Written by Raizel Weiss Heitzer, MA, NCC, LPC
SO YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED?
Congratulations! It’s probably the happiest time of your life. Wrapped in an endorphin filled cloud of bliss, you feel more comfortable and closer to your fiancé than you have ever felt with anyone before. But could there be issues hiding behind this bliss? There may be things you have been reluctant to talk about, whether you just don’t know how to form the words, are embarrassed, or are afraid of the other’s reaction. Are you fully comfortable talking about sex? How about money? Have you discussed how you will raise your children if any, what roles you will each play? Have you noticed any red flags? If any of this sounds familiar, you are not alone! Most of us have things we are nervous to talk about with our partners. It could be a matter of self-confidence, shyness, or taboos left over from our families of origin. You’re so in love, you reason. You’re sure everything will work itself out in its own time, so for now you just brush it under the rug.
Well, the time is now…. before you get married! Facing the hard topics and learning how to talk about them with your partner so you both feel safe, understood, and respected is a cornerstone of a successful marriage.
You might think you have moved on from how you were raised and want to do things differently from how your parents lived, and you have! But you would be amazed at how much still lingers behind the scenes. For instance, think about how your parents fought. Did they talk respectfully and work things out together? Most of us grew up in homes with at least some dysfunction and that often shows up on the subconscious level. How do you act when you are upset with your partner? Do either of you withdraw your love, give the silent treatment, act passive-aggressively, need time apart, want to always push through, pretend the problem doesn’t exist, get loud and aggressive, play the victim, cry, bully, leave, act out? How do these ways of dealing with conflict mesh with each other? For instance, what happens if you are someone who needs space and time to think about a problem and your partner is inclined to stay and battle things out until the issue is solved? How do you find resolution? What happens if you don’t work things out? Do you have sex and pretend the problem doesn’t exist? Does one of you always seem to give in? Are you able to let it go or do you harbor resentment? Do you bring up past ways in which your partner has wronged you?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to bring up uncomfortable subjects with the assurance of healthy and loving communication? You can learn how to resolve conflict in ways that support each other rather than triggering old patterns. Knowing what your partner needs to feel safe is a beginning. Finding ways to show your partner they have been heard instead of only stressing your point is another. Showing your partner you are willing to compromise is golden.
Raizel Weiss Heitzer is a transformational psychotherapist and officiant who has worked with couples for close to two decades and has designed a comprehensive, thought-provoking couple’s questionnaire that addresses these and so many other important topics. Pre-marital counseling is a wonderful way to approach some of these hard to talk about issues in a safe and caring environment.
The Total Package offers pre-marital counseling and officiating services which can be utilized together or separately. Raizel will work with you to design a ceremony uniquely your own whether you use her services or have your own officiant.