Counseling BEFORE Marriage?
Counseling for couples is often viewed as something you do when your marriage or other committed relationship is struggling. Nothing could be further from the truth!
While it’s true that couples whose marriages are in crisis may seek help from a qualified marriage counselor, seeing a counselor before marriage is an important step toward starting your marriage on a stable foundation.
Religious organizations often require couples to attend a few premarital counseling sessions before they marry. However, couples who are marrying in civil ceremonies and ceremonies outside of a religious or faith tradition are beginning to see the advantages of premarital counseling, as well. In fact, there is research that indicates that couples who participate in premarital counseling have lower divorce rates and more successful and satisfying marriages.
Think about it.
When you and your partner become engaged, the wedding planning begins. Regardless of the size and extravagance of your wedding ceremony, you want the day to be special and meaningful; something that you and your partner will remember forever. A time that you will look back on together and remember the happiness you shared on that day, and the friends and family who shared that special time with you. Whether your wedding is large or small, there is a venue to select, arranging for someone to perform the ceremony, special wedding clothing to select, perhaps a party or reception afterward, and maybe a honeymoon or post-wedding trip to think about. All of this planning is exciting and takes time and attention.
Don’t forget this one thing: While you are planning your wedding, don’t forget to begin planning for your marriage.
While you make your lists for all the things you need to do to prepare for your special day, think about adding one more thing to your preparation list. Something that will add benefit to your relationship long after you say “I Do!” Schedule a few sessions with a qualified premarital counselor.
You may be thinking, “We are happy and are having no problems in our relationship at all. Why should we go to premarital counseling?”
It’s great that you and your partner are doing so well! In premarital counseling we will discuss the good things that are happening in your relationship and learn how to build on and maintain the positives in your relationship. Premarital counseling is not about addressing problems in your relationship. Although, if there are some issues you would like to address, we can certainly do that. Premarital counseling primarily brings awareness to potential issues that might arise in your future as a married couple. You will explore and discuss with each other, under my guidance, a variety of topics that often lead to further insights, more awareness about yourself, more awareness about your partner, and more awareness about your relationship as a married couple. Tools and skills will be learned about how to communicate productively when the inevitable conflicts arise.
How is premarital counseling different from marriage counseling?
Premarital counseling helps couples understand the importance of keeping communication open and productive, create and maintain deep friendship and admiration for each other, and discuss some common issues that might create conflict or disagreement in the future. Premarital counseling helps couples to give focus to their relationship and helps them to recognize some common issues that might arise in their marriage.
Marriage counseling usually addresses issues and concerns that have created a rift in a couples’ relationship. The concerns couples bring to their counseling sessions may have caused one or both partners to feel emotional pain, loneliness, emotional and physical distance from each other, and lack of trust in their partner and commitment to their relationship. A qualified marriage counselor will help couples address the things that have happened, and work with them to find their way back to a satisfying relationship.
Here are just a few topics you might discuss in premarital counseling:
- In what ways do you and your partner operate as a team?
- Is there a sense of “we” in your relationship, rather than “I?”
- What are your feelings about how money is managed? What about debt? What are your financial goals as a couple?
- Do you plan to have children? What do you expect of each other as parents?
- How did your family of origin deal with conflict? How did they handle a crisis?
- What about your values? Your philosophies of life? Religion? Politics? If you have differing opinions about these issues, how will you raise your children?
- How do you communicate when you disagree, are tired, are frustrated and perhaps angry?
- How do you show affection and love for each other?
Awareness around these and other topics help couples to learn to communicate and know more about each other’s thoughts, dreams, and ideas.
One more added value to premarital counseling
Many married couples wait too long to see a marriage counselor when they find their relationship has gotten off-track. When they come to marriage counseling, they are both emotionally fragile, hurt, and confused. Marriage counseling can help; however, it is so much more beneficial to seek professional help for your relationship sooner rather than later.
Premarital counseling will help you and your partner to be aware of the times when a bit of help is needed for your relationship, and teaches you skills to avoid some of the common pitfalls that can happen in all marriages. Premarital counseling takes the fear out of seeing a marriage counselor if you have a bit of turbulence in your relationship down the road. Proactively addressing the “turbulence” in your relationship, sooner rather than later, is a decision that can keep resentments from building and being compounded, frustrations from building, and reduce and repair the damaging effects of negative sentiments in your marriage.
Give your relationship this gift.
Premarital counseling is a gift you and your partner can give each other. Starting your marriage on a sound footing is one of the best things you can do to for each other, and for your relationship as a married couple.
Call me today at 512-739-2494 to schedule a consultation and appointment or click here to have us contact you.