I love counseling couples. I love watching angry, conflicted husbands and wives slowly, through the process of Mediation, learn to understand what is troubling them. And then – DING! – see the light come on as they make that leap of progress together.
But I really love doing pre-marriage (program) even more. Pre-marriage planning (my own program is called STEPprep©) for a couple planning to create a stepfamily is different. It’s much more challenging.
And it should be! With divorce rates for 2nd marriages at 66% and for 3rd marriages at 75%, any couple who just “Hopes for the best,” or trusts that “Love will conquer all our problems,” isn’t being realistic. They are planning to fail, even if they don’t realize it.
And they are planning to cause their children even more trauma and damage from ANOTHER divorce and another broken home. Children who follow their parents through multiple divorces are much more likely to be negatively impacted for the rest of their lives.
Pre-planning for your next marriage is VITAL. It is not optional or a special extra or just a good idea if we have time and money for it. Believe me – I have taught divorcing Parents classes for the State Family Court System since 2004. No one expects to divorce again – yet most find themselves going through another divorce.
The reason I love pre-marriage planning so much, whether it is in my offices locally, or more frequently long distance via video conference and email, is because it is so much fun!
Pre-re-marriage planning (STEPprep) participants are:
1. More positive and optimistic,
2. Eager to learn, and
3. Looking to a Bright future ahead
I created STEPprep in 2007 in response to a need I saw repeatedly in my stepparenting class. Couples were struggling because they had no preparation before they married, and they said they were surprised or stunned by the situations that popped up in their new marriages.
My Goal is to bring reality to their world. Not to bring them down from their joy, but to help them be prepared for the challenges ahead. And maybe to Scare them some.
I try to Teach the bethrotheds a lot about themselves they haven’t faced or known before.
Together, we open all the closets, junk drawers, old dusty boxes, exposing the “skeletons” from their previous lives and previous marriages. Most are so in love (sometimes desperately so) they aren’t looking realistically either at themselves or at their Baggage from their former marriage experiences, and who all they will bring into the new marriage.
We also look at methods for handling the shocks that will come up. And how to fight right so the fight leads to more understanding and growth, not hurt feelings. (Because, hold onto your hat, you will fight much more than you will make love in your new relationship.)
I will help you come to accept the person you are marrying so you don’t fall into the trap of trying to “fix” them later. So you can both be comfortable in your “shared canoe” (without becoming afraid you’ll fall out every time he/she moves). And to realize that THIS is the person you have chosen to partner with for the rest of your life.
Because, If you start trying to change or “fix” each other, you are saying:
• You don’t like who/how they are
• You don’t approve of how God made them
• You think you could have done better
• You may, some day, go looking for someone who does fit your wants
SPECIAL NOTICE: due to the intrusion of the coronavirus (Covid-19), this premarriage program – and all my programs including one-on-one mediation/counseling – are available on-line, via telephone, or through video conferencing. Email me for details and to set up your appointment: Coach@FamilyMediator.org
Right now, as is usual for the first of the year, pre-re-marriage programs are way down
After holidays, most couples are not in the heavy planning stages of getting married
But now is the time to start thinking about how you will handle stepkids, in-laws, even EX-in-laws. If you think you should prepare before you make the commitment to yourself, your children, and your significant other, contact me directly so we can talk about how to get a program going for you.
You can read all about my STEPprep program here: http://www.familymediator.org/stepprep.html