Premarital Counseling and Guidance
Inevitably, when a couple comes together to marry they realize that as similar as they thought they were, they are in fact very different. They were brought up differently, in different families, with different genes, and no matter how similar they are, they have had very different experiences. This, too, is the beauty of getting married. You are so different and yet you trust each other, get along well, and learn from each other. To marry someone just like yourself would be more comfortable but a lot less challenging. It would be much calmer, but less growth would result.
The other side of this beauty, of course, is that inevitably there will be conflict and frustration. One of the keys to navigating the natural tension of becoming one is practicing your communication skills. Sometimes we have issues to discuss, but resist out of fear. It is essential that the rabbi marrying you also spends a bit of time counseling both of you together. The rabbi can help you reflect on your relationship, what you love about each other, and the difficulties you have encountered. The rabbi or another counselor can also help to create a safe space in which both the bride and groom feel heard and feel safe to express themselves and the issues they are having to each other.
Sometimes couples are tempted to talk to the rabbi separately, each person complaining about their fiancé or asking for help understanding him. In truth, your counseling session should include you and your fiancé talking face to face with each other. Use this neutral space to hear your future spouse talk directly to you about the things that bother him, about the things that make him uncomfortable in the relationship, and also about what he loves about you.