It has started – the premarital class at NewSpring. Not long ago I mentioned in this post a little of how I feel about PRE-marriage counseling and the excitement I had to see how NewSpring was going to do it. Well now I’ve gotten a first glimpse and it is just as anything else NewSpring does – EXCELLENT.
Since that recent post we were contacted by one of the pastors who knew we were interested in being involved. He invited us to attend the premarital class to give our feedback and become familiar with how they’re doing it so that in the future we can possibly be involved in a small group or mentoring type capacity. Of course we agreed.
I didn’t realize what it would be like as a couple married six and a half years sitting in a premarital class. To have an objective view we have to try and take ourselves back to that six month time period before we got married. That changes everything. The old saying “hind site is 20/20” applies well to this scenario. It’s very easy for us to look back and realize how important premarriage counselling is, but to have an objective view of the class I have to ask myself, “What would it have taken six months before our wedding to REALLY communicate and teach us the things we needed to know. What would have really gotten through to our love stricken wills to make us receive the counselling as it was intended?”
As I sat there taking notes of almost everything being said I realized that I might not have given enough credit to our premarriage counsellor’s intentions (the guy who counselled Shawna and me). He probably meant well. I mean he gave us a nice survey that we were supposed to talk about and resolve our differences (we just pretty much agreed on everything and didn’t really discuss any of it). But he didn’t push us by stressing the inevitable facts of life. Why didn’t he stress the importance of digging up red flags for us to address (cause Lord knows we had them).
Maybe my negative assumptions from before were true. He was too busy to give us more time. He might have considered premarriage counselling a burdensome “ministry” in general. He might have even been bothered by the fact that he was having to do this favor for my father-in-law. But what if I give him some benefit of the doubt. What if he is really passionate about premarriage counselling but he knows how hard it is to get young “in-love” people to listen and receive wise counsel? Remember this post about “in-love”. What if he could see in our eyes that we just couldn’t be helped, that we just weren’t going to focus on future problems now or at least postpone our wedding much less change our minds about getting married at all?
What if we were all just going through the motions to give us a check mark to say we had premarriage counselling and were good to go for the wedding. I think a lot of couples and ministers treat it that way.
Jake Beaty and his team (David Nimmons, Julie Keith, even his wife Suzanne, etc) have done an excellent job putting together the material for this class. Everything is well referenced in the Bible and well organized in the outline. It is very thorough and appropriate. I have no doubt that the NewSpring team is 100% on target with the content and their passion and intention for the class.
I just can’t get it out of my mind that it is almost impossible to get even the best message through to engaged people. They’re right smack in the middle of having the “in-love” experience and their blind to a lot of reality. You can look around the room and tell which ones are or are not past the illusion of being “in-love”.
So as far as my feedback after one session goes… Excellent. I was skeptical about the classroom setting but I think it works for such brilliant material the team is delivering. The approach of “we kinda want to talk you out of it” is good. Suzanne did a great job reminding us why we didn’t want kids but we’re so blessed God had a different plan. Everyone in the class isn’t gonna want kids either now. Everything was so good. My mind is just racing around the thought of how to break that “in-love” haze in the eyes and get people to take it as seriously as it is intended.
I’m sure I’ll be more and more impressed with each session to come and I’ll probably get over it, but for now my mind is racing through thoughts of how to get through to such a dumb audience. I say it that way cause I was in those shoes myself – seven years ago. I wouldn’t trade my marriage for anything, but we have made it through struggles that a lot of relationships don’t survive. Those are the people I’m passionate to reach – before they get married.