This is the fourth part of our series about our experience in pre-marital counseling. We’ve learned that you need to plan for the marriage at least as much as you plan for the wedding, and in this series we will explore what that means.
One of the greatest “take-aways” from pre-marital counseling was the day we talked about our parents. We talked about the types of conversations we currently have with them and how much of our lives we share. Then, we discussed what may change in those relationships when we are married.
I am freakishly close to my mother. I share a lot with her and I always have. In recent years, she went from being my mother to one of my closest friends.
I love to call my mom in the mornings, on my way to work. She’s on her way, too. We’ll chat as we sit in traffic. I love to “treasure hunt” with my mother at garage sales and thrift stores. I love to stand around the kitchen island when I’m home and tell stories. My mom is an amazing woman. She is always there for me, and I am who I am today because of her love.
Prior to marriage, I would also run to my mother. I would run to her when someone hurt me, when something bad happened, or when I was ill. She has always taken great care of me and would be the first person who popped into my head in times of strife.
But I was getting married.
Brian and I had to commit to solving problems ourselves. I couldn’t run to my mother because he hurt my feelings or when I was mad at him. And when things were tough, I had to commit to go to Brian with my fears, troubles, and struggles.
Now, don’t get me wrong– I still talk to my mom all the time and probably still tell her way too much. I will always seek her advice in certain things and will always want to share what is going on in my life. But, when Brian and I fight, as much as I want to call my mom and tell her all about it and ask her to fix it, I can’t. I made a commitment to Brian and to God, and I have to go to them. When Brian and I need to make a big decision for our life together– I need to go to Brian and not to my mother. When I am sick and need someone to go to the hospital with me, I need to ask Brian first. This was a HUGE shift for me, in thought and in action.
There are two important aspects I have to keep in mind when deciding what to tell and what to keep to myself (probably to be told after the issues are resolved):
- No one knows the truth of what is happening in a relationship other than the two people in it. As much as you want to explain it to a friend or loved one, they will never have the full picture. So, even if I tried to tell my mom what Brian and I were dealing with, she still wouldn’t have a complete picture.
- My mother will always take my side. She should. I’m hers and she’s hard-wired to protect and love me. This is not fair to my husband, who will undoubtedly assure you that though I would like to think so, I am not always right about everything. If I talk to my mom about something, chances are, she’s going to side with me and because of both of these reasons (the incomplete picture and the loyal hard-wiring), I may not be right.
Brian and I are a team now. I need to work things out with my husband. I need to turn to my husband. I need to trust my husband.
My relationship with my mother has not suffered at all because of this lesson. We may talk a little less, but I get to understand her on a new level now– the married one. I will still seek her wisdom and I still need her love. And when the balance is in place– my relationship with my husband and my relationship with my mother– then both are strengthened and both can flourish.