The Premarital Counseling Questions You Should Ask
Did you know that there is a 30% higher success rate for married couples who engaged in premarital counseling than those who do not? In fact, marriage counseling isn't just for after you're married or when your relationship has problems. It's a way to strengthen your relationship before any potential problems occur - because let's face it, life happens. A lot of premarital counseling with a professional counselor involves learning how to communicate with each other. It also uncovers differences of opinion and allows the couple to find ways to deal with those differences and learn how to compromise. In other words, it teaches the couple how to argue and still have respect for one another. No matter how strong and blissful your relationship is now, there's no way for you to know how you and your partner would react to life's challenges (such as losing a job or getting into a car accident) unless you're thrown into these situations - or if you talk about it beforehand. Premarital counseling builds the foundation for talking to each other in constructive ways before you need to tackle more complex issues.
So what kind of questions should you be asking and answering before you and your partner's big day? Read below for a few suggestions.
Why Are You Getting Married?
It's important to be honest with each other about what you expect to get from the marriage. There are many different reasons to get married, and having relationship priorities that match up with each other will help you to work toward shared goals as a couple.
The first thing that a counselor may ask the couple is why they have decided to marry, which is often a difficult question to answer. It requires some introspective thought as individuals as to why each person has decided marriage is the next best step in their relationship. Will someone other than yourselves be disappointed if you decide not to marry? Is their opinion important? Is the decision to marry based on only religious beliefs? Do you or your partner practice your religion, and is it a problem if you or they don't? Do you expect your partner to join you in your church to pray? Are you comfortable if they do not wish to?
Why Were You Attracted To Each Other?
What qualities attracted you to your intended life partner? Have you honestly considered any faults the other person has? What are they, and are they easy to forgive?
Whether it is the first marriage for each or whether they have been married before, what are the expectations of this new marriage? If you have doubts, what are they? Have you discussed this openly with your partner at all?
How Would You Like To Help Your Fiancé Improve?
This question is not about criticizing your partner. It's about being supportive of helping each other grow, and how you answer it can say a lot about your future together. If you or your partner are quick to point out flaws that can be fixed, then you need to step back and ask whether you would both be happy if that flaw never went away.
What Issues Do You Disagree About?
No two people agree on every single subject, but that's okay. You don't have to be identical to be compatible. But you should be able to talk about those subjects honestly with each other. Can you discuss an issue you each think about differently in a way that makes both of you feel secure and respected?
How Will You Manage Your Finances Together?
There is no right answer to this question. You may have joint accounts, separate accounts, or some combination of the two. One of you may pay all the bills, or you may each have specific payment responsibilities. What matters is that you know before getting married how all of that will work out and that you both agree. (Of course, it's okay if you decide to renegotiate finances later. But you should both be able to discuss finances maturely.)
Do you know each other's financial status? Do you understand each other's financial commitments to institutions or individuals, such as loans and credit card debt? Do any of these financial commitments pose a problem, and have you discussed how to resolve these issues? Will you both contribute to a savings plan? Have you agreed to the reasons you have or don't have a savings plan? Are you planning to save for retirement, and have you agreed upon how to do it? What amount of money in your joint account is a comfortable amount? Do you intend to have "free spending money," and how much each month? Are you comfortable with the differences in salary if there are any?
How Will We Divide Chores?
If you've lived together before getting married, this one shouldn't be too much of an issue because you already know how the chores are divided. But if you haven't lived together, you should make sure your partner's ideas about household responsibilities are the same as yours.
Have you discussed the roles you will have in the marriage? Do you want to emulate the roles of your parents? Have you come to an agreement of who does what in the home, such as cleaning, cooking, washing clothes, and caring for the yard and vehicles? Do you agree, or do you or your partner have reservations?
Do You or Do You Not Want Children, and If Yes, How Many?
You and your partner have probably already discussed whether or not you want children. This can be a real deal-breaker for some relationships, so you shouldn't expect your partner to change their mind about this. That's not to say it can't happen, but it's best not to assume that they'll eventually have a change of heart.
Have you discussed having children? If so, have you agreed when you might want to start a family? Do you know your partner's feelings about abortion and adoption? Are you in agreement about how to handle discipline when and if you have children? Who will be expected to stay home if children enter the picture, or have you agreed on plans to handle this issue? Has there been a discussion about bringing children up in a particular religion? Have you talked about religious education for your children, and do you both agree? Do you want your children to have close relationships with their grandparents? If neither of you wants children, are you completely satisfied with that decision? Do you know and understand your partner's reasons for not wanting children? Are those reasons reasonable and acceptable?
Where Will You Live?
Have you decided where you want to live after you are married? Does the proximity of parents have anything to do with the choice of where to live? Do you have plans to own a house, and do you agree on the kind of house that would be affordable for your first home together? Have you discussed exactly how you intend to finance the purchase of a home? Does one or both of you already own a home, and do you have plans for one or both of the homes? Have you decided what to do with the proceeds if either of you decides to sell?
Should You Do Everything Together?
Do you expect to do everything together? Do you agree that each of you will need some time away from each other to be with friends or relatives now and again? Do you have issues with your partner's friends or relatives? Does your partner expect to spend holidays with parents and relatives? If so, have they considered your opinion? What holidays have you spoken about in particular? Have you agreed to not share your minor disagreements with friends and family, especially parents?
How often do you expect to have sex? What kind of sexual activity is taboo? Are you or your partner addicted to porn? Do you want that behavior to stop? Does either partner visit strip clubs, and is this something that you or your partner expects to continue to do or wishes it to stop? Have you committed to each other to not use sex as a way of getting your way or a way to punish the other?
Have you made your expectations clear about infidelity? If infidelity does occur, does your partner know how you are going to feel and react? Are they willing to seek counseling? Do you and your partner agree on what is considered cheating? Do both of you agree to never discuss your married relationship with others, male or female, outside the marriage except for a counselor or religious mentor?
Benefits of Premarital Counseling
As you may have noticed, most of the premarital counseling questionnaire is about discussing uncomfortable or confrontational topics. And how well the two of you can confront issues honestly is a huge predictor for how well you can negotiate your marriage together. Working with a marriage counseling professional can help you learn to navigate communication pathways. Premarital counseling is nothing to fear. Not surprisingly, couples who devote time to ask important premarital questions are statistically proven to have longer, more successful marriages.
If you're preparing to marry your significant other, the last thing you should deal with is organizing yet another appointment to drive to. You're already thinking about meeting people for music, food, decorations, photography; the list goes on. This is where online counseling services like ReGain offer solutions. With one of our licensed therapists' guidance, online counseling eliminates the need for long drives and inconvenient appointment times. Instead, you can reach out to your counselor whenever and wherever you want to, at a fraction of the cost of in-person sessions. Below are some reviews of ReGain counselors for you to review, from couples who did premarital counseling.
"We have really loved working with Coralea. My boyfriend (now Fiancé) wanted to make sure we got some issues and better communication skills before getting engaged. Counseling has been incredibly beneficial to our relationship. It's such a great way to discuss difficult topics in a structured way. I recommend counseling for anyone!"
"I can't say enough of Teralyn and her approach to helping my fiance and I shore up our relationship before we get married. She constantly makes herself available. She does an amazing job making us both feel heard and has given multiple solid action points that have moved our relationship forward."
When you commit your entire life to your significant other, you want your marriage to be as successful as possible. After all, you're both head-over-heels for each other. Premarital counseling can help you and your partner with some of the most fundamental questions and decisions before the big day to ensure that you both live happily ever after. Take the first step.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What questions do they ask in premarital counseling?
Some very common premarital counseling questions involve spirituality, money, and conflict resolution. For example, are you both spiritual people? Can you practice your spirituality together?
How do you like to spend money, or save it?
When conflicts arise, how do you solve them? If you solve them ineffectively now, how can you work towards better conflict resolution?
Premarital counseling is meant to prepare you for married life, so it’s important to get these big counseling related questions out of the way, premarriage. Unlike marriage counseling questions, which target specific aspects of maintaining and nurturing a marriage life.
What is discussed during premarital counseling?
When it comes to marriage preparation, premarital counseling can be extremely helpful in facilitating the conversations that are important to discuss before getting married. Premarital counseling can help lead you to a successful marriage and a fulfilling married life by asking important related questions that factor into deciding to marry.
Some of these discussions include what your expectations are for the relationship and your individual and combined goals in life. It may also be important for premarital couples to discuss extended family and the environment that their marriage family will be existing in. Married couples often don’t realize the issues that they’re facing until they have already become very large; this is why premarital counseling can be so helpful.
When should you start premarital counseling?
When thinking about when to begin premarital counseling, oftentimes the answer is the sooner the better, with some couples even choosing to go to pre-engagement counseling.
Seeing a licensed counselor to work on your marriage is never a bad idea, so starting off early is ideal. Marriage counseling is a great tool for couples to engage with at any point. It gives you the opportunity to know questions to ask married couples in a safe environment.
What do you do at pre marriage counseling?
Premarital counseling is just a way to work on your marriage before it begins! A premarital counselor will often act as a facilitator for conversations that are important to discuss before getting married. They will ask you premarital related questions and help you to come to consensus or understanding about important topics. These pre marital conversations are extremely helpful in order to set the groundwork for marriage counseling later in life.
What are some premarital questions?
Some important questions to ask in premarital counseling are whether or not you and your partner agree on things such as religion, childbearing, where you would like to live, where your careers are taking you, etc. If you disagree on these things, premarital counseling can be a great way to come to a consensus, or to talk them out in a more effective fashion than you would be able to without premarital counseling. If you agree on them already, premarital counseling is a great way to build a sturdy foundation for a great marriage!
What questions should you ask before marriage?
Premarital counseling helps to raise important questions before marriage. Many of these related questions deal with marriage itself, and family. Marriage counseling will often involve related questions about you and your partner, your similarities, and your differences. Oftentimes, couples have many small differences that make their relationship stronger, however, large differences are often good to discuss in premarital counseling. Taking advantage of marriage counseling helps couples to grow together and learn about each other in ways that often are helpful. Premarital counseling is an awesome tool to take advantage of in good times and in bad!
What percentage of couples do premarital counseling?
Around forty four percent of couples go to premarital counseling. Counseling services are available for the purpose of facilitating conversation topics that are important to discuss before getting married, so many couples choose to take advantage of it.
How long should premarital counseling last?
The length of your premarital counseling depends heavily on you and your partner, as well as the length of your engagement. If you are facing many issues, or if you both struggle with mental illness, you will most likely be recommended to stay in counseling longer than a couple who faces less of these issues. It is a good idea to talk to your counselor about the duration of your premarital counseling, and other related questions in order to get a better idea of how long it will last.
Can you do premarital counseling online?
Premarital counseling can be done online, much like individual counseling. If you are interested in online counseling, you can find many websites that will provide it in various formats. Online counseling can be great if you and your partner are always on the go, or have very busy schedules. When matters most is that you and your partner engage in premarital counseling, be it online counseling or in-person.
Is premarital counseling necessary?
Premarital counseling is not necessary, however, just like individual counseling, it can be extremely helpful in working through life’s everyday issues. Premarital counseling is often highly recommended in order to have a more successful marriage.
How do you get premarital counseling?
Premarital counseling is offered by a marriage and family therapist. These marriage counselors can help answer any premarital questions, provide marriage counseling, help with family therapy, and are often licensed to do individual counseling as well.
In order to begin premarital counseling, you can ask around for recommendations, or do your own research to find a marriage and family therapist that will work for you and your partner. Premarital counseling is a personal thing, so make sure that you are comfortable with the marriage counseling you will be receiving.
Some people find it helpful to go into premarital counseling with marriage related questions, where others prefer to figure out what will be discussed as they go through the counseling process.
Is premarital counseling effective?
Premarital counseling has shown to lead to more successful marriages. Couples who engage in premarital counseling and, later, marriage counseling often are better at conflict resolution and are generally happier in their relationships than couples who do not. Marriage and family are two areas of expertise that are complicated and can only be improved with marriage counseling.
What should premarital counseling cover?
Premarital counseling should cover topics that often create conflict in relationships, such as money, sex, children, and the future. Premarital counseling is meant to aid you and your partner in having open communication and improved conflict resolution, so it should cover any issues that may arise with your marriage and family.
Why do people do premarital counseling?
People choose to partake in premarital counseling because it has shown to correlate with successful marriage. People also choose to do premarital counseling because there are things that they would like to discuss before getting married, and marriage related questions, and it helps save you work on your marriage in the long run.
How much does premarital counseling cost?
Premarital counseling can cost anywhere from $50-$200. The cost of premarital counseling depends heavily on your area and the quality of the counselor. Any type of marriage counseling is an investment in your relationship, so do not be afraid to splurge if you are able to.
How Many Sessions is Premarital Counseling?
Pre marriage counseling is not a one and done situation. A premarital counselor or marriage counselor wants to ensure that any questions to the marriage are thoroughly covered.
A premarital counselor will want to discuss things such as:
- Your sex life and sexual desires (as much as you are comfortable in discussing with a pre marriage counselor)
- Career goals
- Family history of mental health conditions
- Money related questions
- Household duties
- Pet peeves
- Family members that may not support the marriage
- Religion related questions or concerns (especially if you both have different upbringings)
- Any additional related questions that may be an issue in the marriage
Depending on how many of these topics need to be discussed, a pre marriage counselor will continue working with couples until they feel they are ready to walk down the aisle.
A premarital counselor has one goal: to ask any related questions to the marriage and get them answered or help to resolve conflicts about a particular topic.
It is best to find a therapist that you both feel comfortable speaking candidly about, as some subjects, such as the couple's sex life, will most likely be discussed.
Is Premarital Counseling Free?
While premarriage counseling is typically not free, determining how much you plan to spend is an excellent preliminary point of discussion. The best premarital counselors can get upwards of $200 per session, but they will walk you through all marriage related questions.
A premarital counselor is an investment. Just like you have career goals, you should also have marriage goals. Your premarital counselor will walk you through everything from money related questions and how you plan to spend money, to mental health concerns and family planning.
What Is The Point of Premarital Counseling?
Premarital counseling allows you to talk freely with your significant other about issues that may come up in the marriage. Some of these items may be on questions that it is important to have answers to, and others may be for more mundane topics. For example: if your finance is going to school to be a doctor, it may be important to discuss career goals and related questions. Does he want to have his own practice, work in a hospital, or work in a specialty group? While you may have discussed this in passing, having a counselor to ask more probing questions may help you to understand better what your future with him would look like and how you can work around any issues that may present themselves.
Having advice from a premarital counselor is also helpful for helping to figure out how you will manage related questions to any disagrees that may arise in the marriage. Some will say never go to bed angry, while others feel sleeping on it will give you a clear head for discussions in the morning. Talking with your counselor about how you want to address disagreements in the marriage is a great tool; you will already have a foundation laid out for how to handle a difference of opinions.