Dear Grace Community,
Before getting married at Grace, every couple is required to go through pre-marital counseling. When I lead couples through this I always say at the start, “This isn’t counseling or an advice giving session. It’s an opportunity to open up areas of conversation.”
There are some things couples haven’t thought about discussing, and other things they avoid discussing. I name those things and invite them into conversation. Usually one person is more interested in the process than the other, but almost 100% of the time, both people end up engaged in the activities and glad for the intentional time.
We do this for couples getting married, and it turns out that couples married 5 years, 25 years, or even 55 years could use some guided conversation too. Marriage is organic, and people and marriages change over time. It’s helpful for couples to sit down and take a 360 degree look at their relationship.
At my request the session unanimously approved offering something like this to the congregation. It’s called Prepare/Enrich. It’s an assessment and process with variations for couples ‘preparing’ for marriage or for couples looking to ‘enrich’ marriages that are beyond the wedding day.
I think of it as a ‘marriage check-up.’ In the same way that one goes to a yearly physical or takes a car in for a tune-up, a marriage check-up can be beneficial to any couple.
There are three trained Prepare/Enrich facilitators in our congregation: the Rev Jennifer Snook, Dr. Joyce Crane, and Alan Crane. If you are interested in this process you will contact one of them. They will set you and your spouse up with an online inventory that you’ll take individually. Then you three will set up a time to go through the assessment for about an hour. The cost for this is $200. If cost is prohibitive please talk with me.
This is not marriage counseling. It could lead to counseling, and I or one of these three people can refer you to a counselor. This is different. It’s an opportunity to take note of strengths and growth areas in your marriage.
John and I went through Prepare/Enrich as part of our pre-marital counseling and found it to be a good spring board for conversation. I still refer to elements of it today. If you have questions about this process or offering please let me know.