Idealism and Marriage Counseling

I just finished premarital counseling (which sounds bad because it sounds like premarital sex but actually it’s good)—not getting counseled, of course, but counseling. I loved it. I’ve never “counseled” anyone before—not formally—so it was exciting and fun. I guess for Justin who does this all the time it wasn’t as exciting—still fun of course. :)

I love talking to people about love. I love hearing their stories and figuring out why they like being together so much. I love talking about my love and about what Justin and I do to keep it growing. I just love love.

I remember being so excited before Justin and my first counseling session. We’d each filled out surveys designed to anticipate future conflicts. And while we hadn’t shared them yet I was confidant we couldn’t possibly disagree on a single thing. I was unshakably optimistic. I think of that verse in I Corinthians 13, “love believes all things.”

It would be easy to say I was naive. Maybe I was. But if I was, I still am. I still believe all things. I am very optimistic about my relationship. Not because I’m trying to deceive myself into thinking my marriage is better than it is, but because I’m happier when I’m optimistic about it.

I heard a great lesson recently about what makes marriages good. The speaker’s main point was that happy couples expect the best from one another. They don’t jump to negative conclusions. They just believe that their spouses will make selfless, thoughtful choices. Always. Even when previous experience says otherwise.

I like this. It may seem ridiculous, but I’m more satisfied in my marriage when I make room for Justin to make mistakes—without reasoning from them that he doesn’t love me or he doesn’t care about me or he’s selfish. When Justin does something that bothers me, I think of a good reason for it. Sometimes I have to think harder than other times, but always I give him the benefit of the doubt. And it works. I walk away loving him more.

I would think this was silly and maybe even unhealthy if it wasn’t a medically prescribed behavior. There’s science behind it, studies and research and stuff, so it must be good for me. And there’s Bible behind it, too. Can’t argue with that.