The Facebook guide to pre-marital counseling

By Les Linz

Guest columnist

As a minister of the gospel, the organization that ordained me has made it clear: “If you do not do pre-marital counseling before performing a marriage ceremony, you will lose both your ordination and license.”

That’s a good policy.

Marriage is an important institution, both to people and God — as it ideally gives them a companion for mortal life, one that has nothing but unconditional love for their mate, and to God, because it’s a perfect picture of the spiritual relationship he has through the son and us (believers), his bride, his companion for eternal life, a groom that has nothing but unconditional love for his spouse, for all time.

If you read any of my columns on a regular basis, you know I absolutely love to do weddings — wind up crying more than the participants when I do them — and have yet to fail in counseling the nuptial couple before the knot is tied, as required by those over me.

Enter Facebook.

Yes, Facebook.

Recently I got an exhortation from them. It was a whole lot of vague verbiage (clarified later with specificity) about how evil I was for encouraging others not to get suckered into something that could potentially harm their computers — or friends — or both.

Here’s how I responded in kind (on Facebook) to their “love note:”

“For Facebook.” Hi. You responded to a post of mine, not telling me which one it was. Your disagreement goes against my standards. I’m glad to know we disagree, even though I don’t get the privilege of learning what you’re talking about. I’ll give you a million guesses to determine what I’m talking about. If you’re right, I won’t tell you that you are, but at least you won’t repeat the offense because you’re ignorant of what I’m talking about.

It got me thinking: What if we used Facebook as the model for pre-marital counseling? Let’s give it a whirl and see what that might look like.

Finances: “Ma’am, you may have spending priorities important to you, and you likewise, sir. That’s perfectly fine. Be resolute — be dogmatic, just don’t inform each other about them so you can take wild guesses about what they are. Worst-case scenario, conflict is created, and you enjoy the protocol we set forth for conflict resolution.”

Conflict resolution: Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, and the best way to resolve it is to fail to nip it in the bud — and this is important — before it comes up. It’s important to let your spouse know you’re angry and your job to restrain yourself from the urge to explain why exactly that is so you can stimulate your mate’s critical thinking skills. Additionally, if they are adept in extra sensory perception, this will help hone those abilities, too.

Sex: This is everyone’s favorite topic. Sadly, most think communication is key; however, nothing could be further from the truth. Want to know what will please your mate? Roll the dice (I recommend rolling a seven if at all possible). Are those tears of joy or did she have an unwelcomed experience? Time will tell. No need to go through all of the communication gymnastics. She’s the only one who needs to know.

Children: When my wife and I got married, we asked that instead of gifts, our guests pray over us in the reception line (though we gladly accepted the grace offered by “gift scofflaws”). You should have seen the look on our faces when a pastor friend prayed, “And bless the children of this union.” I had already been surgically corrected to avoid the prospect of offspring production, though we did wind up being the legal guardians to three sibling girls over the course of the next year. That was a surprise to us, but not as much of a surprise as it is when you don’t discuss it one with the other. It’s what keeps those home fires burning.

Religion: Will the two of you go hand in hand to the same house of worship? Will one painstakingly scrape frost off a car while the other waits for nature to take its course and thaw the other one, resulting in the two of you attending alternate service times? Will you go to one denomination while your mate attends another — or for that matter — will one commune with their Lord while the other goes to the baseball diamond, practicing what it will be like to skip services because of seeing that all-important Little League game, that the future child or children you may or may not have may or may not be in?

Division of chores: Who’s going to vacuum? Sweep? Dust? As one who has been married nearly 41 years, let me give you exciting advice: “Don’t tell the other what you’ll do once you’ve decided to do it. You may wind up accomplishing the same chore at the same time, which can be a lot of fun.” See also, “Sex.”

Holidays: Whose family sees whom for what observances? Do the Facebook thing. Wait until the last minute to discuss. Let the excitement begin.

So there you have it — the Facebook protocol of pre-marital counseling. Will it work?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Les Linz of Seymour writes the “Humor: More or Les” column. For information about Linz, visit his author page. Send comments to [email protected]