Marriage: Will Premarital Counselling Help?

I don’t share the sentiments of Tom Cruise’s character Jerry Maguire when he made famous the line: ‘you complete me’ to convince his lover that he loves her.  What Jerry Maguire was saying then was that without Dorothy (his wife), he cannot be happy.  This part of the movie gives a poor impression to society that marriage is all about 2 miserable people coming together to be happy.

Marriage is a relationship that takes from both the people involved and anyone who is ‘incomplete’ will certainly feel the demands and will one day be burnt out. By ‘incomplete’ I mean people who are not emotionally self sustaining who still depend on others for their happiness.

A lot of myths have shrouded the true picture of what marriage is; and it is usually made of cartoon based fantasies offering a life of ‘living happily ever after’ with their partners. The media imparts to our youngsters that marriage will solve any problem of sadness and loneliness.  Now, as young adults, these people fall into the trap of marrying simply because they learned to believe that marriage will solve their emotional problems.

Marriage will not solve any of our problems (emotional or not).  Whether it’s financial, personal, emotional or social problems, married people can testify that the problems they had when they were single were only magnified after marriage.

Well then, am I against marriage?  Certainly not.  I am writing to address the issues of couples that I have encountered who carry the cartoon myths that marriage will solve all of their problems.  I’ve seen couples whose relationships are failing and they simply thought that marriage will bring them closer to one another.  I’ve encountered lonely and depressed people who thought that falling in love and marrying will make them permanently happy.  I even met men and women who marry just because all of their friends are already married. I’ve come across countless 18-year-olds who marry simply because they want freedom from their families.

The outcomes are, of course, not similar to what the cartoons have portrayed.  These people sought to leave a prison of sadness and emptiness only to enter a new one which demanded more responsibility, more maturity, more resilience, and more time and commitment from them.  To marry with the myths in mind will prove to be a danger to the stability of the marital relationship of ‘incomplete’ people who expected nothing less than finding an insatiable pool of happiness.

Premarital counselling is not against early marriages. It is a necessary stage in deciding for marriage and it is against couples marrying with the wrong expectations. No mature person can admit that they can always give and give without receiving; they will not last a year in the relationship.  On the other hand, people who just demand and take will simply burn out their partners.  It is counselling’s job is also to assess the maturity of the couple together with the maturity of their expectations.

Wedding bands are two complete rings.  Not two halves joining as one.

Marriage can only be enjoyed and maximized when it is engaged in the right purpose; and this is for the union of two complete people who are ready for the next stage of their lives and who are not just simply covering up for their past or present hurts.  Love is an excellent reason for marriage, although we have to clarify that the love they have is not born out of confusion of some dependency or insecurity issue.  Love is all about giving and we need to be full of love (complete) to enjoy a fully mature marriage of two complete people. Marriage is more than the fulfillment of one’s needs; it is the giving of ourselves for the fulfillment of the other.