Free Premarital Counseling Vs. Paid Premarital Counseling

Updated January 18, 2023by ReGain Editorial Team
“When enlisting help from a professional it is always important to do your research and consider their credentials. Whether free or not, finding someone with the preferred experience will make sure they are a good fit for you. Whatever choice you make, enlisting the help of a counselor is a healthy and wise choice before your marriage begins.” - Ryan Smith, LPC, NCC

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Should you consider free premarital counseling or paid counseling, or is there a difference at all? When it comes down to it, a lot of people that are even thinking about premarital counseling are looking at ways to save some money. They assume that they don't need to pay for something if they can get it free, and so they opt for a counseling session that's completely free, expecting to get the same quality as they would get with a more expensive course. Seeing the prices that come up for those paid courses also makes them second guess whether they should even get counseling in the first place.

If you are head over heels in love, then premarital counseling may seem like a waste of time. All that matters is that you're in love and you can withstand anything, so as long as you have each other. That's a wonderful and idealistic attitude to have. But that seems to be the attitude that everyone has in the beginning. Unfortunately, the divorce rate in the United States is a daunting 50 percent of failed marriages. That means it's extremely important for you to look for ways to help improve your chances and make sure that you and your partner are going to be one of the many couples that do make it a long way down this road.

It's easy to understand why some young couples are interested in some kind of premarital counseling-especially since schools no longer seem to teach homemaking skills or financial management courses. These life lessons are just as important as a career, or at least they are if a couple wishes to have a happy and stress-free family life. Couples who want to make their relationship work will generally seek out premarital counseling because they don't feel like they know enough about what a marriage is going to look like or what they're going to face when they do get married.

Couples who don't inherit wealth may find it advantageous to save money and seek out free premarital counseling, rather than invest their income in paid lessons or professional "premarital counseling." These couples want to make sure that they are getting the counseling, but they don't know how they're going to afford a paid course or they don't understand why they need to bother with a paid course if they can get something for free. After all, if it's considered premarital counseling, it must all be the same right? At least, that's the thought process for a lot of couples.

Does Free Premarital Counseling Work?

The problem is that free counseling is always a risky endeavor. Where do these free resources come from? Practically all professional counseling services, online or in person, need to pay their bills, and so they charge a minimum flat rate or hourly rate, depending on the time spent with the client(s). Free services are usually volunteers. This means they may come from bloggers, chat rooms, personal ads, and email groups, social media, and YouTube stars who are more than happy to give their advice.

One great thing about this is that you're going to get some resources and some knowledge from people who have been there and who have experienced these things. These are people who are married or who have been married and know the struggles and the joys associated with it. They're going to give you their firsthand experiences and the things that worked and didn't work for them, which can help you along your way and help you figure out more of what you need in your relationship to be successful. But they're not going to be everything you need to know.

The problem is that these are all anecdotal sources of information, and love and marriage is not a one size fit all issue. These amateurs may mean well, but their advice is not guaranteed to work, nor is it even guaranteed to be safe. You run the risk of accepting really bad advice, especially if you don't know the person dispensing this free information. Not only that, but you're not getting something that you can guarantee is going to apply to your situation at all. Maybe they had different kinds of problems than you, and your partner might be facing, or they may not touch on the issues that you're concerned about.

There are certainly some free resources that can be helpful to you and your partner. Maybe you're going to go to the library and check out some books or watch videos that your counselor recommends about different issues. There are all sorts of different services that you can check out, and some counselors might have free resources as well. Maybe they have questionnaires or discussion topics that you and your partner should focus on or consider. They might have short courses or study guides that you can look at for free as well. These are resources that are going to help you and your partner along, but they shouldn't take the place of true counseling sessions.

Take advantage of some of the free resources that you can get, but make sure that you're wary and that you're very discerning when it comes to what type of content you're going to be absorbing. You want to make sure that you and your partner aren't taking any of the bad advice to heart. That means you may want to talk with a paid counselor about which free resources are good and which ones you might want to stay away from. Chances are they can give you a whole lot of tips and advice about what services they believe are good and are going to compliment your sessions.

The Benefits of Paid Counseling

The advantage to paid counseling over free premarital counseling is that the advice comes from a trusted authority-namely a licensed counselor, and typically one experienced in family therapy. The Mayo Clinic states that trustworthy counselors should be state-licensed as well as certified by an organization like the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Licensing and certification require not only supervised work experience but also graduate or postgraduate degrees.

These are individuals who have gone to school and done a whole lot of work to be certified as a marriage counselor. These are people who are not just giving you information that they expect to be one-size-fits-all. They're going to evaluate your specific situation and talk to you about what you and your partner are going through. They're going to talk to you about the relationship that you're in and what you think and feel about that relationship. They're also going to help you understand where you're excelling and where you and your partner could face some challenges going forward.

Not only that but these individuals have worked with other couples and have a proven track record of helping couples to overcome their marriage problems or to turn their pre-marriage counseling into a successful relationship going forward. These are the kinds of stories that you want, and this is the kind of information that you want to get from your premarriage counselor. The idea is that you're going to be getting what you pay for here because you're getting real advice from someone who is trained to provide it.

Your premarriage counselor is going to talk with you about several different issues, and they'll even help you with areas that you may not have thought of but that a lot of different couples have trouble with once they do get married. They'll be able to walk you through things like how to handle disagreements in the future and how to make decisions as a couple. They're going to have no problem teaching you about different issues and different concerns. They'll also be able to recommend different resources that you can use at any time during your relationship.

What's Better than Free Premarital Counseling? The Certified Online Option!

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Online counseling from career professionals, such as that offered by, focus on teaching life lessons, household management, and conflict resolution to avoid the arguments that often break down marriage. Lessons by these counselors focus on showing mutual respect, more effectively communicating with each other, and learning the pitfalls that can compromise a happy marriage. If you want your relationship to last, why not get professional help and "fireproof" your marriage for the long-term?

If you're looking for high-quality counseling, you want to make sure you're talking with someone who is certified and someone that you're paying to provide you with that quality. With ReGain, you're going to have that with no problem. Not only that, but you're going to have a counselor that you can trust to give you the best possible advice to keep you and your partner on the road to a successful relationship. There are plenty of different topics that you'll need to discuss, so make sure that you're finding someone you can be comfortable with and that you're going to be as honest with as possible.

No matter what you're looking for, you're going to love the fact that this service takes care of absolutely everything online. You won't need to worry about how you're going to make it to a session or what you're going to do once you get there because you get to stay right where you are. Log on from anywhere with an internet connection, and before you know it, you're going to be having the sessions that you need without the discomfort of having to go to a therapist’s office to get it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does insurance cover premarital counseling?

Some insurance plans do cover premarital counseling, but this is not too frequent. If you're trying to find licensed therapists that can help with premarital counseling, the first place to start is your insurance provider. Before you try to find counseling services on your own, it's best to ask your insurance provider first, because they'll be able to give you a list of licensed premarital counselors and premarital counseling options whose services are covered by your insurance plan. You should also ask if the coverage extends to your partner, especially if you haven't actually gotten married yet.

Once you've talked to your insurance provider, you can ask around for recommendations for a licensed marriage and family therapist or premarital counseling services. Some premarital counseling providers also offer online sessions. If you're uncomfortable asking friends and family for their suggestions for premarital counseling services, you can find tons of reviews and testimonials online. From others' advice, you'll be able to find a marriage and family therapist or counselor that fits your needs for premarital counseling. These programs can show you clear ways to apply what you learn to real life love happiness. There are also counseling programs that are offered online. Online therapy or online premarital counseling is a great way to cut back on the cost, and this method is also covered by insurance in most cases.

Also, remember that when it's time to find a licensed marriage and family therapist, it's okay if the first therapist doesn't work out. If, after a few therapy sessions, you feel like the therapist isn't a good fit for you, there's no shame in looking for a different counselor today. The quality of therapy relies on the trust and relationship between the patients and the counselor, so it's important to find a premarital counseling expert that makes you feel comfortable and understood.

How does online premarital counseling work?

When you get therapy online, it will operate similarly to face to face premarital counseling or marriage counseling services. There are a variety of online therapy websites to choose from, such as E therapy cafe, Talkspace, and ReGain. Through websites like E therapy cafe, Talkspace, and ReGain, you'll have a number of options for how you would like to contact your counselor or therapist. If you use a website like Talkspace, you'll have unlimited messaging Talkspace Talkspace video and audio messages as an option, for example. Many people who use online counseling programs such as E therapy cafe, ReGain, or Talkspace enjoy live chat options conducted via video because they mimic face to face therapy the most. In live video sessions with a therapist or counselor who works with E therapy cafe, ReGain on Talkspace, you will see a counselor's facial expressions and mannerisms, and they will see yours in your partners, making it a preferred modality for many.

If you are wondering which of the therapy plans or counseling programs provided by websites like ReGain, E therapy cafe, and Talkspace is right for you, there are a couple of things to consider. Specific plans are best for unlimited messaging or other advanced features on a website; typically, the premium options. If you would like unlimited messaging and think that it would make a difference in your therapeutic experience, make sure to pick a plan such as a premium plan that is best for unlimited messaging services.

What are the best online marriage counseling programs?

As with anything, the best online marriage counseling programs or couples therapy options will vary from person to person, depending on a number of factors. One thing that is consistent among the best online marriage counseling programs is that they all have licensed counselors and therapists. Remember that just because a website claims to have the best online marriage counseling programs or offerings doesn't mean that it actually is one of the best online marriage counseling programs. Before you seek counseling of any kind or try one of the many online marriage counseling programs out there, you want to make sure that it's the best online marriage counseling program possible by checking to make sure that the therapists and counselors on the website are licensed. The couples therapy professionals at ReGain are all licensed, so you can be sure that you're seeing a high-quality and advanced level clinician when you obtain couples therapy services through ReGain. 

Many individuals offer relationship coaching online, so in this day and age, it's essential to know the difference between coaching and counseling. A coach will not have the educational background or clinical experience that a counselor, therapist, or another advanced level clinician will have. While coaching can be beneficial in some cases, it isn't the same as therapy or counseling. If you're seeking couples therapy, find a licensed provider in your area or a website such as ReGain that provides services from licensed providers to ensure that you get what you're looking for.

When should you start premarital counseling?

Just like the name suggests, premarital counseling should be started and completed before you get married. Based on the number of sessions, the frequency of the sessions, and your schedule, you can work out when to start the premarital counseling. If your relationship is long distance, or if you both have busy lives, you can also consider online premarital counseling. If you plan to do online premarital counseling, be sure that you leave a few extra weeks before the wedding in case any sessions need to be rescheduled. Talk to your premarital counselor to find out how long before the wedding you should start your premarital counseling.

How do I find a good pre marital counselor?

Finding the right premarital counselor looks different for each person. The easiest way to find growing self counseling coaching that best fits you and your partner is online martial counseling. Online marriage counseling offers a lot of different therapists who are helping couples. These online marriage counseling experts can be located anywhere in the world, and still be able to engage with you and your partner via online premarital counseling.

You can find a premarital counselor who offers a free consultation so that you can get a good idea of their personality before you commit to a full course of online therapy or growing self counseling coaching. This is much easier if you're doing premarital counseling online. With online therapy, you're able to "shop around" a bit more and see what your options are for online premarital counseling.

You can also ask your friends and family for recommendations for growing self counseling coaching or a premarital counselor. If they've gone through premarital counseling, they're sure to have a suggestion or opinion on the matter! However, if you'd prefer to keep friends and family out of your life coaching and online marriage counseling, you can look for reviews online. There are many websites that host reviews for relationship coaching, life coaching, and dating coaching. These websites are helping couples find the right premarital counselor and setting them up for premarital counseling online.

Do you pay for premarital counseling?

If you're looking for a quality program with a licensed marriage and family therapist, then you're going to have to pay for premarital counseling. That being said, there are plenty of free resources, like blogs, online courses, and YouTube channels that offer programs for premarital counseling online. However, if you're looking to sit down and talk through everything with a premarital counselor, then you're going to have to pay the marriage and family therapist's hourly rate. This is true for online premarital counseling, too. While many licensed marriage and family therapists offer a free consultation at the beginning of their program, this is the only free session that you will likely receive.

What is the average cost of premarital counseling?

If you are seeking premarital counseling questions, it's important to have an idea of the price range. Even if you and your partner are ready for marriage counseling couples therapy, the counseling cost could be an inhibitor to therapy or relationship counseling. If you're planning to do premarital counseling with a licensed marriage and family therapist, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150 per session. However, you should check to see if your therapist is into counseling couples online. If you can do premarital counseling online, you can usually save some money over the course of the couples therapy or marriage counseling.

Many marriage counseling services also offer services based on a sliding scale. This means that you'll pay for your online therapy at a rate that corresponds to your income. A higher income means that you'll pay more, while a lower income means that you'll pay less for growing self-counseling coaching or marriage counseling from the advanced clinician or provider you see.

How many sessions are needed for premarital counseling?

A typical premarital counseling course will last for five to seven sessions, though the amount varies from couple to couple. You may have a paid or free consultation session with a provider before you engage in premarital counseling so that you can learn more about the process and share why you're there. If you decide to engage in couples therapy as a married couple in the future, the amount of couples therapy sessions you attend will vary, too. You may go to couples therapy online or in person for anywhere from 4 to 6 couples therapy sessions to 12 to 30 couples therapy sessions. The number will vary depending on what you and your partner are there for and what your needs and goals are in couples therapy. Couples therapy is highly effective for many people in relationships, but as with anything in life, those who put in the work and do their best overall regain or gain the most from the experience. 

What is divorce counseling?

Divorce counseling or therapy isn't the same as couples therapy or premarital counseling. Divorce counseling is meant to help couples separate peacefully. If someone wishes to seek one-on-one counseling post-divorce, an individual counselor can assist you or someone you know through the divorce recovery process.

What questions do they ask at premarital counseling?

The exact questions that are asked at premarital counseling will depend a lot on the marriage and family therapist who is conducting your sessions. In general, though, you can expect plenty of premarital counseling questions about expectations for the future. That's true for online counseling as well. This usually includes questions about your goals for the future, and how your partner fits into those goals. The marriage and family therapist is also helping couples to revise and refine their goals and expectations of marriage.

Most of these discussions will help the counselor to understand how you resolve issues and respond to love happiness. The marriage counseling couples therapy will also teach you tools for better communication skills that you can use throughout the relationship. That's why online premarital counseling is sometimes also called relationship coaching. Another approach that a couples therapist might employ is exposure therapy. With this method, the therapist will trigger anxiety on purpose so that the patient can confront it head-on in a safe space. This approach can be used for individuals and couples, and it often lends a lot of insight for both the patient and their partner. The goal is to equip both the patient and the partner with tools to deal with anxiety in the relationship.

Play therapy is another method for addressing problems in a relationship. In play therapy, the therapist takes the role of observer while the couple "plays out" a typical interaction. This will show them a real depiction of how a particular couple acts. Then, the therapist is able to review and give advice based on their observations. No matter what methods the therapist employs, you should expect premarital counseling to be a safe space to work through the premarital counseling questions in your relationship with the help of a professional and unbiased third party. This is the essence of relationship coaching.

What should premarital counseling cover?

Usually, the first thing that premarital counseling online will cover is a relationship quiz. Since this isn't dating coaching or life coaching, the quiz is given to both you and your partner. Then, you'll dive into the details of your marriage and your future.

You'll almost certainly spend a lot of time discussing your visions and expectations for the future with your partner. You'll also talk about the expectations that you both have in the marriage, in terms of roles and the structure of the marriage. This also involves diving deep into topics like finances and time management. It also includes those topics like expectations for sex and having children.

Premarital counseling also covers different ways to resolve conflict. This is done by looking into your and your partner's past, identifying areas that could cause conflict in your marriage, and then coming up with ways to work through that conflict if and when it arises.

How long should premarital counseling last?

Premarital counseling is usually done in five to seven sessions, with one session per week. So, premarital counseling usually lasts around two months, but not more than that. The time you're in premarital counseling will vary depending on what you'd like to address during your time in counseling. Premarital counseling experts suggest that you get it all on the table during premarital counseling so that you can troubleshoot anything that might arise during your marriage. These issues can include but aren't limited to finances, parenting, and communication. 

Is premarital counseling necessary?

While premarital counseling isn't a prerequisite for getting married, it is a great way to start a marriage off right. Premarital counseling gives you and your partner a whole toolbox of communication and conflict resolution tools that will really benefit you throughout the course of your whole marriage. There are many different forms of counseling or couples therapy that can benefit people in a relationship. A couple might seek emotionally focused therapy (EFT), cognitive behavioral therapy, imago relationship therapy, or see a provider who specializes in the Gottman method, for example. One consistent element in nearly any form of counseling is that it enhances the growing self growing relationships and growing aspirations in your life. Whether you're in therapy prior to or during a marriage, a therapist or counselor is there to help you build and maintain a life of love happiness and success with your partner or spouse.

How do I keep the love alive in my marriage?

If you are looking for premarital counseling or counseling programs, you have made an excellent first step to maintaining a long, healthy partnership with crucial tools such as communication and conflict resolution skills. You don't just need to go to counseling for major issues; it can also be to strengthen your relationship or to get a quality premarital education of sorts from a licensed mental health professional who can help you through any sticking points or concerns you might have. To keep the love alive in your marriage long-term, make sure to maintain affection for one another, use active listening skills with each other so that you both always feel heard and cared for, and make sure to spend time together regularly doing something low-stress that you both enjoy. You don't have to go on fancy couples retreats to have fun, though if you can, go for it! Simple date nights or nights in are special for many, and as long as you keep things fresh and fun, it's all you really need to fulfill the romance in your day to day relationship. If you run into any issues throughout the course of your marriage, there are a variety of marriage counseling services and counseling programs, whether those are online marriage counseling programs or in person marriage counseling services. 

What happens at premarital counseling?

In premarital counseling, similar to dating coaching or life coaching, most of the work is done by talking through your expectations and goals, and then making plans to reach these goals. A lot of the common goals and training that you'll see in premarital counseling focuses on communication and conflict resolution. You can expect deep and serious discussions with your partner and the marriage counselor about roles, sex, money, time, and children. This discussion is the cornerstone of premarital counseling, and it makes up most of what happens at premarital counseling.

Why is premarital counselling important?

The short answer is that premarital counseling sets couples up for a healthy, happy wed life. Premarital counseling is a great and proven way to strengthen the marriage even before you've said, "I do." It helps to solve problems that may arise in the marriage proactively. Also, it can be a safe space to address any underlying issues that might spring up and wreak havoc on your marriage in the future. It's a great way to stop and solve problems in your marriage before they arise, so premarital counseling is definitely important! 

Who is online premarital counseling for?

Online premarital counseling, couples therapy, or online marriage counseling are excellent options for engaged couples or married couples who have busy schedules, who frequently travel, or those who live in a remote area. It is also excellent for those who feel more comfortable talking to a board certified therapist or another advanced clinician from the privacy of their own home. It can also be helpful for those with health issues who choose to engage in online sessions for healthcare needs when possible. For some married or engaged couples, online premarital counseling, couples therapy, or marriage counseling online is simply a preference. There are pros and cons to in-person counseling and online couples therapy, so weigh your options and make the best decision for you, your partner, your needs, and your lifestyle. 

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