A positive approach to marriage education means starting with what you want from
your marriage, rather than focusing on the inevitable problems.
There are two general approaches to premarital education, and both are required for marital success.
But we are really talking about emphasis, aren’t we?
To illustrate this idea of two approaches we can think of the way you, and pretty much everyone else, learned how to drive.
Before you got behind the wheel of a car, you had to learn about possible dangerous driving encounters and what not to do, and do. You had to learn all the “what to do ifs,” like what to do if it starts to rain or if the road is icy. The dangers of driving, well known by driving instructors, are passed on to students, just in case.
Learning the dangers is a negative, but essential, approach of learning. Because when you are familiar enough with those, you can begin the positive approach: how to start the car, how to back up, how to parallel park, etc. You also learn, if you wish, how to drive fast, to have fun. You learn how to plan your trips, maybe how to off-road, and how to enjoy your driving.
The negative approach teaches you the dangers and how to deal with them, while the positive approach teaches you “how,” as if there are no dangers.
Slowly, and over time, the skills you need become second nature. Scary things will still happen, but, over time, you are ready for anything.
The similarities between driving and marriage end there because the purpose of driving isn’t essentially fun, it is utilitarian. Driving, just driving, usually isn’t directly correlated to happiness. Most people don’t think about driving as happiness- producing. But, and this is the big difference, marriage IS happiness producing.
The positive approach to marital education is about learning how to be married in a way that builds marital bliss, the ultimate happiness. Marriage is an exceptional thing. Your efforts to create a great marriage produces happiness; yes, just the effort!
After you have learned what to do and what not to do, marital “issues” will be nothing more than the kind of issues you run into while driving. They are a hassle, you have to deal with them, but they won’t kill you or your marriage.
Your marriage operation will be second nature. You can then focus more and more on the efforts that create a loving and harmonious marriage.
The most important things to learn:
1. Marriage science — What is marriage?
What are the goals of marriage?
What can one expect from marriage?
Most everyone gets married without a clue about what marriage actually is. You can do it differently. In school we all learn about algebra, and hardly any of us use that knowledge when we grow up. But just about all of us get married. Yet, we are not taught about marriage in any class.
2. Biological forces — Yes, it is true. The body constantly imposes upon our minds to make sure to protect it. Each of us needs to understand how our biological drives impact our mind in order to have a successful marriage.
3. The mind — The mind is a wonderful tool that will serve you and your marriage very well, unless you do not have a basic understanding of how the mind works. You don’t have to be a psychologist to understand your mind! But if you do not learn to manage it, your mind will do its own thing, so to speak, and you will be a victim of all sorts of impulses and emotions. Each of us needs to understand the mind to have a successful marriage.
4. How to take marriage to a higher level — There are too many experts who will tell you what is dysfunctional, or whatever. Most of it is useless for day-to-day marriage. Remember, the purpose of marriage is to experience unconditional love. It is not so easy to do without marriage education, so we advise you learn the simple, yet profound, methods that can accomplish this.
By approaching your new marriage with understanding, along with selflessness and commitment, you will obtain the greatest treasure: a loving marriage.