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Premarital Class – 2

I thought about just writing out the bullets from the class notes, but I won’t do that. Maybe later I’ll just do several individual posts related to the content of the class and put my weak spin on it with some stories about Shawna and I. For now I want to focus on the role I’ve been asked to do which is observe and give feedback. So here are some random thoughts I’ve been having.

Session 2
Session 2 was just as good as session 1 in terms of content. I’m not sure I’ve gotten over the thought that the message isn’t really getting through to some of the young naive engaged couples, but I’m still hopeful that it is.

One interesting thing Jake did this time was have everyone stand up and introduce themselves and tell about their first date and when they got engaged. I must say I think our story was the best first date. Couldn’t believe some of the McDonald’s and Wendy’s and dorm room movie stories for first dates. It is more common than I would have ever imagined for a couple to do something so lame on a first date. I would have never taken a girl to McDonald’s on a first date. Maybe there is more to the story and it wasn’t as lame as they told it.

Our First Date
We didn’t even tell our first date story as good as it really was. It was that mythical falling in love experience. We ate at Olive Garden then went to the Chattanooga Choo Choo and walked around before taking a horse and buggy ride through the city. After that we went to Stake n Shake for a milk shake and we just sat and talked for a long time…. It was all lovy dovy from there.

Interesting Couples
Back to the class. There are a couple of pairs in there who I can tell are more experienced and very serious about the class. They are a few years older and seem to have either more dating experience or more pain in their past. In one couples case I want to say the pain is becuase of bad dating experience. In the other couples case it seems more like there might be a divorce in one of their history or maybe they came from a broken and divorced home when they were growing up.

I don’t know these couples I’m talking about so this is pure speculation, but one of them had an obvious red flag. If I could talk to him one on one I would want to get to know him a bit to learn the situation, but somewhere in the conversation I would probably have to tell him… Dude – that woman needs your commitment. Get over your past or whatever is causing your pathetic fear of commitment and marry her or let her move on.

Surveys & Homework
Another thing that is good about the class is the take home surveys and homework for both individuals and the couples together to work on. I talked to one couple who says the surveys are tough because they reveal both your good AND BAD stuff about yourself. That’s good because once you both know each other knows your good and bad then you can start working through it.

Mine and Shawna’s premarriage counselling was primarily ONLY a survey. There was no class to lecture us on God’s purpose and plan for marriage or to show us how to communicate, handle money, and resolve conflict. Just a survey. It was a good survey but it wasn’t enough.

Maybe we should talk about the surveys in the class time. The class is scheduled for 2 hours and Jake is really trying to find how to get everthing in to the 4 – 2 hour sessions. But I think it will be important in the future to try and make some time for couples to talk about the surveys in a small group setting or with a mentor (both are ideas Jake is already thinking about). I think making it to where couples can get to know someone with some experience and talk through things with their help and guidance will be good.

Suzanne – Jake’s wife, does a wonderful job bringing the women’s perspective. She is very honest and transparent in communicating with the ladies. She pours out a ton of short thoughts and tips that in my opinion the women should be scribbling down as fast as their hands can write – Lord knows I’m writing down the man’s stuff as fast as I can. Anyway, Suzanne’s talks are very good just as Jake’s are.

One thing Suzanne said that I think is right on the money was “Some of this stuff might be more relevant to you about six months AFTER you’ve been married”. That’s what I’ve been trying to say about getting through the goo goo eyes. Some people might get it and remember in six months all the stuff they’re hearing now, but others will put the materials aside and forget all about it. I think scheduled follow ups with couples, or the idea of mentoring and accountability, or something for about a year or two AFTER marriage would be a huge plus for the “pre”marital ministry.

We’ll see how it all comes together and evolves in to another great way NewSpring does ministry.

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