Recently Ben and I have had the opportunity to do some pre-marital counseling with a couple. It's our first time doing the entire counseling together. After the first time we met with them, Ben and I looked at each other almost giddy with excitement.
Pre-marital counseling is fun. Really fun. Generally, we do more marriage counseling than pre-marriage...just because most of the people around us are already married. Marriage counseling and fun rarely go together. Most of the time is spent with two people not-feeling very loving and trying to convince the couple that they can, in fact, repair the damage that's been done...pre-marital counseling involves trying to equip two people head over heals in love, to avoid the damage in the first place. One couple is in the valley, and the other, at the top of the world.
In pre-marital you've got two people who are desperately in love, and blissfully hopeful about their future. They're open to ideas, cautions, and plans. They want to do whatever it's going to take to keep the loving feeling they have. They're listening.
I like when people listen. I especially like giving counsel to people who are actually listening. As I look at ministry...from my perspective as the pastors wife, my hardest part in it is trying to minister to people who want answers, who want direction, who want to change...but most of the time they are not genuinely listening.
It didn't take me long in ministry to realize that I was only going to offer advice or counsel when asked...and even then I'm not sure they're always hearing what I'm saying. ;)
And through all the counseling...there's one lesson that God keeps pounding into my heart: It is so, so much easier to avoid the pitfalls of life, than it is to get out of them.
It's true in marriage, and it's true in life.
I think we make life more difficult than it needs to be sometimes. Is life full of hard stuff? Yep, for sure. But do we add selfish over-dramatics to it as well? Often.
I came across this verse this morning: Micah 6:8 "The Lord has told you what is good. He has told you what He wants from you: Do what is right to other people. Love being kind to others. And live humbly, trusting your God."
Sounds like a pretty good verse to build a healthy, godly marriage and life on. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated...just a matter of doing. That verse is going on my fridge. Today.