Bob sat ready to welcome his first pre-martial counseling couple into this office. He tidied up his desk and arranged the chairs they would sit in just so. He had is plan ready. He would make sure that this couple was ready for marriage. Bob had been married for two years now and knew a thing or two. He wanted to share his wisdom and impart his blessing.
The couple arrived and took their seat in his office. Bob could tell they were nervous. They seemed to not know if they were supposed to hold hands or show any type of affection, or sit there like they were in the principal’s office and had been caught making out in the hallway during lunch.
Bob decided to break the ice with an easy question. “So, why do you want to get married?” Their faces went blank. All thoughts left their brains and they stared at each other, silently. Finally the groom spoke up, “I guess because I love her.” Bob smiled. “I guess because I cannot think of living my life without him,” chimed the bride. Bob smiled and laughed a little, “Those are the perfect answers. That is what I hope every couple says before they get married.” The bride and groom relaxed and smiled sinking into their chairs a little.
Bob continued with his talk, letting them know what to expect out of their sessions together. He then told them about their homework between now and the next session. Bob asked them, “Do you all live together?” “No,” replied the groom emphatically. “I am living in the apartment we will be living together in but we don’t believe in living together before married.” Bob wasn’t surprised by their answer but was kind of put back by the emphasis the groom put in his answer. Bob continued, “What I would like you to do is walk through the apartment you will be living in after you get married. In each room I want you to write down your expectations for that room, including closets. For example: for the kitchen write down if you think the dishes should be put away immediately after dinner or if a 24 hour time limit is fine or even 72 hours. Who will put the dishes in the dishwasher and who will put them away, that sort of thing.”
The couple’s nod attempted to tell Bob they understood but was halfhearted and gave Bob the impression they still had questions about the homework. Finally they asked the question. “What about the bedroom?” Bob answered, “There are a lot of expectations in the bedroom and it helps to get all of those on the table. Where are dirty clothes supposed to land, in the hamper? On the floor? Who makes the bed? Is the bed supposed to be made each day? How many times a week are you expecting to have sex? All of those things I want you to discuss.” The grooms face turned red. Bob had said the ‘s’ word. It was like he placed tacks in their seats as they moved back and forth trying to get comfortable again.
Bob decided to be bold in his first pre-material counseling and asked what made them uncomfortable about talking about the bedroom. After the words left his mouth he wondered if he really wanted to know the answer. Finally after a moment of pregnant silence the groom answered. “Truthfully we have been waiting for marriage to have sex.” “That’s great!” said Bob. “Thanks but you don’t understand how hard it is!” replied the groom. “I mean to even think our expectations for the material bed are really hard because we have been trying NOT to think about it. We have been hoping that if we ignored those thoughts and feelings we could get to the wedding night but Preacher, let me tell you, IT IS HARD!”
Bob’s mind went right the gutter and although he was very proud of the couple for living up to God’s expectations and keeping themselves pure before marriage, he wished the groom would stop saying ‘hard’. Bob went on to explain that although it may be ‘difficult’ for them to talk about they need to have that conversation. Whether a couple has sex before marriage or not, everyone has certain expectations and as a couple they needed to discuss it. Bob offered to help with temptation for the couple to have this conversation in the midst of a time of prayer or a couple’s devotion.
The bride looked up at Bob and with her big doe eyes she said, “Thank you Reverend Bob. This has been a big help and I think we can do this homework. [The groom] is right though, this waiting for marriage is difficult. You don’t know how hard it is!” Bob, choking back a giggle, said, “Actually I do. My wife and I both waited to have sex until we were married. I can understand,” and adding some emphasis, “how difficult it is. Let’s close this session in prayer and I’ll see you all in a couple of weeks.”