Tip #1 ) Pre-Martital Counseling
I'm just going to start off right here. This is seriously one of the first things we set up after we got engaged (actually this was one on my lovely groom's to do list). And I'd have to say this is one of the things we got right. Yay for victories! We decided to meet with two different couples, our own church pastor (Todd, who happens to be Devon's boss) and his wife (Hi, Susan!!) and also another local pastor and his wife, Steve and Pattie, who are just a few more years down the road of this thing called marriage. Their styles of counseling are fairly different but both are just what we needed in this process. We've chatted about everything from marriage and ministry, to budgeting and balance, to trusting God to show up in miraculous ways, to stepping away and shutting off the world for a bit to regroup, to understanding all those emotions, to fighting fair, to growing our family one day. We've read through books like Sacred Marriage by Gary L. Thomas, Experiencing Oneness by Harold Gillogly and The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller. All good stuff. And all things we plan to read over and over again throughout the life of our marriage. We've prayed together, we've laughed together and we've cried together (no surprise if I'm in the room). And my prayer is that this PRE-Marital Counseling thing just eases itself on over to plain ole Marriage Counseling along the way. You need this folks. But ultimately these wise couples pointing us to the one and ultimate counselor, Jesus. I sat a friends wedding years ago and still remember the shocking word of the officiant so clearly. "It's impossible for this marriage to work." Ummm, not what you expect to hear at a wedding ceremony. Maybe a little 1 Corinthians or some Ephesians 5 but not "this thing is gonna fail." But the shock of the statement prepared my heart for what he had next. "It would take a miracle. And that miracle is Jesus Christ."