This past weekend, my girlfriend and her beau to be attended a couple’s retreat as part of their pre-marital preparation, and because it was mandatory for them – as it will be for most of you – I asked her to take note of any highlights.
As Melissa went on and on about the different programs put on by different couples, she was sure to reiterate the blah blah of it all, showcasing that – up until the end – her high point was noted by interrupting bathroom breaks and cold cut turkey sandwiches. Wow.
But before my overwhelming jealousy could fully set in, she started talking about one session called “Building Your Identity as a Couple” led by a husband / wife duo who offered advice on how couples can bring the best parts of their lives and merge them into their new “identity” as one, singular unit… In layman’s terms, how to take a good ‘I’ and a nice ‘You’ and merge them into an even more astounding ‘We.’
They used examples of how couples can use what they’ve learned from past experiences with family and friends, as well their background knowledge and views on politics, religion, morality, (fill in any other non-PC-hard-to-talk-about-subject here) and build a life that will reflect them both equally and notably. While the overall sentiment can come off a little cheesy, the underlying notion of taking the best of yourselves as individuals and merging them into an even stronger family unit is pretty inspiring.
And at the end of the session, there was left time for questions; so, Melissa explained that after a brief pause of awkward silence, a young lady sitting caddy corner from her raised her hand and said,
“In your program you talk a lot about how a person’s individual identity is often times a direct reflection of the people they surround themselves with. This worries me a little, because the men in my fiancé’s family don’t have the best view towards women.”
Mel said the girl then proceeded her statement with graphic examples of how her fiancé’s brothers and male relatives were more than likely to treat women as objects, rather than partners, and on numerous occasions have even spoken ill about and targeted her directly. Um, yikes?
But before my darling girlfriend, Melly, could shout out any of her, “Oh no he didn’t!” comments, the couple leading the session – without hesitation – gave one of the most eloquent explanations ever :)
They began by prefacing how family dynamics can be tricky and should be dealt with the utmost of care. While it’s never okay to force / make / threaten your significant other to “ditch” his or her family, it is now and forever shall be okay to express how you feel. The couple then offered this jewel of advice, which I hope you all can walk away with:
“Don’t worry about the family being a bad influence on you… strive instead… to be a good influence on them.” Genius.
So many times, it seems as though it’s easier to become engulfed with all the negative. So easily, we can lose sight of what’s positive, which is why I love love love the message this couple is sending. At the end of the day, every bride and groom-to-be can choose to write their own happy ending, and if we all lead through an example of positivity and love, and “poo poo” all the Negative Nellies, it will be a lot easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel… literally.
With that said, please feel free to leave your ray of sunshine below (ie. something about your love that makes you smile, a way you’ve been inspiring OR inspired, etc.)… we’ll leave the snarly stuff to the 5 o’clock news :D