12 Things I Wish My Pastor Told Me in Pre-marital Counseling

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I thought about re-titling this to, “Things I couldn’t hear before the wedding but learned in marriage…the hard way.”  I wish the me, then, had the wisdom of the me, now. I wonder if I even would have understood. It seems I can only learn some things by experience and participation. I have a feeling I’m not the only one.

Valentine’s Day naturally brings reflection on our relationships. This year I gave my husband of nearly a decade a dozen roses with a little twist.  Instead of flowers, each one is made from journal paper I’ve written on, describing the ways I’ve seen love bloom in our life together. When he unwraps them he’ll find some tear-stained, others torn and many that will make him smile, laugh and even blush. Our bouquet has not blossomed without thorns (in fact, a LOT of thorns), but it grows more beautiful, and we’ve been able to grow up. In a similar way, I want to unfold with you a dozen realizations marriage has brought me that could have been helpful to receive before walking down the aisle. I hope you too, can add to the arrangement.

  1. You don’t need your marriage to look good. You need it to be good.
  2. Sleep naked the first year. You’ll learn a lot about conflict resolution.
  3. Marriage will reveal a selfish beast and give you the opportunity to change.
  4. Love lives out what is best for the beloved.
  5. Just because _______ is familiar, it doesn’t make it right. There will be things you need to leave in order to cleave.
  6. Extraordinary love reveals itself in the ordinary.
  7. You’re going to need help. Read again.
  8. Love wants to burn off everything that is not love so that what remains is only love, real and forged.
  9. Unity is not the absence of individuality. Embrace one another without eliminating the other.
  10. The turning point in your marriage will feel like an ending.  It is.  And that finally allows for the beginning.
  11. Love doesn’t find excuses. It faces the truth. It will meet conflict with conviction and grace to get to connection.
  12. Marriage is a miracle unfolded over time. Celebrate often.

There are so many stories behind these lessons. Figuring out marriage is not always a pleasant process. However, it does provide the opportunity to be transformed further into who God created us to be as He draws us closer to one another and His own heart. This is part of the promise.

To my own Beloved: Thank you for this journey together. The rocky road has bruised and blessed us. I would choose you and our story all over again.

(Yes, you’re still on dishes tonight…but, I’ve got a surprise for dessert!…)

 

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Kelly Grace has been married to the passionate and patient Tony Grace since 2003. She is a pastor, counselor and learner alongside the community at Lexington Rescue Mission.

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