Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Premarital Bliss: Being In Love is Necessary But Not Sufficient

Relationships go through 3 stages:
  1. The In-Love Stage--You see all of the good in your partner and the relationship. If there is anything negative or bad, you minimize it or ignore it.
  2. The Disillusionment Stages--You've been with your partner long enough to see all their warts and bad habit and all the problems in the relationship. You see all of the bad and if there is any good you minimize it or ignore it. If unprepared, it is very common for couples who come to this stage, to think it's time for a divorce.
  3. The Working Stage--You've seen the good and the bad in your partner and the relationship. You and your partner are working to increase all the good things about yourself and the relationship and you recognize there are things that aren't so good. You're both working to minimize the bad and/or accept that some things aren't going to change. This stage cements the commitment to the marriage and depends the love and devotion. This is the stage that carries couples to "forever."
Couples who come in for premarital counseling and are still in the "in-love" stage often find it hard to believe they will ever have any significant problems. When I say, "There will come a day when you will look at your partner and think, 'What have I done?,' they often don't believe me. They tell me how in love they are, how perfect they are for each other, how much they have in common and how they are different from most couples because they are soulmates. When I explain that every couple goes through the disillusionment stage, that it's part of relationship maturation, these couples often continue to be skeptical. And that's OK.

The In-Love Stage is a delightful place to be. Most of us have been there at least once. Who would ever want to move out of this stage? But, inevitably, we all do. And for couples who haven't experienced the Disillusionment Stage yet, premarital counseling has prepared them. When that time comes, they will be less shocked and alarmed. Thinking back to the premarital counseling, they are more likely to normalize what they are experiencing and say, "Oh, now I get it. I guess we've got work to do on our marriage," instead of thinking, "This means we need to get a divorce."

If you're planning to marry soon, know that according to research, you are half as likely to divorce if you do premarital counseling before the wedding. If you are interested in premarital counseling, you can reach me at 512-795-002 or go to my website.  



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