We're proud to include couples counseling with Gregory Derderian, LMFT in this year's Shotgun Wedding prize package.

"Don't plan your wedding; plan your marriage," Derderian told us during an interview. And since we've got the wedding all set for our happy winners, it's the perfect time to think about planning for marriage.

You don't have to wait for a big fight to decide to build relationship tools. The idea of planning for marriage is not new. Many churches recommend premarital counseling, because the honeymoon doesn't last forever.

Back in the day, couples just seemed to get along -- or not. But times were simpler and less diverse. In this fast-paced world, just as we need to go to the gym to keep ourselves in shape, we should consider getting some couples counseling to help us establish communication skills and strategies, so they're ready when we need them Derderian said.

I had a nice, long conversation with Derderian and really enjoyed his positive upbeat attitude. Couples counseling is a strategy for health maintenance, he explained.

While I was concerned that counseling would mean dredging up potential problems before they happened, Derderian explained that individuals with different backgrounds, and experiences will always have differences. It's how we communicate through those differences that is key.

He also pointed out how each of us is growing and changing through the years and how it is possible to have a strategy that allows for growth. He affirmed that marriage can be 10 times more fun than the wedding. The wedding is only the beginning of your amazing life together.

photo courtesy Gregory Derderian LMFT
photo courtesy Gregory Derderian LMFT

While you're in the honeymoon phase of a relationship, there seem to be fewer everyday issues to be addressed. But as the day-to-day needs progress, it takes two people who have a strategy on the same page to ride through the choppy patches and find a way to agree to disagree, compromise and see each others needs.

The idea is to turn your wedding into a "party for the next 20 years, not 20 minutes," Derderian said.

It's fantastic to be able to include counseling that is so vital and positive with the Shotgun Wedding prize package.

For more information about Gregory Derderian LMFT, you can visit his official website.

And be sure to enter to win our Shotgun Wedding contest while you can. In addition to 3 sessions of couples counseling with Gregory Derderian, here's what one lucky winner will get:

Here's how you get in to win. When you hear the church bells ring and the wedding chapel doors swing open sometime during Jan's show from 2 to 7 p.m. weekday afternoons on Lonestar 99.5, that will be your cue to call within 9 minutes to sign up your bride and groom for the opportunity to win this wildest wedding of a lifetime. You can listen on the radio, online or with our free app.

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