Lately, I’ve been spending more time walking outside with our dog. She’s getting older and needing more exercise, which is great because I need something that forces me to exercise. There is one area near our house that is a steep hill, and I hate it! Every time I walk up the hill, my legs ache and I find myself grumbling until I reach the top. When I do, I feel relieved, but I also get a burst of energy. Not only did I conquer it again, but it made me stronger. Each time I walk up the hill, it gets easier because each time I do it, I get stronger.
The hills are the hardest parts of the journey; however, they are also the most beneficial. It is cliché to say that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but there is a lot of truth in that saying. God created marriage first and foremost to bring Him glory, but He also meant it as a blessing to us. What we forget sometimes is that blessings are not always handouts; God also blesses us through our labor.
Eric and I are incredibly blessed, but we have not had a perfect relationship. We both act selfishly at times and we have angered each other on several occasions. However, each tough time we go through a situation and conquer as a couple, it strengthens us. When we first were married, every disagreement seemed like the end of the world to me. “How could our marriage be successful if we fight?” After working through issue after issue, we came to realize that we were stronger and our marriage was stronger. The absence of conflict in a marriage is not a sign that the marriage is good. How a couple works through conflict is a primary indicator of a healthy marriage.
Pre-engagement counseling and premarital counseling is designed to help couples prepare for the race to come. When someone plans to run a marathon, they train, often for months before, to ensure that they are conditioned and ready for such a feat. Marriage is a much longer run than a marathon and many people spend little to no time preparing for it – and even complain when a pastor requires such preparation. While counseling cannot prepare you for every possible circumstance, it can help you learn yourself and each other better, along with giving you tools for success, to help you conquer the hills and mountains that will come up in your marriage. Everyone’s journey will be different, and no one can know all they will face in a lifetime together, but couples can learn to work through things effectively so they will have every chance at success once the struggles come.
Why do you think so many people try to avoid having to get premarital counseling before marriage? What do you now think about getting premarital counseling?