About Chuck and Eileen Rife

Chuck Rife is a licensed professional counselor and marriage/family therapist who's worked with Total Life Counseling, Inc. of Roanoke, Virginia since 1988. Eileen Rife, a veteran homeschool mom of twenty years, works as a freelance writer, author, and speaker. Together, they conduct marriage seminars designed to grow godly marriages that last a lifetime! Chuck and Eileen are also certified to administer and evaluate the Prepare-Enrich assessment tool for couples.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Questions to Ask Before Marriage

June is the traditional month for weddings. Often, couples ask me (Chuck) about what they need to do before making a marital commitment. Below are some of the questions they ask.

1.What are some important things to consider when selecting a mate?
When selecting a mate, ask yourself the question, "Do we share the same goals, values, and beliefs?" Also, look at how the guy treats his mother, because that's likely how he'll treat his wife. Look at the girl's relationship with her father, because that's likely how she'll relate to her husband.
2. How important is premarital counseling?

Very important doesn't begin to describe how vital premarital counseling is in my view. How sad to see a couple spend thousands of dollars on the wedding, reception, and honeymoon and nothing to little on marriage preparation only to find themselves divorced after six - twelve months. If they'd taken a fraction of that money and invested in counseling they could have better understood their strengths and worked on their weaknesses. Often, the differences we admire in one another before marriage can become the very things we detest in our mates after the wedding. Premarital counseling helps a couple learn to use their differences to complement each other. In my practice, I've noted that the vast majority of clients coming for marital counseling have not invested in substantial premarital counseling. Only a couple sessions with the pastor discussing the wedding details combined with his admonition, "Oh, by the way, be nice to each other on the honeymoon." A wonderful tool for couples is the PREPARE/ENRICH assessment. This online resource (www.prepare-enrich.com) helps couples identify their strengths and weaknesses in ten areas which will then be discussed with a counselor certified to evaluate their assessment. Average length of time for premarital counseling using this tool is six to eight weeks. I even encourage couples to meet with me again after they've been married a few months to see how they are doing.
3. How involved should parents be in the "pre-marriage" process? How might this involvement look?

Ideally, parents should be modeling a healthy marital relationship long before the child is old enough to consider a potential spouse. This modeling will often be caught more by example than taught by words, but both are essential. Teach your child what to look for in a spouse. In our family, we used the book of Proverbs to help our kids identify characteristics to foster in themselves and to look for in a potential mate. Later, when the child is ready to select a mate, his/her focus will be on looking for these qualities which also line up with the parents' belief system. What a joy to have all three of our son-in-laws approach me prior to marriage asking if they could get to know my daughters with a view toward a lifetime commitment. Our personal interaction with them after I gave my blessing differed, mainly due to geographical logistics, but my wife and I tried to spend time getting to know each of them via occasional visits, phone calls, and email.  
4. Do you think it's important to meet family members (bride's parents, etc.) prior to the wedding? And if so, what kinds of things can/should they be looking for?

Yes, it's important to meet family members prior to the wedding, if at all possible. Again, it's good to see your potential spouse relate to his family, to glean her family of origin's mannerisms, traditions, and ways of communicating. This will help you better understand why your intended does the things s/he does.
5. What are some "red flags" that can signal danger?

If one is still in daily contact with a parent, this could indicate enmeshment or difficulty leaving emotionally so that cleaving can take place with the spouse. When goals, values, beliefs in any major area (spiritual life, children, sex, finances, in-laws), are polar opposites, this can certainly be cause for pause to reflect on the stability of the relationship over the long term. As a Christian who adheres to biblical principles, I raise another red flag if one is a believer in Christ and the other is not (2 Corinthians 6:14).

Perhaps you have more questions you'd like to ask. Feel free to post a question below and we'll leave a comment. :) 

No comments:

Post a Comment