Is it that time in your life? Have you been dating your special someone a while and now you have this growing anticipation that engagement may be just around the corner? Are you looking at rings? Are you holding your breath on every date wondering if this is going to be day he proposes? Are you searching your creative reserves trying to plan the perfect proposal?
Each phase of a relationship is special. I vividly remember when Eric and I were college pals just getting to know each other. We had a lot of fun back then and I did not know how instrumental that stage would be for us. Then there was the excitement of moving past friends and into the “we’re a couple!!!” stage. When I remember it, I can still feel the inner squeals of girlish excitement… the first time he hugged me differently… the first time our hands touched and we didn’t pull them away (and the awkward silence that followed). ~smile~ After a season of being a girlfriend, I knew engagement was on the horizon. Then, we were engaged and there was so much planning to do! Next stop, the altar! Time probably did not fly by then, but in retrospect it sure seems like it did!
So, if you are in that boyfriend/girlfriend stage and you are inching closer and closer to engagement, we would urge you to consider six preparations to make before officially deciding to get married in this six-part series.
“Oh my word! This blog won’t shut up about pre-engagement counseling!” ~smile~ True!
Eric and I believe in the pre-engagement counseling model wholeheartedly – partially because we see so many issues we could have avoided if we had gone through couple’s coaching prior to engagement and partially because we see how it has blessed the couples we know who have gone through it!
Pre-engagement counseling is a relatively new concept and new concepts sometimes take a while to become “normal,” but normal is not always best! ~smile~ Come out from among the crowd. Don’t settle for normal! ~smile~
Okay, in all seriousness, we love coaching couples in the pre-engagement stage because there is such a freedom. We are not working against a deadline. They are not trying to hastily “settle” problems because the wedding “is a scant two months away and ‘stuff’ needs to be in order.” There is an honest, no-holds-barred objectivity which encourages an honest look at yourselves, each other, and your relationship. Is marriage together the best step for us?
Even though some couples realize they are not a good match after going through premarital counseling, seldom do they walk away from the relationship. In their minds, there is too much at stake, and even though engagement is not a lifetime commitment like marriage is, it feels a lot like marriage. Have you ever talked to an engaged couples who said, “We already feel married.”?
Engaged couples often do feel married because they are making many decisions together, pursuing life goals together, choosing where to soon live together, combining furniture, and making purchases together. Once a couple reaches that stage, it is rare and extraordinarily painful to walk away… even if breaking up is for the best.
Pre-engaged couples have no diamond ring strings attached. And though choosing to break up would be difficult for a dating couple, it does not usually carry the same sense of loss and grief that follows a broken engagement. A broken engagement feels like a broken promise… maybe even a betrayal… maybe even abandonment.
What if We Are Already Engaged?
If you are already engaged, we still strongly recommend seeking out Bible-centered, premarital counseling. In fact, we still take engaged couples who come to us through our pre-engagement materials first because we believe dating, engaged, and newlywed couples can all benefit from the issues and topics discussed in that series!
If you are going into couple’s coaching as an engaged couple, we recommend that you do not schedule it too close to your wedding date. You will want to move through the process with as little pressure as possible and leave time to work through any issues which may come to the surface. And as much as is possible, try to keep an objective outlook on the process. Engaged or not, you do not have to go through with a wedding if glaring red flags immerge and you no longer feel comfortable moving towards marriage. The likelihood of this happening to you may be rare, but you do want to keep an open mind. After all, “‘til death” is a very long time.
Where Can We Learn More about Pre-Engagement Counseling?
If you are curious about going through the pre-engagement counseling program we provide, feel free to go to our Pre-Engagement Counseling page. And if you have any questions for us, feel free to Contact Us at. We are here to help you!
Will you and your sweetheart receive Bible-centered, pre-engagement counseling before getting engaged? Why or why not?