“Do not accept a man’s proposal until you have successfully worked through at least one significant disagreement, better yet a heated argument that leave at least one of you in tears. You may say you’re in love, that you get along famous, and that you never fight. But if you’ve never been in the thick of serious conflict resolution with that man, you don’t really know him.” Susan Rohrer
Pre-Marital Counseling May Be Too Little Too Late
Although pre-marital counseling is an important step in the preparation for marriage, the sessions are often several weeks before the wedding date – a time which is almost too late. Plans have been made, deposits have been sent, and invitations are being accepted.
Why Stressful Arguments Are Important to Have!
Before a couple has a “ring and a date,” here are some important reasons that they need to experience a few heated arguments before or soon after they become engaged to be married.
In the U.S., our system of “dating” tends to contribute to many marriage failures today. One of the major motivations during dating and even engagement is to convince the other person that we are lovable. We create a façade of the person we really are and try to hide those parts of us that we consider unattractive. And what is so dangerous is that the other person is doing the same thing.
So these two individuals decide that they want to get married. As little as six months after the wedding, I often hear one or both partners say “this is not the person I thought I married!” Why? Because it is usually after the wedding vows that we begin to be “real” to each other.
Learn How You Handle Conflicts Together
We need to find out how each person resolves these conflicts, and the only way to find out is to experience one!
Although the marriage relationship has the potential of being the most satisfying and enjoyable relationship we can ever have here on this earth, it takes work. It takes transparency. It takes authenticity. And it needs to be able to handle not just irritations, but also differences in personalities and sometimes even values that eventually need to be identified and addressed.
You Want to Work on the Relationship Now
When is the best time to uncover these areas and talk about them? When the couple is in the “infatuation period” – the period of time when they are so attracted to each other that they are convinced that absolutely nothing will change this feeling. This is when the couple WANTS to work through issues because they care so much.
The “Real You” is Unveiled
We can often hide our unattractive qualities most of the time. It is when we are under stress or are challenged by someone or something that we inadvertently let our defenses down.
What Can We Do?
And this is what is important. Each partner needs to find out how the other one responds and reacts when they are worried, anxious, feel tension, or are under some type of pressure due to circumstances.
Often the preparation for a wedding can generate this tension. Many future husbands have seen how their fiancé handles this stress. That is why so many couples are so glad that the wedding event is over, so they can now “live life.”
But married life also has stresses, pressures, worries, troubles – as well as bliss, ecstasy, fulfillment, and intimacy.
The challenge is to prepare ourselves by identifying how we will process the tough times TOGETHER. It is important to begin to understand how each of us behaves during stress and how we work through the “discussions” BEFORE the actual situations take place. The argument itself is important, but how we resolve the issue is even more significant.
Some Suggestions that Can Cause Stress
But how? Here are a few questions that are guaranteed to cause stress if each of you is honest and willing to accept the answers that you receive:
What do you think our relationship will look like in ten years? Will we both work? How many kids? Where will we live?
How will we spend the major holidays and with whose family?
If you were to rate our relationship between one and ten, where would you rate it? “Ten” is absolute bliss. “One” is ready to cancel the wedding or later divorce. What would it take to move it up one notch?
So Create Stress Now. Don’t wait until after the marriage vows to find out what happens.