The sixth and final counseling session with Rev. Delbert Durfee, Teri's cousin and our wedding minister, went well. Of course, we have more to learn. Married life presents all sorts of challenges, and not just in money, sex and finding a rich kid to adopt.
But we do now have important tools to take with us as we move ahead in this great adventure. We've studied the five love languages -- affirmations, quality time, gifts, acts of service and physical touch. We've studied love and respect. We've studied Dave Ramsey's tough-love approach to family finances.
"Preparation," UCLA basketball coach John Wooden said, "is more important than winning. If you properly prepare, you'll win your share." That's why I was happy when I learned Delbert required six counseling sessions -- a thorough approach. I wanted us to go into marriage with our eyes wide open, and then after the marriage live forevermore with one eye closed, to aim for unconditional love and respect while helping each other reach our best selves.
But marriage counseling alone is not enough. I am also asking good friend and golf partner the Rev. Ernest Smith to be my personal adviser. Ernie knows a lot about relationships and what makes them work, and what can go terribly wrong. He knows I think like a typical man and that it takes a long time for good advice to sink in before I will act on it. He is patient with me. He knows eventually I will see the light.
When I was in my 20s, I used to bristle at constructive criticism. Now I am much more receptive. I know that it is only after we "know it all" that we really begin to learn life's important lessons.