You and your fiancé flip through magazines in a sparsely decorated waiting room. You nervously glance at the clock on the wall, waiting for your names to be called.
A woman dressed in a pencil skirt with thick-rimmed glasses and a bun peers around the door. You’re up.
You and your fiancé walk through the door and ease onto the couch in her small office. Framed diplomas and motivational sayings overlaid on pixelated landscape photos decorate the wall.
The woman sits in a chair across from you, flipping open a new page on her legal pad with a click of her pen.
“So, tell me all about your relationship,” she begins, smiling tightly.
This is typically the way couple’s therapy is depicted in movies, but not all counseling is
This SZN at VOUS Church, engaged couples can participate in a premarital course using the “Save Your Marriage Before It Starts” method (SYMBIS).
To Succeed, Preparation is Vital
For many couples, taking a premarital class is not on their agenda. We’re already in love, we’ve got it together, they think. What else is there to know?
Let’s put it this way – would you trust a doctor with no training? Would you take an algebra exam without studying? Of course not. But many of us don’t think of marriage as something that requires the same level of preparation.
In fact, most of us spend more time on flower arrangements, engagement photos and cake flavors than we do on preparing for the actual marriage.
Funmi Dada, one of the leaders of the VOUS Care team, puts it like this:
“Marriage is a huge, lifelong commitment. We prepare ourselves for every other area of our lives – school, work, kids – but not the biggest and most lifelong decision that impacts us more than anything else… It’s the second most important decision you make in your lifetime. To not focus on that and to not empower people would be a great fault.”
What to Expect From Premarital Counseling
Here at VOUS Church, the course is composed of video training, group activities, and one-on-one homework assignments. Some of the topics include communication, conflict resolution, intimacy, finances and, “other things that don’t normally get spoken about within the context of day-to-day dating,” Funmi explains.
The thought of talking to your partner about these topics can be nerve-wracking, which is why it’s valuable to tackle them in a space with wisdom and support from others.
“I was nervous because I knew there would be challenging discussions,” says newlywed Jennifer Amarteifio. “There’s always the possibility that through the class, you would have second thoughts about marrying the person, and that wasn’t a reality I wanted to face; however, I knew it was better to find that out sooner than later. In the end, there were no doubts whether we should proceed with marriage. The class helped confirm what we had already felt God had led us to.”
“On the first day, I came in wondering if it was worth it… but about 10 minutes into the class I started enjoying it and looking to learn more,” says her husband, Festus Amarteifio. “The teachers were very well prepared and made it an interactive class, so being engaged from the beginning helped take away any doubt I had.”
Along with a course facilitator, there will be happily married couples from our community helping with the class, including Blanca Cruz and her husband, who have been married for over 20 years. When reflecting on her own experience with premarital counseling, she remembered how important it was to be advised by another Christian couple who had been married for many years.
What Will We Take Away From The Class?
In this course, you’ll learn about each other’s pasts and how they affect your perspective today. You’ll be equipped with tools for conflict resolution. You’ll also come away with an understanding of how to build a strong foundation from the get-go.
“You’re on the same team. You’re working together. Your marriage is what you want to succeed, and the focus isn’t on the individual self. There are people around to help if you’re struggling. You can have a happy, fun, purposeful marriage,” Funmi says.
What’s the Key to a Successful Marriage?
If you asked this question to 100 married couples, you would likely get 100 different answers. Communication, humility, faithfulness, friendship… these are all vital to a solid marriage.
None, however, is as important as this. “We always put God first,” Blanca says. “Ultimately, that’s what binds us together and makes us better and stronger together.”
Premarital Counseling at VOUS
Are you ready to take the next step with your significant other? Reserve your space in our premarital course for next SZN below.