This post grows not from any report or analysis but my own anecdotal experience. Lately I’ve noticed a troubling number of people who, fresh from divorce, have remarried a person even while their family and friends have warned them they’re making a mistake. Shortly after they have wed, they realize their family and friends were right, and they come to see me. What’s going on?
We humans tend to be such hopeful creatures, don’t we? One after another, these persons (both men and women) have sat in my office and admitted with the benefit of hindsight that the warning signs were evident to them from early on in the relationship and that they simply ignored them because they wanted so badly for the relationship to work. Shortly after marriage, the restraints of courtship disappear, the problems explode, and the brief marriage ends in another sad divorce.
This is a great example of why premarital counseling makes such good sense for people who are considering marriage. My dear friend Jim Robey at Attentional Growth Ministries, who does excellent work in premarital counseling, says “If I can talk you out of marrying, I should.” I agree. A good counselor will confront the wide-eyed lovers with a journey through their contemplated life together, forcing them to deal with mundane issues like who gets to decide to make a purchase, who prepares food and cleans up the kitchen, and who initiates sex. In a world that exalts hope over prudence, good premarital counseling gives prudence back its voice. And if this is the marriage God intended that will be a life-giving solution for both parties, good premarital counseling will help them figure that out too.
So let’s say you’re the friend or family member of someone who may be deciding too hastily to say “I do.” What can you do? I suggest you print this blog entry and others like it to share with your friend. Do everything you can to insist that your friend and his or her fiancÃ© attend premarital counseling. If their marriage is meant to be, counseling will give them new confidence in it. If it’s a mistake and they realize it in counseling, you will have given your friend the best wedding gift ever.