Thursday, March 6, 2008

JBo Knows: Pre-Marital Counseling, Part 1

Good day, gentle blogger. As you may recall, after Mark wrote a post about pre-marital counseling, I offered to write about my experiences in pre-marital counseling since I was about to undergo the program. He also told me that when I was ready to post about it, I was to log in and post away. So if you want to take the day off to keep healing from your recent sickness Mark, I've got you covered!

Last night was actually the second time Sarah (my fiance, naturally) and I had met with our counselor. I didn't write an article about the first meeting as it was pretty uneventful; in truth, it was more of a fact-finding mission for the therapist, which makes sense since she needs to know what to talk about!

So yesterday evening we drove into the city and, after a stop-off to see Sarah's recently-returned-from-Phoenix parents, we went to our session. We waited a few minutes for our therapist to come and get us, which is normal. When she came out front she looked at us with a rather confused look; it seems that when she called me to book the appointment, she didn't write it down, or erased it somehow. Considering we had just driven over an hour and a half on a work night to come in, we weren't pleased. Our options were to reschedule, or wait until 9:15 and finish around 10:45 (remember the hour and a half drive home). We decided we were already there so we may as well just do the session late.

So after killing some time at McDonald's, we went back to find the exterior doors locked. No big, the therapist said she'd come get us if we got locked out. While we were waiting some people were leaving the building, so we thought "Great, we can get in". The woman exiting the building would not let us in and it took some convincing to make her stand aside (I had a fleeting thought that if I really wanted to get in she really couldn't stop me, but that would be a much bigger can of worms!). Once we were inside we discovered she had alerted security to our presence, so he came in to check with the therapist that we actually had an appointment. I know he was just doing his job, but I was getting a little annoyed at everyone looking at me like I was a criminal!

Anyway, we finally got our session started at 9:30. Our therapist, I'm not going to give out her real name but let's call her Aretha, cause I like that name, brought out copies of our Prepare exam results. For those unaware, the Prepare exam is a multiple choice quiz we had to do before our second counseling session; we had to do the quiz separately. The point is for the couple to answer honestly separately from each other, and then discuss the results in the session.

Anyway, Aretha pulls out our results, and she gets a very surprised looked on her face, and makes several surpised noises as she quickly flips through. Naturally, our first reaction was "Uh-oh, that's not good!" It turned out that Aretha was shocked at how postive our results were; on a graph charting different marriage types and the percentage of typical answers, we were literally off the chart in one or two aspects.

Now, you at home may be thinking that we cheated, that's why our answers matched up so well. I can't really blame you for thinking that, because we had almost considered answering together, but we decided that no, if we were going to do pre-marital counseling, we may as well do it right.

So we went through the survey results, painfully slow at some points. Aretha went over every answer very thoroughly, seeing how we matched up. We kind of felt that she could have spent a little less time telling us how old we were and that we were both caucasion, but whatever.

We went through 10 different areas of a marriage (thinks like communication, conflict resolution, marriage expectations, etc) and picked a few to discuss. We also picked some to discuss next time. The process is pretty logical.

What did we get out of it? Honestly, not very much. Why? Because we've already talked about all of the issues that were in the Prepare, most of them before we even took the test. Sarah and I are both pretty logical people, and we know things aren't always going to be rainbows and skittles. I knew within 2 months of dating Sarah that I wanted to marry her, but I made myself wait to propose because I wanted a stronger relationship first, and I'm glad I did.

For those who haven't discussed things ahead of time, I think the Prepare system is pretty good, and the counseling would be very beneficial. We have one more session to go yet, so we'll see what we take home from that. I really hope I'm in bed before 1:30 next time though.

Keep your stick on the ice!

-- Jay Boaz


Mark said...

Hey Jay, thanks for the post, it's awesome! Wow, you had, like, the worst beginning to a pre-marital session ever! I can only imagine your bitterness at being forgotten and then locked out. Glad to hear that you are compatible in so many areas, that bodes well for your future marriage. "Rainbows and skittles," that's sweet. I think it would be a good name for your blog too! Anyway, hope things go smoother and are even more beneficial in your final session, take care!

Stacey said...

Very wise to make sure your relationship was strong. You seem like you have it all weighed out and a good head on your shoulders.

But I just have to ask, only three sessions? That doesn't seem like a lot--with or without having discussed things ahead of time.

Just curious if that's normal "these days".

Jay Boaz said...

Well, normally it would be 4 one hour sessions and 1 hour long session after we're married. However, since we're driving in from out of town, they allowed us to do 1 one hour session and 2 hour and a half sessions.


Jay Boaz said...

I should clarify; we're cutting it down to 3 sessions before and one after, not just to 3. :)