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Try counseling

Getting married is more than just showing up on the courthouse steps at midnight Valentine’s Day. Taking the plunge can be a big mistake if you haven’t prepared.
Any relationship requires communication. A marriage especially requires that couples know each other well and accept each other’s faults.
Marriage Success Training, a Web site designed to help couples with premarital counseling (http://www.stayhitched.com), identifies seven keys to success: compatibility, expectations, personalities and families-of-origin, communication, conflict resolution, intimacy and sexuality, and long-term goals.
Dr. Gregory Kuhlman hosts seminars all over the country in which he stresses the importance of understanding and participating in open communication.
If you can’t afford the $445 registration fee, the Methodist Student Center at this college can help couples work through issues before marriage.
The Rev. Dr. David Semrad said the center offers programs that address human relationships whether friendly, romantic or parental. The programs enforce the importance of communication, feedback, positive support and respect for the individual.
They also discuss the principles of intimacy beyond physical touch — a spiritual intimacy.
Semrad said that the center also will schedule premarital counseling with couples who want it. Semrad expects couples that he marries to partake in counseling before marriage.
In counseling, he discusses the expectations about marriage and the commitment level they are willing to give to each other. “Marriage is hard work and requires a fundamental covenant.”
Semrad said he and most other spiritual leaders understand that in this day and age, couples live together before marriage and are involved in physical relationships.
He advises couples that he counsels to write letters before their marriage about their hopes, dreams and joys and to keep the letter in a safe place.
“When difficult times arise, read that once again,” Semrad advised.
Joyce Flores

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