At my church, there is a “requirement” that the couples get marriage counseling by their pastor before getting married. I think that this is a wonderful idea, while Jed is a little more apprehensive about it. I’ll let him speak for himself about that. The pastor who is marrying us is Jim Gane, my old youth pastor, bible teacher, and volleyball coach all four years of high school. He was probably the person who influenced me the most in high school. Needless to say, I knew him pretty well and vice versa. Jim is a very blunt, no beating around the bush kind of person, and Jed had heard some things that might have made him a little scared to meet him, so I feel that he was dreading this meeting. I was excited, and a little scared as well.
Jed here. It’s not that I was afraid of Jim; he was important to Tiffany so she put a lot of stock in his opinion. Anyone like that has to be pretty remarkable. I’m not really sure why I’m so nervous about “counseling” except that it feels to me like something to do when there are problems. I know that’s not how this particular counseling works, but there’s more baggage. Back when Tiffany and I started dating a lot of our mutual friends thought that we were a flash in the pan; totally wrong for each other. I know how good we are together, but I think that there’s still the fear that someone will look into our relationship from the outside and condemn it. Counseling – like the “Are you ready to get married” books – works by finding the weaknesses. It’s actively destructive in order to build a stronger union. I guess I am hesitant to give an outside party too much power. As it turned out though, the session wasn’t as bad as I was worrying it would be.
Jed had written previously about the books that Jim had us go through before we got to the session. While we forgot to bring the books, we flew through it with flying colors and no “red lights”. Then Jim proceeded to give us the whirlwind tour of his usual seven weeks of counseling in an hour and a half. I really wish we had more time, because so much of what he said was so valuable, but I think for us, we knew the basics, it’s the details that we need. At any rate, he ended up recommending about four or five books (and one sex tape…) for us to study before the wedding. We’re both smart cats so I think he let us get away with the “do it yourself” version of marriage counseling, and if we had any problems or questions, to call him.
I was rather proud of one aspect of the night. Pastor Jim had four cornerstones of a healthy marriage, but he could only remember three: faith, forgiveness, and commmunication. Based on that list, I was able to figure out what was missing: honor/respect. Go me!
Some of the books that were recommended were: Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas, Why Marriages Succeed or Fail by John Gottman, The Marriage Builder by Larry Crabb and The Gift of Honor by Gary Smalley. The sex tapes – essentially a how-to for him and her to be ‘enjoyed’ separately to maximize the wedding night bliss – was by some guy named Ed and yeiled the somewhat frightening meme “Going to Bed with Ed…”
Tiffany with Jim
Jed also had a chance to see the inside of the church that we will be married in for the first time. All, very exciting.
The church was actually pretty nice. Tiffany’s mom had said that – photographically – it wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing. But in the lense of a talented photographer like Rafael, I’m sure it will look great. Good lines…
Tiffany walks down the aisle. It’s the same aisle that she walked down to graduate, and the one she’ll walk down again on our wedding day.