How do we prepare people to marry?

Aah, the innocence of young love. Rick and I currently teach a pre-marriage class to couples in our church, and it takes me back to those days we thought we were invincible.

We are watching a six-week DVD series for couples preparing to marry, and it’s been very informative about what lies ahead and how to deal with issues. I look at some couples during the evening and notice a half-effort in processing this information.

We’ve talked individually to a few of them, and they all believe they have it figured out. They will be able to avoid the normal pitfalls of marriage. Their faces usually belie a hint of sarcasm or humor - they don’t need a class such as this.

How well I remember that exact attitude before Rick and I married. When I met him, he was dressed as Superman, and my nickname was Wonder Woman. We honestly believed we were superheroes who soared above all the normal humdrum problems of married life. Hah! We quickly crashed to Earth when reality set in.

How do we better prepare these young adults for the ups and downs of marriage? I’ve always thought we needed better marriage preparation - maybe that would help. Most of us don’t have great role models for marriage and have no clue how to deal with marital problems. Sadly, we need no test, except a blood test, for a license that may send us on the roller coaster ride of our lives.

The older I get and the longer I’m in the marriage business, I realize a college degree in marriage may not even help couples wanting to marry. They are so blinded by love and weddings that they don’t hear the truth. We can only hope that those who are wise enough to take a pre-marriage class will retain enough of the information for future reference.

I suppose if we went into marriage aware of all the problems we face, no one would ever get married. Unfortunately, that seems to be a growing concern in our times. The divorce rate may seem to be lowering, but fewer people are choosing to marry. Couples are cohabitating instead of marrying. Of course, that means fewer divorces.

This leads to a very important reason to work on your marriage - to pass on a rich legacy to your children. A legacy that will show them what a healthy marriage is all about. It is not to be feared but to be cherished and esteemed.

As I look back at our difficult times, what began the healing process for my marriage was reminding myself of the good old days when I was ga-ga over my husband, thinking we were invincible.  Those memories held my desire to continue.  For that, I am grateful for those ignorant days of not knowing what was to come.

If you had the opportunity to speak to our pre-marriage class, what advice would you give to these soon-to-be-weds?

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