As many young Christian couples do, Jeff and I went through pre-marital counselling sessions during the months of our engagement. At least within the Christian community, this is widely accepted. Actually, most pastors request or even require you to do pre-marital counselling before they will perform your ceremony. But what about after the wedding? Does your need for counselling disappear?
Although I am generally a very open person (as is probably evident through some of my posts on this blog), for some reason, I was a little hesitant to tell people that the reason we couldn’t stay late at work or go out for dessert or come over for dinner on Monday nights was because we had our weekly counselling session.
Now, I had no problem telling people I saw a psychologist for two years. And I had no problem telling people Jeff and I had pre-marital counselling. Yet I was nervous telling my friends and acquaintances and co-workers that we had post-marital counselling.
I think it stems from the idea that you go to counselling ONLY when you have a serious relationship problem. I googled “marriage counselling” and one of the top results was this article. If you’re too lazy to click the link, it is an article highlighting “7 Reasons to Seek Marriage Counselling.” Every. Single. Reason. Was a negative one. Every single one. Seek counselling if you want to have an affair. Seek counselling if your arguments are getting out of control. Seek counselling when either partner wants a separation.
But Jeff and I have only been married for three months. Typically, not a lot of those things can happen in three months. So why are we in counselling?
We are in counselling because it isn’t just for the marriage-on-the-brink-of-divorce. We chose to seek counselling before our problems got to the point where we would need counselling. We chose to seek counselling because we knew that, like all other couples, we did have things to work on. And just because those things were relatively small compared to what you normally hear couples going to counselling for, we knew they were still issues that needed work.
So we chose counselling. And we are not ashamed to tell people that every Monday night, we make the trek to our counsellor’s small, un-air conditioned room, and talk about our marriage for an hour. We want you to know that post-marital counselling has made a huge difference in our relationship. We are so happy that we’ve been able to work out difficult situations with the help of someone with tons of experience. We are always so excited to try out the new problem solving techniques that we are given in our weekly sessions. We are so excited to learn more about one another as we go through counselling together.
Marriage counselling is for everyone.