Premarital Counseling

One of the reasons that I love Sylvia so much is that she’s always willing to communicate what’s going on in her head and communication has always been a number one priority for the two of us. We’re both pretty forward about what it is that we want and what it is we’re thinking which is great as I’ve always stressed that I work better in a relationship when I don’t have to guess all the time. Thankfully, Sylvia is fine with that and we both work really well when we keep everything out in the open even if sometimes we inadvertently hurt each other’s feelings when we’re throwing something out there. Ultimately, whenever we have issues, we are able to figure out whatever it is that’s a problem for us and work through it, which is great and generally ends up having the both of us thinking that we’re functional human beings and a great couple. That said, Sylvia and I were of the same mind when it came to getting premarital counseling. It was essential.

While she was off in India, I told her that I’d do some research so that when she got home, we could sit down and figure out who and where we’d like to go to get premarital counseling. For us, anything that can give us an edge or insight into how to work better as a team is like the greatest thing ever. Having grown up with divorced and then remarried parents where we moved every once in a while, it was difficult feeling like life wasn’t always consistent or I wasn’t sure who to trust or talk to just because there were so many people in our family that I never felt like there was anyone that I could completely confide in or rely on. It may sound harsh, but it is what it is and I still have some trust issues where I might think a friend is the greatest person ever, but when it comes to trusting anyone, it’s just really hard for me. I’m working through it, but the one thing I know I can always count on is that Sylvia’s got my back and for me, that comes out of us communicating and just keeping each other informed about what’s going on in our heads. Anything that can potentially enhance that bond? Hell yes, sign us up!

We did have some basic requirements in the sense that we didn’t want a priest as we’re pretty secular and most premarital counseling sessions are handled by religious figures with a heavy bent on religion, Christianity in particular. Sylvia does have a spiritual side to her, but she’s not really following much in the way of a Christian path/lifestyle. There’s more to it that I don’t fully understand, but I don’t think she does either and I’m all for her figuring it out as it comes to her, just not in the middle of a session about how to be a be better prepared for married life. And yes, I’m aware that there can be issues with differing spirituality in the home, but I know in my bones that we’ll be able to reconcile any differences in our own way. For me, once I heard the ULC’s statement of “Do only that which is right”, that’s all I needed as it was so simple and really encapsulated how I felt what most religions were trying to get at anyway. I just skirt around the middleman so to speak and follow that idea as best as I can. The other requirement which I didn’t even consider until I started looking was that we wanted a premarital counselor that didn’t necessarily have an interest in being our officiant. Sylvia and I figured that out not too long after we got engaged and apparently a lot of premarital counselors work with you to the point that they end up being your officiant. It’s not required generally, but it seems like it’s stressed a fair amount, at least in the research that I did.

With those two factors in mind, there ended up being only a handful of options that seemed to fit the bill, which seems insane to me considering this is Chicago for crying out loud, but who am I to play armchair philosopher with regards to the state of premarital counselors? I mean, I’m sure there are more than enough people who go to priests either because they want to or there’s a family influence involved or any number of reasons. Anyway, with all of the feelers I sent out, I only heard back from a few people. One wasn’t taking new patients, one seemed kind of standoffish, which was weird from a potential counselor and the last, Couple’s Counseling Associates, was thankfully really nice and informative. They have multiple people to work with and they all have profiles so you can pick someone that you think you’d work best with, which is something you can’t get if the counselor is just an individual doing their thing. Sylvia and I booked our first appointment for January and as a bonus, it turns out that they’re covered under my health insurance too, so it’s going to be pretty inexpensive as well. Not that it was going to be expensive in the first place, but I’ll take any edge I can get with the wedding budget and all.

I’m a bit terrified to go to the first session, but only because I’ve never had anything to do with the mental wellness field before. I think I’m afraid I’m going to be told that I’m completely nuts and how have I made it so long without causing serious harm to everyone I’m around, even though I know that fear is unfounded and I’ll probably end up finding out that the opposite is actually true. Or maybe not, I don’t know. I think I’m a bit nuts anyway.

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