How Pre Engagement Counseling Can Lead To A Successful Marriage
Proposing to the one you love can be a heartfelt experience, but one you must ponder carefully. Sometimes, emotions get in the way of discussion and planning, which can lead to a marriage that has a higher chance of failing.
Some go into marriage without knowing the other partner well enough or not knowing how they’ll handle the pressures of marriage. Once reality sinks in, they may try to pull back from the marriage, only to realize it’s too late.
How can one fix that? One way is to have pre-engagement counseling. Counseling before you are even engaged sounds a bit odd. However, if you wait until right before the marriage, you may feel like you’ve gone too far to turn back, even if all the problems haven’t been resolved. Plus, if you want to go above and beyond with the engagement, you may spend money on a ring or another present, only to find out the marriage isn’t for you.
That’s why it’s such a good idea to see a counselor before you even pop the question. Here are some ways pre-engagement counseling can help you.
Pre-Engagement Counseling Helps You To Know Each Other Better
At first, this sounds a bit silly. Odds are, the two of you have been dating for a long time, and you believe you know your partner inside and out. However, your partner may have some secrets, quirks, and other traits you may not know, especially if the two of you haven’t had a chance to live together yet.
You may love the person with all your heart, but when the two of you move in, you or your partner may have quirks that drive one another crazy. One may be tidier than the other. You may snore in your sleep while the other is a light sleeper.
It’s not just about the quirks and the negative issues, though. A counselor can ask you questions that will spark a deep conversation, questions that you haven’t thought of before then. A counselor may ask simple questions such as “What is your biggest accomplishment?” and it becomes a springboard for all sorts of discussion.
This is before the engagement, so it may be likely that you two haven’t introduced each other to your family, or you may not have revealed your full family history. During pre-engagement counseling, this becomes quite important. Questions include:
- How much has your family history impacted you? Everyone has different influences, and while the people who raised you do have influence, how much is up to debate. Talk about the values you’ve learned from your family.
- How close is your relationship with your parents, siblings, aunts, uncles? Some people are very close to their families. Others have a bond but may have more independence. Then some would rather avoid their family whenever they can. Knowing this can help you know more about the person you’re dating.
- What problems did your family face? Were your parents poor? Did they fight a lot? Were they nice to you, or did the two of you have a lot of arguments?
These may sound like irrelevant questions, but your families are linked once the two of you are married, whether you like that or not. You may not have to face your partner’s family all the time, but you should get to know them better.
Also, a traumatic past with your family can affect the expectations of your marriage. For example, if you grew up with parents who had relationship problems, you may have some fears about divorce or relationship problems of your own.
What Are Your Expectations?
One question you may not have answered with your partner is your expectations for your future marriage. One major reason marriages fail is the lack of communication, and one example of a lack of communication is unspoken expectations that are not met. Sometimes, you may not want to voice your expectations because you believe they make you feel bossy or controlling. Still, unless you don’t want to follow your partner’s expectations, it’s perfectly fine to have expectations.
Expectations of your marriage can vary. The small things are good to talk about. For example:
- Who will have the burden of which chores? Some couples like to split the burden equally or assign different chores. One person may have a lighter workload, take the burden, or are expected to help out. By figuring out the chores, the two of you can get them done much faster.
- Who will buy the groceries? This will often depend on who is the smarter shopper. For example, a spender will go to the grocery for one item and then leave with ten. The partner will then be upset that they spent so much, and a fight will ensue.
- How often do the two of you go out? Couples do love to go out on date nights, but some prefer it more than others. Some will want to go out every week, while others will save it for an occasion. Some will want a nice meal, while others may prefer a cheaper option. Discuss!
- What should your sleep schedule be? This will be dependent on your jobs for the most part. If the two of you haven’t lived together, you may have some trouble if one works the night shift and the other works in the mornings. Try figuring this stuff out before you get together.
Many of these tasks may change over time, or you and your partner can alternate on the responsibility. However, by having a conversation about them, you two can have a foundation at least.
Pre-Engagement Counseling Can Help Discuss Finances
Talking about your budget is something no one likes to talk about, so it’s no surprise that many marriages fail because of financial troubles. One person is a big spender, while the other wants to save every penny. They get together, and soon there are fights over money.
Or perhaps the two of you have unpaid debts you haven’t discussed, and you go into an engagement without figuring out how the two of you will tackle them.
There are so many reasons to discuss finances, and a pre-engagement counselor can help you with that. Other financial aspects include:
- How will the bills be split? Will it is 50/50, depending on income, or will other factors come into play? Many couples do not discuss bills, and there may be a fight as a result when it comes to paying them.
- How about major purchases? Who will decide on them, and how? For example, when going on a vacation, who is the one who is budgeting and planning?
- What is your credit score? Is it enough to help buy a car or a house, or is it lacking? Your credit score is something you may not want to discuss, but by being honest about it, you can make an effort to change your score should it not be up to snuff.
- What about credit cards? Who uses them, and how much? Credit cards can help you with your credit, but they may also make you accumulate debt if you use them too much.
- How will the two of you keep track of expenses? Some couples assume the other is keeping track, and then they realize they spent too much, and then there is a fight.
- Will there be separate bank accounts or a joint one? Some couples do not like having all their money in one place, while others may want a joint bank account convenience.
- Who will be the one to do the taxes? Will the two of you do it yourself or use an accountant?
- How will the two of you handle a financial emergency? For example, what if one of you loses your job or has an injury? Figuring out how you can handle a tough situation will keep you stronger. Not being prepared for a money crisis can mean the end of your marriage.
Before you propose, don’t be afraid to talk about money and be honest about it. It will save you some headaches in the future.
Counseling Is Good!
No matter what stage you are in your marriage, you can benefit from talking to a counselor. Whether you’re a new couple, a recently married couple, new parents, or an older couple, regular counseling can help make sure the two of you are on the same wavelength.
Many couples believe they are on the same page, but oftentimes, they are not. And if there is a disagreement, things can get heated, and emotions fly. When having a fight, instead of escalating it, talking to a counselor can be the middleman you need to help you reach a compromise and cool both of you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is involved in premarital counseling?
Premarital counseling is a type of therapy that engaged couples can choose to take part in before they get married to find common ground on various subjects and prepare, enrich and guide their relationship for marriage. Once you find a counselor, engagement counseling pre-marriage can include discussions of:
- Finances - how much will you as a couple spend versus save, and will you have the same bank account?
- Sex and touch - how often you would like to be intimate and communicate this to your partner.
- Schedules - what times of day would you prefer to relax, and when do you work? When do you need alone time and when do you want to spend time together?
- Chores and work distribution - who does which chores and will you both work outside the home, or will someone be the primary breadwinner?
- Will you have children?
- How to resolve conflict
- How to agree on and plan the marriage ceremony, or if you’d like to have a traditional wedding at all
It is highly recommended that people who decide to get engaged find a counselor and attend counseling sessions as premarital counseling can really prepare, enrich and organize a relationship.
For more information on premarital counseling, you can visit this informational page or begin browsing counselors at Regain.Us/start. ReGain can help you find a counselor to discuss all of these topics and set you on the right path for a fruitful and successful marriage!
What does pre-engagement mean?
Many couples find it beneficial to define a period of pre-engagement in their relationship. But what does this really mean? Before you decide to get engaged, you may seriously begin to discuss marriage with your partner. You are not yet engaged and not in the phase of marriage preparation; however, you are seriously deciding if this is something you want to do with your partner.
This phase of your relationship is unique and exciting. While you haven’t leaped to make an official commitment yet, you should be putting in the heavy lifting of asking the difficult questions, making plans, and figuring out your future together. It’s the perfect chance to make sure you’re on the same page with your partner. If you do both decide that you want to get engaged and get married, this will ensure that there will be no major surprises later on. In short, the pre-engagement period of your relationship is when you both figure out what you’re really getting yourselves into.
During the pre-engagement phase, you should both understand the other’s position regarding:
- Your finances and budget
- Family planning and children
- Major purchase decisions like cars, homes, travel, etc.
- Sex and intimacy
- Distribution of labor both with paid and unpaid labor, namely, time for work and breadwinning and how you will split up the household chores, cooking, and childcare
- Major opinions regarding religion, moral code, gender roles, etc.
- How to work through fights and tough times when they come up
- What sort of wedding ceremony you’d like to have if any at all. If you’d both like to have a large wedding ceremony, who will handle the planning and who will pay for it
This is the perfect time for many couples to seek counseling with a marriage and family therapist. Pre-engagement counseling can help a couple decide to get engaged and iron out the difficult conversations that come up when you take the next steps. Prepare enrich and create a happy marriage through pre-engagement counseling or pre-marital counseling and find a counselor with ReGain today.
When should you start premarital counseling?
You should begin premarital counseling when both you and your partner have started talking seriously about getting engaged, and you both know that a marriage proposal is something coming up in the future.
Premarital counseling with a trusted marriage and family therapist can really help a couple with the big task of marriage preparation. Many couples seek counseling before they are even engaged, called pre-engagement counseling. This part of the counseling process can help a couple discuss their value in their partnership and how to transition into a new phase.
You can also start premarital counseling after engagement for marriage preparation. Pre-marital counseling such as this can help a couple move smoothly from engagement to marriage. Engagement counseling pre-marriage can help engaged couples prepare, enrich and guide their relationship, so they are on the same page. A couple can start premarital counseling any time they feel it is right and when they find a counselor they trust.
What is the average time before engagement?
According to specialists, many couples decide to get engaged between two to five years after dating, although many couples do not fit into this time frame. It is very important for engaged couples to be on the same page and have healthy communication during this step of their relationship. To do so, many engaged couples elect to attend counseling sessions with a marriage and family therapist.
Engagement counseling pre-marriage can help a couple discuss how they will work together as a married couple. However, many couples also seek counseling before they are even engaged, attending what can be known as pre-engagement counseling. This can help you and your partner decide when is best for you to get engaged or even discuss differences if they arise. It’s easy to find a counselor to prepare to enrich your engagement with ReGain.
How many sessions are needed for premarital counseling?
Premarital counseling sessions can help many engaged couples discuss subjects to prepare, enrich and guide their relationships before marriage. The counseling process can vary in length; some couples attend over 12 counseling sessions while some only attend one or two.
Pre-marital counseling is a different experience for each couple. Still, many choose to start premarital counseling when they decide to get engaged, thus continuing the counseling processing throughout their engagement. Depending on the couple's needs and when they find a counselor, premarital counseling can be a longer or shorter process. When you find a counselor, they will also help you start premarital counseling to know how many premarital counseling sessions you will need to prepare, enrich and care for your relationship.
Is pre-marriage counseling worth it?
According to the Huffington Post, couples who participate in premarital counseling experience a much lower divorce rate than couples who don’t find a counselor. If you and your partner start premarital counseling before marriage, you can discuss heavy topics in advance to prepare, enrich and learn more about your relationship.
Premarital counseling can establish a communication culture between you and your future spouse before you even get married. Premarital counseling can also help you discuss anything you need to regarding the marriage process itself.
Find a counselor to start premarital counseling if you feel like your partnership could benefit from more open communication before marriage. Feel free to check out this article to see more ways pre-marital counseling can benefit you.
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