Marriage Preparation - Lauri Eagle
Travis and I loved our marriage preparation seminar in Brandon 17 years ago. We started helping with Marriage Preparation the year after we were married. We love watching couples enlighten each other, learn, grow, talk, and listen. Marriage Preparation weekends offer a space for couples to talk and the support and guidelines by which to do so. Some couples have been together for over 10 years already before marriage and still learn things about each other during our weekends.
We have continual, enthusiastic positive feedback and I often wonder why. I believe that the secret is being transparent and easy to relate to. The married couples on our team are authentic Catholic married couples that have weathered storms and enjoyed successes. We offer authentic, transparent examples of our lives and how we have learned, and continue to learn about things that "work" and things that "don't". In being transparent, we are relatable. There are many laughs, some tears, lots of questions, and a safe place of community support built by the end of our Saturday sessions.
One area that’s missing is continued support. Marriage is hard. Travis and I have always felt like we wanted a way to "check in" with the couples once they leave our presence. We have no way of knowing who is where and if they are okay. That is one area we hope can be different one day.
Marriage preparation has been so rewarding. It forces Travis and I to audit our married life every year and ask ourselves "what worked for us this year?" and also "what didn't"? It is a blessing to do this ministry. Thank-you for the prayer and support of engaged and married couples .
Lauri’s top 10 tips!
1. Love and respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs . Great book. Inspiring concept about women needing love in order to show respect and men needing respect in order to show love. It really gets one thinking.
2. 5 Love Languages. Dr. Gary Chapman. Pivotal in our marriage at one time. We realized that Travis received love most through gifts, and Lauri through quality time and words of affirmation.
3. Sharing is wearing. Through trial and error, I learned that Travis can't be the only person I vent to about life's frustrations. His capacity is sometimes full. Though he is the first person I go to as a sounding board, he can't be the only one. It's not fair to him and neither one of us get what we need. It's been helpful to realize that.
4. I realized that Lauri processes things by saying them out loud . Many years of frustration have been spent as I tried to "fix" the issue and move on. When that didn't happen, we both felt frustrated. For both of us to realize that is how she processes information, I am able to TRY to listen and not feel compelled to fix . Even if it annoys me, there are some things, in marriage , that you just have to accept about your spouse. There are things she has had to learn to accept about me.
5. We recently realized, 17 years into marriage, that we weren't speaking the "same language" when it came to conflict. I would say "we have been fighting too much lately" and Travis would disagree. It finally came out that he views the word "fighting" as heated conflict that has the potential for physical contact. We have never done that. I use the term "fighting" synonymously with "argue", "disagree", "heated discussion". We then learned (love learning new things in marriage) that Travis has a much higher tolerance for conflict than I do. It takes a LOT longer for conflict to even phase Travis. I, on the other hand, am sensitive and sense conflict at its root. This has been eye-opening and a game changer in our communication.... 17 years in!
6. People say "I love you" in different ways. When you are married, it takes work to figure out each other's "way", but it is well worth it!
7. People also say "I'm sorry" in different ways . When you are married, it takes work to figure out each other's "way", but it is well worth it!
8. Cam and Janet have a great analogy about having children. It's like going through life on train tracks. Children bind you together consistently, forever, but also keep you at a certain distance apart for a period of your life. Their needs trump each others' and those waters can be difficult to navigate. It is important to know that it is a season and acknowledge the "hard times" for what they are "hard times". This helps get through the rough spells, sleepless nights, and busyness and come out healthy, happy, and connected .
9. Some topics are difficult to discuss in marriage, even harder to agree on. Don't give up. Communication is key. Sometimes, it's just okay to "not get it".
10. Men, women, marriage as lifelong commitment. Sometimes I sit and wonder, "God, what were you thinking....?" haha. It's worth it. Put in the effort.
Reading recommendation from Cam
A couple of months ago, I read The Course of Love by Alain de Botton (recommended to me by my recently married daughter, Susanne). Here is a bit that I really liked:
“Parents are apt to proceed from the assumption that their children, though they may be troubled or in pain, are fundamentally good . . . When children cry, we don't accuse them of being mean or self-pitying, we wonder what has upset them. When they bite, we know they must be frightened or momentarily vexed. . . . How kind we would be if we managed to import even a little of this instinct into adult relationships - if here, too, we could look past the grumpiness and viciousness and recognize the fear, confusion and exhaustion which almost invariably underlie them. This is what it would mean to gaze upon the human race with love.”
And another one from the same book:
“We are ready for marriage when we accept that in a number of significant areas our partner will be wiser, more reasonable and more mature than we are. We should want to learn from them. We should bear having things pointed out to us. And at other moments we should be ready to model ourselves on the best pedagogues and deliver our suggestions without shouting or expecting the other simply to know. Only if we were already perfect could the idea of mutual education be dismissed as unloving.”