples, grocery shopping, preparing meals
and dining out are a source of relaxation, a way to continually court
each other, a time to reconnect and relax. Mealtime is often the time
of family togetherness; especially if a couple has children. Without
children, it is often the time that a couple spends “decompressing”
or creating romance and togetherness. Some people find food and the
act of dining together to be one of the great sensual joys of life.
Fine wines, gourmet cuisine, and excellent conversation: These are time-honored
sources of pleasure. Others consider such things to be a nuisance, an
expense, inexplicably complex.
with your partner’s parents, siblings and/or children can reveal
deep truths about where you place value in personal relationships. I
may believe that all family members are welcome in our house at any
time of day or night, while my spouse may feel that 3 am is not an acceptable
time for visitors of any sort, even a sibling in crisis. I may wish
to invite my mother over to discuss decorating questions; my partner
may view this as intrusive or overly dependent. It’s valuable
to examine assumptions like these.
some couples that have agreed never to have children. I have other couples
who want to have them right away. I have some couples who have felt
strongly one way or the other, then changed their minds. This is hardly
surprising, since few decisions in life are as important as whether
or not have children.
the great complaints of modern life is lack of community. Whereas our
parents or grandparents may have been born to consciously create one.
A contemporary couples life is often full of micro-communities, based
around work, working out, hobbies, or spiritual or cultural pursuits.
Community can also come from specific friendships: With these people
we do sports; with these we talk about books; with these we go to parties.
Both partners bring to the relationship a set of existing friendships;
new, historic, dysfunctional, meaningful. Because it’s not always
easy for one’s beloved to naturally fit into other’s existing
communities and relationships, it is valuable to take a look at them
one by one and see where the possibilities for deeper community or the
risk of distress lie.
of us, religion is something that we observe when someone is born, marries,
or dies. Suddenly, at such moments the religion you were raised with
, the traditions your family may have followed, become vitally important.
Any impulse your beloved may have to devalue or ignore such traditions
can become very, very hurtful. It’s important to examine what
you will do, if anything, to mark the passages of life, including death.
If you are married, it is likely you encountered this curious arousal
of attachment to tradition while planning the marriage ceremony.