On Labor Day weekend, I received an email from a HuffingtonPost Live producer. They were doing a segment couples in premarital counseling, not because they believe they have problems, but because they want to make their marriage last. She'd stumbled upon my blog (this one from Mpls | St. Paul Magazine - Three Non-Romantic Things I'm Glad I Did Before My Wedding) and wondered if I'd like to participate in the HuffPo Live's discussion via webcam.
Not only did a live interview on Internet TV sound scary as hell (#252), the topic excited me. Our premarital sessions were in the top five things Josh & I did pre-wedding. It offered scheduled time away from wedding planning to discuss the bigger picture (you're not planning a party, you're planning a life together...remember?). Our counselor helped us identify our relationship's strongest aspects as well as our weak spots. We discussed fighting fair and how to de-escalate an argument.
We learned a lot about each other & about our relationship. It was awesome.
I believe our counseling sessions shows we're A) mature adults who B) believe our relationship has room for improvement and C) that we're not too proud or overly-confident to admit that we don't have it all figured out. It takes some serious balls to put your relationship's nitty-gritty details out there. It requires humility and vulnerability. I think those are two extremely important qualities in every single relationship in your life, not just romantic ones.
I thought the HuffPo segment went well.
I even had some smart stuff to say and my hair looked pretty good (you can watch the whole thing here)! And then, like a GD idiot, I read the comments. Some of my favorites:
Today is my 2 year wedding anniversary and in those two years we have grown together, like we should. No counseling, just common sense.
If you think you need a counselor, you probably shouldn't be marrying at all. Just stay single.
Counseling for arguing and finances- totally not prepared for marriage if one needs that.
My blood boiled.
I immediately wanted to post things like, "Good job! Two whole years! That must be a world record or something," "Yep, we asked for an expert's science-based advice... better give up on the whole thing" and "OMG! You're right! If I were prepared for marriage, I would've learned that trolling on the Internet anonymously is the appropriate way to confront another person." There were also comments about me slurring my words and sounding drunk, which was obviously due to a microphone issue. To say these comments annoyed me is an understatement. (I did like the She looks like Emma Stone comments. Who wouldn't?)
I took a few deep breaths, then thought: What kind of loser d-bag is watching the HuffPo Live and taking the time rip on a stranger's marriage?
Haters gonna hate, trollers gonna troll. Whatcha gonna do?
I ignored the nasty comments (well, until now). However, this whole thing has me thinking about how we take care of our relationships. You change your car's oil regularly. You visit the dentist every six months (kinda) because you don't want your teeth to fall out. Most of us take preventative actions in a lot of areas... but you're an absolute failure if you work on your romantic relationship? That's BS.
So for those folks who think counseling is a crutch, those people banking on their 'common sense' when shit hits the fan, those people who said "I do" knowing they already had all the answers...
That's why I didn't marry you. That's why I married this amazing guy.
[Cue Taylor Swift! <<< I'm embarrassed that I kind like this song.]
Did you do pre-marital counseling (mandatory or otherwise)? Do you wish you had & why? Let's discuss!
P.S. Some other non-traditional wedding things we did: I picked out my own engagement ring, wore a muumuu at my bachelorette party in Palm Springs (the epicenter of nightlife...not!) and we got married in a boxing gym. We did keep with tradition in one big way... I took my husband's last name & how I feel about it really surprised me.