*FREE* Pre-Engagement Counseling E-course- 5 Things You Need to Know Before You Get Married, Installment #1

Our Free Pre-Engagement Counseling E-course is a must read for every engaged couple.

As I see young couples getting divorced left and right it pains me greatly. While I know how hard marriage can be, I also know personally that it can be better. In The Free Pre-Engagement Counseling E-course you will learn that the two reasons why marriages fail are unrealistic expectations and lack of tools.  If couples could learn about the nature of relationships as well as skills that they can employ in their marriage before their wedding, they would not only be much more willing to stick things out, they would actually enjoy their relationship!

That is why I am so glad you have signed up for The Free Pre-Engagement Counseling E-course. I am excited for you to know this life-saving information now before you get married so you can experience more enjoyment and less heartache later on.

(One word of caution. I do not intend to create confusion or second guesses about your marriage choice. If you are in a fragile place, go to a competent therapist that can help you. You may also find my free special report How to Fix a Broken Engagement helpful )

Pre-Engagement Counseling Tip #1: Realistic Expectations

The 1st tip in The Free Pre-Engagement Counseling E-course is that before you get married you need to have realistic expectations.  By realistic expectations, I mean to realize that every relationship has its ups and downs.  I remember when my wife and I were engaged. We thought our relationship was different. We wouldn’t have any problems. We were annoyed when friends and family would warn us about the realities of marriage. Looking back, I can say we were a bit naïve.

This naïveté was very damaging to our relationship.  If we were to have expected conflict and understood its purpose, we would have been saved from a lot of unnecessary pain. And our marriage wasn’t even that bad! How could it be that the one with whom we “fell in love” became an enemy? This wasn’t who we thought we were marrying! Did we make the wrong choice? The confusion and doubt went on and on.  If only we had known that conflict was inevitable, we would not have been so confused and hurt.

Creating your own emotional reality

Expectations are powerful and make all the difference between anxiety and peace of mind.  When we expect something to go our way and it doesn’t, we get upset.

Here’s an example: Let’s say my newborn wakes up throughout the night. If I expect him to only wake up twice during the night and he wakes up three or four times, I have two choices. I can get angry because he is not “supposed” to be up now and get all worked up about how I’m going to function the next day on no sleep.  I am so frustrated that I can’t even get him back to bed.

Or I can accept that things may not have gone as planned but I need to make the best out of it and be calm and help him get back to bed. This also means not catastrophizing about my lack of sleep.  The differences between these two approaches is huge and when I throw my expectations out the window, and my ego about how I want things to go, I allow myself to be present and ask the question, “ What does G-d want from me now?”  Instead of reacting unconsciously by being so locked up in expectations about things going my way, I can be calm enough to make a conscious choice about how I am going to act.

Relationship stages

The same applies to marriage. If you have expectations of how you think it is supposed to be, it may be very hard for you to “let go” when things don’t go your way.   One of the most helpful ways to shatter your expectations of sheer bliss is to understand that a relationship has stages. This means that there is a normal progression for a marriage- and that your plunge from infatuation to conflict does not mean there is something wrong with your marriage.

Let me explain.  I am sure you have wonderful stories about how you and your future spouse met or knew you wanted to get married. You may even feel that it was Divinely orchestrated. I believe your marriage was Divinely orchestrated, just as I believe the ensuing conflict you will experience is part of the Divine plan. Marriage is the greatest growth opportunity you may ever experience. You wind up marrying the person who is perfect for you in that he/she is the one most capable of being a catalyst for your growth and completion. That growth comes about through conflict. You are probably too excited to be aware of the possible areas of conflict that lay ahead, and I don’t want you to get all nervous and start trying to figure out what they are necessarily.

Most engaged couples are in, what we call in Imago Therapy, the Romantic Stage. Your brain is wired with chemicals that probably give you an adrenaline rush. You may be thinking about each other all the time, feel like you’ve known your intended forever, and see only positive qualities in each other. This is normal and necessary. If you were to see each other’s flaws, you would probably get so wrapped up in your head that you would never get married.

The anesthesia eventually wears off, sometimes even before the wedding, and you have officially crashed into the Power Struggle. The Power Struggle is a fun place where most couples find themselves for the majority of their relationship. It is only through understanding that by working through the Power Struggle and becoming conscious about your relationship, can you achieve the Real Love that awaits. This does not happen overnight but the acknowledgment that conflict is for the purpose of growth and healing and that your spouse will trigger the very things in you that you will need to become more whole, will serve as good preparation for the rough patches that may arise.

Summary of what you learned in The Pre-Engagement Counseling E-course Lesson 1

  • Unrealistic expectations set a relationship up for failure
  • Our expectations make the difference between anxiety and peace
  • There is an unconscious component to choosing our spouse
  • The purpose of marriage is growth and healing
  • Following the romantic stage comes the power struggle
  • Working through the power struggle brings about growth and healing

I hope you’ve enjoyed lesson #1 of The Pre-Engagement Counseling E-course. If you need more assistance with your engagement and want to make sure you have all the tools necessary for your upcoming marriage, please don’t hesitate to call 443-570-7598.