Today, many engaged couples spend lots of time and money planning for a wedding. However, they sometimes neglect to plan for marriage. While most marriages have a foundation of love and it is nice to start off with a great big party in the form of a wedding, sometimes marriages can also benefit from premarital counseling. Some people may equate this with requirements for certain religions to get married in their church; however, anyone can participate in counseling.
You do not need a religious affiliation to seek out counseling. In fact, therapists are the best resource for this service, and they will work with any couple regardless of religious affiliation, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Their goal is to help you identify your goals and work towards them. As you consider premarital counseling, it is important to know that it can help your relationship in many ways. Learn more about some of the ways it can help your relationship:
Premarital Counseling Helps Improve Communication Skills
You may think you have good communication with your fiancé and indeed the two of you may be pretty good at talking to each other about many different things. However, once you enter marriage, there can be challenges with communication, especially as you spend more time together and encounter life's challenges. Premarital counseling can help you to improve your communication skills in several ways.
For one thing, having a neutral, third party present can help both partners discuss things they may have previously left unsaid. This can help each person better understand themselves and their partner. A Therapist can also help partners to talk more directly about how they talk. In other words, they help the partners examine their styles of communication and think about what each person needs, as well as how each person can better meet the others' communication needs. A Therapist can also help partners show empathy and improve discussions.
Opportunity To Address Issues
As noted, counseling can help couples improve their communication by giving them a place and space to say things that were previously left unsaid. Indeed, more generally, premarital counseling gives partners the opportunity to address any issues they may have and to resolve them before entering the marriage. This helps to start the marriage right, with fewer challenges to deal with.
Issues that many couples need to resolve at some point in their marriage, which are good to go over in premarital counseling, include views on money/finances, whether to have children, approaches to raising children, where to live, religious differences, and even who will do what around the household. Working these details out in premarital counseling can prevent conflict later. It may also be easier to talk about these issues openly when a trained counselor is present to help facilitate communication.
Time To Plan The Future During Premarital Counseling
Remember, even though you might be otherwise busy planning the wedding, counseling is a great time to plan the marriage. While couples may have talked dreamily about their marriage, this setting allows people to make more concrete plans for their future. This might include specific goals for their lives together, including for family, joint-career, and financial planning.
The time to talk about the future in premarital counseling is especially helpful for couples that may have differing visions for their future. It can provide a place for both parties to talk and listen. This allows each partner to feel heard. They can talk, with the help of the counselor, and bring their visions together into a united plan for the future. This will certainly shift the marriage towards the right direction.
Learn More About Marriage In Premarital Counseling
Some couples enter marriage with different ideas of what marriage is and what it can look like. This might be especially true if the partners grew up in different types of households. If one partner had divorced parents or a single parent they might not have much of a good model for marriage. Premarital counseling can help both partners examine their views of marriage and learn more about it.
When couples work with a Therapist, they help the couple explore their individual and joint visions of exactly what they want their marriage to be. The therapist will get the partners discussing their current views, finding the differences, and figuring out how they want to define their marriage. They can also help couples by recommending books and other resources.
Learn More About Yourself
While premarital counseling, like other forms of couples counseling, may be fairly focused on the relationship and both partners as a unit, it can also help each partner learn more about themselves as individuals. Of course, good marriages are built on a foundation of two individuals coming together into a unit, and so each should be able to function independently and interdependently in the relationship.
Premarital therapy can help partners share personal information, such as fears, that they may not have shared previously. Both partners can learn more about their thoughts on marriage and each other's thoughts. Sometimes premarital counseling uncovers something that one partner may want to work on individually, and the counselor can help refer them to an individual therapist.
Build A Happier Marriage With Premarital Counseling
Premarital counseling is not just about discussing issues and avoiding potential problems; it is also about building a happy marriage together. Counseling can provide a place to discuss many things, including what you do as a couple to make your relationship feel happy and fulfilling. Essentially, couples can prepare for the end of the honeymoon phase and plan ways to extend it.
In general, when couples know how to talk about their emotions, wants, and needs, they will be able to build and maintain a happy relationship. A Therapist can also help partners talk about what they each want in the relationship, including what they need to feel good. The couple can even work together, along with help from their counselor, to discuss the things they will do for a happy marriage. This might include things like planning for date nights and other marriage habits they will engage with.
Learn How To Argue
Even the happiest marriages will likely have times of disagreements. Learning to communicate better will help couples talk rather than argue and will make arguments go better when they do happen. Premarital counseling can also teach couples conflict resolution skills.
In premarital counseling, couples start to learn conflict resolution skills even just through the process of counseling. The therapist helps them use these skills as they talk about and work through areas of difference, and resolve problems during counseling sessions. The couple can practice these skills and use them outside of the session too. The therapist may even ask the couple to practice particular skills outside of the therapy setting so that they can get better at those skills.
Premarital Counseling Will Strengthen Your Bond
Probably the biggest goal of premarital counseling is just to strengthen your connection as a couple. Marital relationships contain many components. There are elements of friendship, emotional and physical intimacy, and a commitment to stay together for the long-term. If you have chosen to marry, you likely already have a strong bond, but counseling can help make it even stronger.
Premarital counseling can strengthen the bond by helping couples resolve any problems they may have, giving them the skills they need to solve their problems on their own, and assisting in defining the shared relationship. The very process of participating together in counseling can also help to strengthen the bond. Overall, premarital counseling can help couples come together as a united team, committed to sharing their lives together, and with the skills necessary to deal with potential problems.
In addition to all these benefits, research shows that couples who participate in premarital counseling do tend to have more successful marriages. This is defined by lower divorce rates. This outcome is a product of these benefits, as the couple will have started the marriage off better and will have the skills to deal with any problems that arise.
Further, having had a previous positive experience in counseling, these couples are more likely to return to couples counseling later in the marriage, if needed. This can keep the marriage going well, prevent bigger problems, and also prevent divorce.
Premarital counseling is a great investment for the future of your relationship. You may be able to find a local therapist for your premarital counseling. Today, many couples that are busy with wedding planning, work, and other commitments, prefer to pursue premarital counseling through online platforms or teletherapy. This allows the couple to participate in and receive the counseling they need, but with an easy schedule and from the safety and security of their home environment.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
While there are numerous types of therapy available for a wide range of situations, premarital counseling helps couples prepare for marriage. This includes engaged couples, or those planning to become engaged, talk about their hopes and expectations for their marriage together. This helps couples know whether or not they have the same expectations for a number of significant life events.
By meeting with a premarital counselor, you’ll have a chance to make sure that all of the important decisions are discussed before you get married. This can help prevent discord, animosity, and miscommunication throughout the marriage and in turn reduces the chance of getting divorced.
Some of the things discussed in premarital counseling are:
Many couples don’t discuss many of these important facets of their relationships until the issue appears. For example, you may not know that your partner has no desire to have children until you’re ready to start trying and you bring up the idea. This can cause a significant amount of tension in an otherwise healthy marriage if you are blindsided by it.
A premarital counselor will lead the discussion in each of these areas and will help you learn how to properly communicate with your partner, solve problems that arise, and help you be encouraged to seek help down the line if it becomes necessary. Above all, they can help you see if you are a good fit together, or if your views are simply too different to compromise before your partnership becomes legally binding.
Premarital counseling is just as important as marriage counseling, if not more so. It can be an incredibly eye-opening and enlightening experience that will help you better understand yourself, your partner, and your life together. Unlike other types of therapy, premarital counseling can help couples before they have a problem, and can counseling can help couples prevent problems from happening.
Ideally, since premarital counseling helps couples prepare for marriage, it should be started as soon as you believe that you have a future with your partner. Many couples wait until a few weeks before their wedding to attend premarital counseling only to discover that they have a lot of viewpoints that they don’t agree upon. Some may unfortunately wait until it’s too late to try marriage counseling as well.
If possible, you should attend premarital counseling as soon as you get engaged. The sooner you begin, the more time you’ll have to identify any potential opposing views and will be able to come up with better compromises that will make both partners happy.
It is also important to note that premarital counseling isn’t just for engaged couples. Anyone in a relationship can take advantage of a premarital counselor’s services, and it is highly recommended for all types of relationships. Whether you’ve just started dating and want to see if your views align, or you’ve been together for years and are thinking about taking the next step, a marriage or family therapist can be an essential part of a healthy marriage.
A marriage or family therapist should be included in your wedding budget, just as wedding dresses, destination weddings, and flower arrangements are.
Absolutely! Studies have shown that for the majority of people, premarital counseling has a measurable effect upon the happiness, satisfaction, and longevity of marriages. In the United States, the current divorce rate sits at 40-50%. That means nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, and this is usually due to miscommunication or unresolved issues that aren’t addressed until the damage is done.
There is a reluctance in the United States to go to marriage and family therapists. This might be because it is viewed as letting a stranger into private matters, or in some cases people believe that it is only for religious people. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Marriage and family therapists help play an essential part in a healthy marriage.
Although it may sound intimidating to discuss your future and the strength of your relationship with a marriage or family therapist, it can be extremely beneficial to get an outsider's perspective. In addition, marriage counselors are trained to spot problem areas in a relationship and can guide you through the delicate process of solving those problems.
Marriage counseling is widely available and can be secular or non-secular depending on your beliefs. It is also surprisingly affordable.
A premarital counselor can be either a marriage or family therapist. They will ask you a wide variety of questions, and in many cases may have each of you individually fill out a questionnaire prior to the session. This will ensure that your responses are honest and not being influenced by your partner. Some of the questions that will be addressed are:
These are just some of the questions that you will go over together with your marriage counselor. It is important to be as honest as possible with your answers so that you and your partner can develop the best plan going forward.
Being open and honest with your partner about your wants, needs, and expectations is an essential part of a healthy marriage.
While premarital counseling certainly has religious origins, it is no longer necessarily a religious experience. While many Christians are required by their church to go through a premarital education course before they get married in the church, the practice has been expanded to completely secular practices.
Many marriage counselors offer premarital counseling and premarital education now in addition to marriage counseling, and there are many marriage and family therapists who specialize in secular premarital counseling. Make sure to find a licensed marriage and family therapist that understands your wants and expectations and that can offer a secular or religious viewpoint depending on your preference.
Yes. Many counselors are offering online sessions, zoom meetings, and Teladoc therapy sessions. If you would prefer to have your premarital counseling sessions done online, simply ask your therapist. Or, you can find a licensed marriage and family therapist right here on our site to help you with your premarital counseling or marriage counseling.