Prince Harry and Meghan decided to take up the offer of pre-marriage counselling, or marriage preparation, before they got married. We may think this signals a crisis or a problem, but that isn’t true at all. It sets people up for a stronger relationship, helps protect against issues before they become problems, and we should all follow their lead (even if we are dating or already married). 

There was such a feel-good vibe over the weekend. I don’t know if you were part of a street party, managed to get to London, or just saw some clips from the wedding at home, but it was a great day.

I must admit, I have always enjoyed weddings. I really enjoy watching two people who are happy and excited about their relationship, make a commitment to God and/or each other in front of friends and family.

And we all know, but it’s easy to forget, that while the day is meant to be fun and a great celebration, a marriage is really about more than the wedding day. It’s about the decisions that are made over the next few weeks, months, and years, that will determine if a happy and long-lasting relationship is built. 

Prince Harry and Meghan decided to go through marriage perp

This is why I was so happy to hear that Prince Harry and Meghan decided to go through marriage prep, and by doing so have highlighted why it’s so important. 

Not Just for A Crisis

My wife and I did a marriage preparation course. Most of my married friends did it too. Not because we had a crisis or any obvious or big problems, but because we didn’t want any to develop. 

I found it valuable talking to someone outside of ‘us’, who challenged and questioned the way we relate to each other, the way we communicate and asked us how we reacted in certain situations.

It meant that when problems arose later on, we had thought about them beforehand and not just in the heat of the moment. More importantly, we have also been able to spot issues and deal with them before they become problems. This all means we have been able to enjoy our relationship more.

Not Just for A Marriage 

The one thing that really upsets me though, which is partly why I oversee Naked Truth Relationships, is that so many people wonder why they only start to seek relationship advice (if ever) once they’re engaged. When they were dating, they say they needed some guidance and some help, possibly even more so, but couldn’t find any. (Read 2 Strategies for Surviving The Changing World Of Dating)

None of us are born with relationships skills. We don’t automatically know how to create a long-lasting relationship.  No one is born knowing how to drive a car or speak a language either, we need to learn these skills. Whether we are hoping to date soon, are dating, engaged or married, we need to learn relationship skills. 

Prince Harry and Meghan have realised that thinking through relationship dynamics is important, me and my wife and many others do too, and it’s so important to talk about this truth more.

3 Things I Learned

There are loads of things I have learned and could say. But the three important things that I want to highlight, whether we are dating or marriage, are: 

  • I’m The Biggest Issue  
  • Address Problems While They Are Small 
  • Learn How To Communicate 

I’m The Biggest Issue

What I really valued in my wedding prep, which is relevant to other relationship stages too, is that I had to realise I was the biggest issue in my relationship.

What I mean is, it’s easy to blame the person we are in a relationship with. It’s easy to say ‘If only she did this more…’ or ‘If he started doing that instead then…’. We need to realise we are part of creating the dynamic of our relationship; no one is perfect, we all make mistakes and that is allowed, but we are part of the issue.

Both people need to reflect on their actions, and both people need to be gracious

By realising that we needed to reflect on our own actions, we needed to be gracious, and we needed to know that we can both cause upset, meant that we could both take responsibility. We could then start to put the effort in constantly and not just on the wedding day, to make sure we were fostering a mutually happy and long-lasting relationship. 

Address Problems While They Are Small

Many people say to me that a relationship is about letting things go, but I disagree. Little habits and problems build over time and become big problems. Learning to address them while they are small means there is a better chance of overcoming it. 

I have no doubt Prince Harry and Meghan would have been addressing habits or concerns they had. Not because they were worried or had doubts, but so they could talk about things before they became too big to solve.

In any relationships, we want to be happy and enjoy it and fall in love and have fun. But taking the time to take stock of our dynamics won’t take the fun out of it, but ensures that we can go on enjoying it. Spotting small problems means they can be dealt with before they become too big.  

Learn How To Communicate

I always say communicating is key. And it seems so simple, yet it’s so hard. 

People can just assume what the other person is thinking. Or they want the other person to just know what they are thinking, and are disappointed when they don’t. Or they have the same argument over and over, without actually talking about the underlying issue. (Read How Successful Relationship Avoid Letting Anger Win)

Marriage is a continual learning process

Learning how to talk to each other and get onto the same wavelength, amongst the changes and busyness of life, is key to building a long-lasting relationship. (Read 2 Questions Every Married Couple Should Ask)

Imagine If… 

Marriage is a continual learning process. 

The wedding day doesn’t mean we have got it all sorted, or there will be no more problems. We are all learning, we all make mistakes, and we all need help and advice. (Read 1 Big Reason Why People Get Bored In Relationships Explained) 

Imagine if we followed Prince Harry and Meghan’s lead, where we reflected and thought about our own relationship dynamics no matter what our relationship status is. And remembered: I’m The Biggest Issue; Address Problems While They Are Small; Learn How To Communicate.

Do you think people are willing or unwilling to get relationship advice? Comments welcomed below. 

Originally posted 21/5/2018