So we had our first premarital counseling session last night. It wasn't so bad, not that I thought it would be bad, but you know, counseling isn't always fun even though good comes from it. Any way, last night was light on the not-fun parts so that was cool. On the way home we were assessing our time spent with our lovely pastor that evening and agreed that counseling was going to present us with questions that are tough to answer for two reasons. Reason #1: It's gonna force us to be brutally honest and vulnerable in assessing and confronting issues we have. Reason #2: Sometimes we just don't have a clue what Donnie is trying to say.
There was one question in particular he asked last night that we both walked away going... HUH?! But I guess in the it held some validity because we spent a fair amount of time on the way home discussing what we think it meant, how it should have been phrased differently, and then our answer/thoughts/conclusions. I think we were terribly insightful, here's what we came up with:
The question was something to the effect of: What times in your marriage will commitment run thin, and what will you do to prevent or change the situation. (or... something like that) Here's what we decided: First of all the idea of commitment 'running thin' threw both of us. We agreed that commitment is not a quantitative thing... so you aren't a little committed, medium committed, or a lot committed you are either committed to something or you are not. Black and white.
Where it gets gray are our feelings toward the commitments we make. There are times in our lives where we commit to doing something and (especially toward the beginning) we really want to do it. We may even feel like we GET to do it (how lucky are we???) As time goes by, the want to/get to can wear off and our feeling becomes, I am only doing this because I need to or because I have to. Has the commitment changed? No. Have our feelings about our commitment changed? Yes. So here's what we think Donnie was getting at: Once you pass the get to/want to and you are feeling the need to or only the have to, then what?
We think that's the point where you say, well, this sucks but I made a commitment and so I am going to put in the effort and push through a couple days/weeks/months of the have tos. Or in a marriage: daily make the decision to put forth the effort to meet the needs of your spouse. (Donnie called it dying to yourself, or mutual submission I think.) And also pray. We think that if you are honoring your commitments by putting in the effort and you continue to make God the priority in that relationship that he's gonna honor that too and get you moving back toward the want to/get to feelings. That's not saying you'll never have bad days where you feel dreadfully like you are only doing it because you HAVE to... but hopefully those days or feelings will become fewer.
This discussion kind of flowed into a discussion about commitment and effort/action. I think that you can put effort into something that you are not necessarily committed to, but you can't be committed to something and put no effort into it. Saying you are committed to something but putting no action/work/effort into it is not much of a commitment at all and a lot more like a lie. Oi. Zachary likened this to faith without works... and we both decided that in a marriage relationship once you have made that commitment you have to continually and put effort into it to 'prove' to your spouse that you still honor the commitment you made.
And that's all I got. I feel good about the ideals we have established thus far(smile) and I hope we don't find in the future that we are WAY off course. Of course, if we are, most likely Donnie will read this and next time he sees us say... Um... NO. Then we will probably get more homework. (grimace) Maybe I shouldn't so freely share my thoughts and revelations on a blog our pastor/premarital counselor has access to. Hmmmm...