{living in sin} 21 things going through my mind during the first pre-marital counseling session

by Rachel on September 4, 2012

A couple weeks ago, Eric and I attended our first pre-marital counseling session. Here’s what was going through my mind before, during, and after the session.

  2. Oooh, this house is nice!
  3. Holy shit, that’s a lot of paperwork.
  4. Wow, I didn’t even know one could be on that many drugs.
  5. I feel like she’s going to think I’m really boring.
  6. Oh, questions on daddy issues! Score! This is where I really shine.
  7. Who am I kidding? Daddy issues are a dime a dozen around these parts.
  8. I wonder what Eric is answering to all these questions.
  9. Oh, she’s a really nice lady! Or is she just making us think that so we’ll tell her more things?
  10. This is the most comfortable couch ever.
  11. Why is she asking me about my drinking habits? I said I have a couple drinks a week. Does she think I’m lying?
  12. Are we supposed to hold hands? If we don’t hold hands, is she going to write “NOT AFFECTIONATE” on her notepad?
  13. Why am I so nervous right now!?
  14. When she asks a question meant for both of us, who is going to answer first? If I answer first, is she going to write “SHE’S BOSSY” on her notepad?!
  15. I want to go home, or at least put on some large sunglasses and a wig. And maybe Eric should wear a fake moustache and a hat. And voice-modifiers for both of us.
  16. I don’t like these open-ended questions.
  17. What are my goals for pre-marital counseling?
  19. Why is that a goal of yours, Eric? Do we have a problem with that? Why didn’t you tell me we had a problem with that?!?!?
  20. OK so we’re holding hands? OK.
  21. This is going to be fucking sweet.

Our first session was more of a getting-to-know-you-what-to-expect kind of session, and despite all my feelings throughout, I seriously left really pumped to get started with our actual sessions. As we talked through our goals for PMC, I found myself getting really excited. While I feel like Eric and I have a really solid relationship, it has its weak spots and it’s reassuring that these are things we can improve upon. Right now, the plan is to go once every two weeks. On the agenda for today: how to fight better. Communication skills FTW!

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dori September 4, 2012 at 10:30 am

First, I LOVE the new blog look. So clean and so you. Second, you are neurotic like me.


2 Tish September 4, 2012 at 10:46 am

Oh snap…The fella JUST asked me if I was up for couples counseling. I said yeah knowing full well I’ll spaz very similarly to how you spazzed lol…It’s good for the soul, though!

That’s for darn skippy. It’s not your Woody Allen garden variety therapy any more! Maybe we should just watch that movie with Mandy Moore and Robyn Williams and call it a day!


3 Rain September 4, 2012 at 11:34 am

Counseling is so good, but not always easy. I hope you two stick with it!


4 Sarah Crowder September 4, 2012 at 11:50 am

The blog looks great!


5 Nicole Gomez September 4, 2012 at 11:59 am

hahaha this actually made me laugh out loud. I love the new layout..I don’t know how new it actually is because I’ve been sucking at keeping up with my favorite blogs.


6 Ella September 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm

It is SO SMART that you guys are going to marriage counseling. I can’t believe how many people skip this important step! Choosing who to marry is usually the biggest decision people have made up until that point – why would one do this without some outside perspective, advice, etc? Yay for you!


7 Kendra September 4, 2012 at 12:03 pm


For real!

When I first starte therapy I was always like, “What are you writing?!?!?!? Why are you writing?!?!?! What are you judging me on right now!?!?!?”


8 Mel September 4, 2012 at 1:19 pm

I think it’s awesome and so smart of you guys to do the PMC. I’m actually really curious about the experience – not because I forsee myself getting married anytime soon, but because I would love to administer the counseling. HA.


9 Erin September 4, 2012 at 1:28 pm

I think it’s FABULOUS that you are doing PMC. It was hands down the best investment we made before getting married and we have both commented throughout the past year how much it has helped us get through both good things and bad things.

Oh and I totally was thinking, “What the hell is she writing?!” every.single.time she used her pen. You are definitely not alone there!


10 Rachel September 4, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Question for you: how long did you do it and how often did you go? I have heard great things but I’m curious how much time you put into it to get such a great result!


11 Erin September 5, 2012 at 8:31 am

We went every week for 10 weeks. We met with her for about an hour, sometimes a little longer, depending on what we were discussing.

I think you guys will be successful because you’re both invested in what you’re doing. My husband and I both took PMC seriously and really tried to connect on the topics we discussed each week. It sounds like you are on the same page, which I believe, will help with your success.


12 Aj September 4, 2012 at 4:34 pm

HA! I love this! So great to hear about the other side of the experience. R and I have considered couples counseling at different times in our relationship. I think it can always help, even the strongest relationship.

As for that pesky pad, she’s probably writing down stuff she wants to be sure to remember. In a day, I might see 6+ clients. That’s a lot of information! I tend to write down things like years (how long have you been together) and other numerical stuff (number of previous relationships and yes, number of nights in a week you drink and how many drinks you have) because those details are harder to recall. Also, by law therapists need to keep some sort of record of every session. ..so there’s that too.


13 Hannah September 4, 2012 at 5:20 pm

I LOVE this post! I was literally lol’ing while reading it — although we in the “dog blogging” community say BOL (barking out lout) — which is equal parts cute and totally lame.

On my recent business trip to Alaska I had to interview about 40 soldiers, and take lots of notes. I’m sure some of them were thinking the same thing!

The new look is totally awesome of course :)


14 Quiana September 4, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Fun post! Congrats on starting PMC. My husband and I had dated for nearly 10 years off and on by the time we married 3 years ago and by far the best thing we did was 10 weeks of pre-marital counseling the summer before we got married. I learned so much!


15 Rachel's Mom September 4, 2012 at 8:48 pm

14.When she asks a question meant for both of us, who is going to answer first? If I answer first, is she going to write “SHE’S BOSSY” on her notepad?!

That’s my favorite!


16 deva by definition September 5, 2012 at 8:35 am

Okay, so, call me crazy, but I am curious to hear about your decision to go to PMC:-). We have friends who have done it/are doing it and are loving it. We are kind of working through questions independently so I’m always curious about other people’s experiences with PMC.


17 Rachel September 5, 2012 at 10:38 am

I don’t know that it was a big decision; I grew up Catholic where PMC was a requirement for getting married in the church, so I guess it never crossed my mind not to go? It was just like a “Oh, so that’s one of the things we have to check off our list” kinda things. And I heard really good things from people who did it (from all different backgrounds/religions), so that just re-affirmed it! While I think we do discuss a lot of thee big questions on our own, I also think there’s something to be said for having someone else guide you through it. You know I tend to over-prepare for the worst-case scenario, and I feel like our therapist can help us see what is worth trying to prepare for and when we’re just speculating wildly and wasting our time. I also feel like it’s someone to hold us accountable. We know we need to fight more efficiently, but I think perhaps that saying that out loud during PMC and then making a plan for that is just more effective than us saying it and then forgetting about it a month later.


18 deva by definition September 6, 2012 at 9:25 am

I can undertand that completely. We both grew up in environments where PMC was not required and we do our best to talk things out. I’ve gotten a lot out of a friend’s PMC just by asking her what they talk about (topics, mostly). Allen and I know that ther are things we need to discuss better – like division of household labor, and ever since we got engaged those conversations just seem far more easy than they were before, ya know?

I’d love to hear more about your experieences as you move through PMC :-).


19 emily hassman September 7, 2012 at 6:58 am

Glad to hear you are doing the PMC. We skipped it and I think we would’ve gotten a lot out of it. I know that the time I’ve spent working with a therapist personally was HUGELY helpful.

Now that we’ve been married about a year, I’ve been thinking about doing some couple’s counseling. Not because things are bad, but because I think we could learn some things. You know? But I’m not sure how to broach the “we should go to couple’s counseling” without sounding like there is something wrong.

Also, my therapist told me that couple’s counselors LOVE to see couples who aren’t already in deep shit…. couples they can actually help.


20 Rachel September 7, 2012 at 7:31 am

Maybe pitch it as “post-marital counseling”? Like “Hey, we never did this and I’ve heard really good things and I don’t think it’s too late”? And maybe add what your therapist said, that it’s better to get in there before anything goes seriously wrong!


21 Amanda September 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm

This layout is so generic. Also, the font is difficult to read. Why did you chose to get rid of the one you had designed for you not too long ago? It had more character and the design was much more readable in general.


22 Rachel September 8, 2012 at 9:38 pm

I actually felt like my previous layout was generic — two sidebars + a custom header is a pretty standard blog look, and not one I was in love with. Beyond that, the ads and widgets were very distracting, and it wasn’t as mobile-friendly as I would have liked. I wanted a cleaner layout without distractions that let the text speak for itself as well as something that lent itself better to short posts, and the previous design didn’t achieve any of that.


23 Heather September 10, 2012 at 9:22 pm

such a well done post, my friend. Can’t wait to hear any other PMC discussions you may share down the line.


24 Happier Heather September 14, 2012 at 9:34 am

This post caught my eye since my fiance and I are starting our PMCs next weekend at our church. We’re living in sin, so we’re worried about lying to someone at church about certain things…is this ridiculous to be worried? What would be your advice on answering about the premarital sex questions if/when they arise?

Even though it’s likely we’ll be married by a JP, we think it’s a good idea because his first marriage ended in divorce and I haven’t been married before. Plus, it’s nice to know we could change our minds and get married in the church or by one of our church pastors.

I’m hoping to see more of these posts!


25 Rachel September 14, 2012 at 9:48 am

Eeek….I’m not sure! Anyone been through Catholic PMC and have advice? I’d probably just be honest about it if asked directly but I don’t know if that would cause major problems. Can they refuse to marry you for sinning? It seems unlikely.


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