Last weekend we had our second pre-martial counseling session. After getting an inquiry about why we are doing pre-marital counseling and what it’s like, I decided to write these post-session recaps to share a little about our experience.
You can find the recap of our first session here.
We started off this session by discussing the homework assignments which was to review the results of the online assessment and to practice the speaker-listener exercise.
The pastor first asked us to share our thoughts on the results of the online assessment.
The assessment revealed what Logan and I believe to be a pretty accurate depiction of our relationship and our individual personalities.
A few things it highlighted…
-I struggle with change and Logan is more adaptable.
-we are connected to each other but not overly so (which would be unhealthy).
-we both grew up in families that were pretty connected but also somewhat inflexible.
There were only a couple things that we didn’t feel were spot-on, but overall we felt it reflected the dynamics of our relationship really well.
Then he asked us how practicing the speaker-listener exercise went. We told him that it was hard for us to come up with additional things that we’d like the other to do. He smiled and said, “There will come a time in your life together when you struggle to narrow it down to five asks.”
That was a reminder that we are in the honeymoon stage of our relationship. I often think that I feel that we are pretty realistic about our relationship and don’t look at it through rose-colored glasses.
His comment was a reminder that our relationship WILL face challenges in the future. We WILL let each other down and there WILL be times when we feel like the other person isn’t giving us enough.
That’s a little demoralizing to think about, but I also think it’s a good reminder not to expect that each of us will be completely fulfilled at all times, and that there will come a time (probably MANY times) when we will need to verbalize one or several asks of the other.
Logan and I don’t have a ton of conflict, but of course we do have some. If we had a lot, I think it would be a red flag. Having some conflict is normal. When two people come together, they are bound to disagree on some things.
The pastor said that it’s very common for couples to have a couple things that they consistently disagree on that tend to come up two or three times a year. They often lead to arguments and don’t get resolved in the moment.
He gave us an example – a couple disagreed on how much time to spend with the wife’s mother.
He used this couple to illustrate how the conflict resolution exercise worked.
Then he asked us if any issues came to mind for us to go through this exercise.
Logan and I couldn’t think of any BIG issues. Sure, we disagree on things, but nothing that’s ever led to a big blow-up.
The pastor said…well, I’m going to use your assessment to “poke the bear.”
He used our answers to the assessment to bring up some areas where we might have ongoing conflict.
Several of them were areas in which Logan and I disagree or could improve, but we have talked about them so we don’t experience ongoing conflict.
One example is that on the assessment we both marked agree to wishing that we had more in common.
Logan and I have a lot of shared interests, but of course we don’t agree 100% on how to spend our free time. Because Logan doesn’t drink, he’s not too keen on going to happy hour which is something I really enjoy . Logan really likes watching movies which is something I don’t really get into.
This is an example of an area that could potentially lead to conflict, but it really doesn’t for us because we share other common interests.
So you might be wondering if we found any contentious issues…
Yes and no…
We did find one issue that causes disagreements from time to time that we’ll use to do the conflict resolution exercise as our homework.
Here’s what happened…
Last week, we had a change of plans which led to a struggle to figure out how to make us both feel like our needs were being understood and met.
Without laying out the nuances (don’t want to bore you), this is an issue that comes up for us. I struggle with changes in plans, and Logan struggles with not wanting to disappoint me. When these two intersect, we experience conflict.
This exercise will hopefully help us to find some resolution and basically create a game plan for what to do next time so it doesn’t lead to conflict or hurt feelings.
Reflections on the Session
This session was harder for me than the first. It wasn’t particularly fun to think of problem areas in our relationship. And I didn’t like it when the pastor said he was going to “poke the bear.”
But I realized that it’s important to have these difficult conversations so that when issues come up, they don’t remain unresolved. Because unresolved issues will inevitably come up again.
Next session we’ll review the conflict resolution exercise and plan our brief marriage ceremony (before our real wedding in Bali) which will happen at the end of August! We are less than 5 months away!
Featured image by Bria Peterson