Last weekend I had the fun opportunity to be a vendor at the Chehalis Wedding Show, promoting StacieStoneyCoaching and the importantance of pre-marriage coaching. Several weeks ago I posted my blog "Why every engaged couple should pay attention to this blog." (if you didn't get the chance to read it, check it out here!)
I think EVERY person should read that blog, simply because I explain exactly why all couples need pre-marriage coaching, and heck, even if you've been married for like 100 years, you could still benefit from marriage coaching, because as people, we are always changing.
I loved talking to people at the wedding show about why marriage coaching, pre and beyond, is so vital. I also loved that my mom and my sister both came to work my booth with me and they each had their personal reasons why everyone should work with me! Here is what I did not love: the comments, "Nah, I'm good, I don't need what you're offering," or "I've been to counseling and it didn't work."
Today I am going to talk about those two comments.
First, "Nah, I'm good..."
Maybe you really really are. Maybe you are one of the lucky few couples who have no worries in the world, who love one another so unconditionally that nothing bothers either one of you, who have the best and most effective communication skills, who know one another so thoroughly that you can finish one another's thoughts and sentences. (See where I'm going with this???) Or, maybe you don't have all the answers and you don't even realize that you're going to need answers to questions you don't even know exist yet! Listen, I know because once upon a time I, too, thought "Nah, I'm good, I don't need any help you're offering" because I didn't even know that I didn't know!!! When we are planning our weddings, we really do get so caught up in THE DAY. We want it to be perfect. And we will spend tons of money to make sure that ONE DAY is perfect! But marriage is SO MUCH MORE THAN THE WEDDING DAY! It is waking up to the same person for the next 60 or so years of your life, God-willing you live that long.
I listened to young brides talk about how much their venues cost, how much the DJ cost, all the trouble they went to to find THE dress, etc. I know, I know, I did that too (twice!) Couples spend so much money preparing for this one day, and all too often, forget that after they return home from the honeymoon, that is when the marriage actually starts. When you have to share your day-to-day with someone else. Bills need to get paid, things around the house will need to get fixed, family and friends will pull you in different directions for a variety of things. So what's your game plan with how you will handle all that? And when your new husband keeps putting dirty dishes in the sink even though the dishwasher is empty, with food still on the plate so it plugs up the kitchen sink, and you'e already asked him a multitude of times to please not do this, how are you and your new spouse going work this out??? (Silly example? Yes, but one that has happened not only to myself, but also to a few of my other friends! Yes, it really happens, still...) Now, what about if you have children you are bringing into the marriage? Or you've been married before? Then, there are a whole other set of issues you need to be on the same page about! Oh Boy!!!
Every couple will have their own challenges to overcome and goals to set and reach. And I do hate to sound harsh when I say, No, you probably "aren't good"...and even if you are "good", why wouldn't you then want to be GREAT? I strongly encourage you to find someone who can coach you, or mentor you, or at least be someone that can be a strong role-model (outside of your family, you know, someone not biased!) that you can go to for advice, tips, and best ways to work through different issues. Being able to have a strong game plan and the right tools in your toolbox will prevent you from someday paying tons and tons of money on a legal ONE DAY that seriously sucks. (Divorce. It does suck, no matter the circumstances. And that final day when the judge declares you divorced, when you think about the first day of your marriage to your last, I assure you, it is heartbreaking, again, no matter the circumstances.) So, make sure you realize that maybe, just maybe, you need to have a plan to be good, great, better, or whatever words you want to use. After all, I believe that is what Proverbs 27:17 is all about..."Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." By talking with someone else who has the right tools, they can help you become better!
And now, "Counseling doesn't work."
Well, I have to let you know, coaching and counseling are totally different. And while my Master's degree says I am qualified in both, I haven't become licensed in my state yet because I don't think I really want to be a counselor. I LOVE COACHING. (And I'm not really going to go into in this blog, but if you meet me or you know me, you know why coaching is for me as I am a born cheerleader for others. Enough about that, keep reading my actual point!) You see, counseling takes in much of the past to figure out what has happened to the present, while coaching takes where you are NOW and helps you focus on the positives to catapult you to an awesome tomorrow!!! I will tell you this: Counseling is great if you are in crisis mode. And by the way, if both couples TRULY want to make the marriage work, and BOTH are willing to accept that they are equally to blame, then yes, absolutely counseling works and is beyond wonderful. I can honestly tell you that is why Josh and I are still married today. Plus, we had a counselor that was perfect for US. It's okay to find the right counselor, or coach, that fits YOUR NEEDS and PERSONALITIES. That's where you build trust with that person who is serving as your help and guide.
I think all good Christian counselors and coaches should read Proverbs and share it will others because I feel as though the first counselors, coaches, and mentors had a hand in Proverbs! Proverbs 15:22 states, "Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed" while Proverbs 19:20-21 says, "Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." That is EXACTLY what you should be looking for in a marriage coach- someone who wants to work with you to help you succeed by giving you advice, lessons, activities to do as a couple, and hope and faith that God is always with you!
But with any counseling or coaching, YOU HAVE TO WANT IT. You need to understand you get what you give. What you put into it, is what you will get out of it. And that is the truth for your marriage, as well. You got to go big, put your whole heart and soul into it, TOGETHER, and you will WIN BIG.
So, "Nah, I'm Good" and "Counseling doesn't work", are, to me, forms of excuses. IF you are going to go big, GO BIG!!! Do it RIGHT, from the very start! Go into your "'Til Death do you part" ready to take on any challenge, any situation, any life change as a positively unified partnership full of love, grace and compassion for one another, and the knowledge that YOU CAN DO THIS! Because deciding to spend the rest of your life with the person God created for you is a BLESSING. It's not always going to be easy, but IT IS GOING TO BE WORTH IT!
If you are a married person, what is some of your advice to those who are getting married soon? I'd love to hear your stories, thoughts, and advice! Please comment and share!