Now the BYU finals are over, it is officially open season on hasty nuptials.
BYU is one of the few places that when randomly assigned to apartment living quarters, your roommate may be your age and yet be divorced. Mormon marriage culture – not just that of BYU – is…interesting. Full disclosure: I met my wife at BYU (on the Folk Dance team no less), but we dated for a couple of years before sealing the deal.
I was skeptical when I got the CD in the mail. I probably shouldn’t be, but I am skeptical of most self help CDs, especially when they are marketed toward Church members. However, I think DTR, a lecture on getting ready for marriage by Elia Gourgouris, is really pretty good – understanding that one hour of listening is enough therapy to do relatively little in the grand scheme of dysfunctionality. It appears as if it was recorded before a live audience.
Elia, a Ph.D. family therapist that apparently works for LDS Family Services is a Greek immigrant and convert. He has a cool accent and is entertaining as he goes over the main points of his marriage prep:
2. Finances: Making Mutual Decisions
3. Spiritual Beliefs
4. Emotional, Spiritual, and Physical Intimacy
Really though, he focused the most on Communication and Intimacy. He preaches a modern sensibility with regard to these things. Heavily influenced by the popular literature (like the “Love Languages”), Elia teaches young Mormons revolutionary concepts like: individuals should be communicating their needs and feelings as well as listening to their spouse. He is sensible as well as modern in his frank discussion on human sexuality; and, thank heaven, promotes the modern Church teachings that sexuality is an important part of marriage and that what people do in the bedroom is up to them. He also highlights the related teachings of President Kimball that sexual incompatibility is a massive cause for divorce.
It really is hard for some folks to have conversations about sex or their emotional needs. It is also important that such conversations precede covenants with eternal ramifications. Expectations really do have a tremendous bearing on happiness. The thing is that as easy as that sounds, listening to one hour of feel-good pep doesn’t readily translate into the skills necessary for success. But it is a good start.
If I could change one thing, it would be the introduction and concluding remarks that Elia recorded and which were added on to the recorded lecture/fireside. It was basically a testimony and invocation of the Spirit. I feel icky enough being marketed to as a member of the Church. Adding such an invocation magnifies the ick factor.
All in all, if you know someone getting ready for marriage, this is probably something that will help them.