Archive for the ‘Premarital Counseling’ Category

The big plan for our wedding recaps was to start at the beginning and work our way through the process. And I think we will do that eventually… 🙂 But Sunday night’s episode of Desperate Housewives reminded me about our premarital counseling and how thankful I am for that experience, and I’ve been thinking about it all week. So what better time to blog about that than when I am feeling inspired?

I always knew that I want to do premarital counseling. Coming from a divorced home, it had always been important to me to find ways to overcome such a fate for myself and my future husband. Divorce is messy and painful, and it leaves so many scars in the lives of those who have been through it. I learned at an early age that children of divorced parents are more likely to get divorced themselves, and I vowed then and there to not become part of that statistic. I also learned somewhere along the way that couples who go through premarital counseling are less likely to get divorced. I wanted to do premarital counseling to give myself that fighting chance. Not to mention, residents of the state of Tennessee have to pay $99 for a marriage license, but there is a $60 discount for couples who go through pre-marital counseling. More likely to stick together and $60 off? I’ll take it!

So this is where Terry Smith comes into the picture.

Ryan and I have been attending church with the Family of God at Woodmont Hills for some time now. So when we were discussing our premarital counseling options, Woodmont Hills seemed like the perfect place to start. We called the church office and were directed to Terry Smith for our counseling and quickly had our first appointment scheduled.

To be honest, I was actually a little nervous on the way to our first session. I had heard several horror stories about how uncomfortable, awkward, pointless or painful premarital counseling had been for friends and acquaintances of mine. And between those horror stories and the information I derived from the movie “License to Wed” with Mandy Moore and Robin Williams, the picture I had in my mind wasn’t a very good one.

After our first meeting with Terry, all of those fears were laid to rest. We spent the first session learning about Terry’s approach to premarital counseling, which mainly focused on creating a genogram for each of us. A genogram is a lot like a family tree, but it goes into more depth by also taking other important relationships into consideration and allowing you to visualize the patterns between the relationships in your life. It was such an amazing experience for both of us—a meaningful discovery process that forced us to be honest and open with one another. Hopefully, we can go into more details about the counseling experience in another post down the road. The overall message we learned during this process is that as much as we try to overcome negative feelings and experiences from our past, they are still inside and have the potential to negatively affect our relationships today. We have to consciously choose to not let those childhood defense mechanisms rule our lives. But even more importantly, we need to take the time to be aware of one another’s past and the reasons why we may react the way we do. When you know that, so many things a person does in a relationship make so much more sense.  

If you read the subject line of this post, you are probably wondering what any of this has to do with Desperate Housewives. Well, in Sunday’s episode, Tom and Lynette (who are married) hire this older gentleman Roy to be their handyman and do some projects around the house. But every time Lynette tells Roy to do something, he goes around her and asks Tom what he wants. When Lynette confronts Roy about this, Roy tells her that Tom is the man of the house, and he is just trying to show him the respect he deserves for that position. Lynette immediately fires Roy and later tells her husband Tom what happened. So Tom goes to Roy and explains it all to him. He says that Lynette grew up without a father and with an alcoholic mother, so she had to be responsible for everything. He goes on to say that as a result, Lynette has a fear of things falling apart and feels a need to control things. He says that even though Lynette can’t control everything, she can control Tom, if he lets her. She he does. Because it makes her feel safe. And that is his job as her husband—to make her feel safe.

Sounds like Tom went through one of Terry Smith’s classes. Even though Lynette might have control issues that she needs to work on, Tom knows his wife and he loves her and he realizes that her actions now are a result of what she went through in her past. He doesn’t yell about it or try to force her to change. He just acknowledges it and gives her what she needs. How beautiful is that?

And that’s why I’m so thankful for our premarital counseling. Because even though we haven’t quite perfected it yet, it gave us that foundation of knowing one another’s past and patterns in relationships.

 I have a tendency to be a little long-winded. I think Ryan might have summed up everything I’m trying to say here in a couple sentences. He said he thinks one of the big reasons people fight is because they don’t put themselves in the other person’s shoes (and we’re guilty of that too). What Terry taught us to remember is that we are all broken, and we need to be sensitive to that.

By the way, we definitely recommend Terry Smith at Woodmont Hills to anyone looking for premarital counseling. You can get the church’s contact information here: http://www.woodmont.org/. Terry also has a blog for his poetry that you can check out here: http://yourstorymatters2him.wordpress.com/.


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