You may think that you already know everything you could need to know about your special someone and you're absolutely in love, right? That may be the case, but maybe you've also started to notice some little things that you didn't know about. Perhaps it's something small that they do or something that the two of you seem to argue about quite a bit. Perhaps you want to be sure you're marrying the right person. If any of this sounds like you and you're thinking about getting married, pre-engagement counseling might be the right thing to do.
What Does Pre-engagement Counseling Mean?
Pre-engagement counseling is a forum where a couple is present with a third party (relationship counselor) to explore the concerns and emotions surrounding engagement freely. This counseling is done BEFORE engagement, not after.
Premarital counseling is not the same as pre-engagement. Premarital counseling occurs after engagement and just before marriage.
Those who have already gone through engagement are less likely to be successful with premarital counseling. They have an investment in time, money, and each other and have a much harder time walking away. The social stigma of canceling a wedding also plays into walking away from a bad premarital relationship.
With pre-engagement counseling, both parties have a more open mindset with less commitment. They are more willing to examine things in depth.
What Does Pre-Engagement Counseling Cover?
Pre-engagement counseling generally spans several sessions. The counselor asks the couple to fill out an inventory of various things relating to a lifetime commitment. Once both have completed the inventory, their counselor and the couple discuss each item.
What Are The Benefits Of Pre-Engagement Counseling?
Think, if you will, about buying a home. Do you buy a house without looking at the inside? Potential homebuyers research the neighborhood, inquire about the house's price, and tour the home. Walking into the front door, you proceed into each room, opening doors, looking into pantries, etc. Afterward, you then have enough information to decide to purchase the home or not.
Pre-engagement counseling is similar to touring a home. Different areas of your life are the rooms that you and your counselor visit. You will open doors that may reveal things in closets and pantries that the other person may not know about you or vice versa. Once you have pre-engagement counseling behind you, you can determine if you want to pursue engagement and make a lifetime commitment to that person.
Pre-Engagement Counseling Unveils Cultural Differences
When we meet someone, we rarely consider all the moving parts that influence the relationship as it grows. Cultural differences can play a big role in how successful a dating relationship, engagement, or marriage is.
What Are Some Cultural Differences?
How Do You Address The Differences In A Relationship?
Pre-Engagement Counseling Reveals Red Flags In A Relationship
The last thing anyone wants to do is end up marrying someone abusive, angry, unfaithful, or dishonest. Here are some red flags to look out for.
Red Flags That Should Not Be Ignored
If you or someone you know is experiencing any abuse, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for support and resources.
Pre-Engagement Counseling Quashes Concerns
Couples that are in love that consider engagement is full of joy and excitement. They discuss marriage with anticipation. Some may quietly struggle with fears of the struggles that come with marriage.
Engagement And Marriage FOMO
For many, rushing into engagement and marriage comes from FOMO (fear of missing out) on something magical. Often, instead of allowing a relationship to grow organically and naturally, couples fast-forward things. A relationship built with patience on a solid foundation withstands time, whereas one built quickly on sand does not.
Pre-engagement counseling helps put things into perspective to allow couples to gauge where they are and how patient they are willing to be to "build that house." You can't get to know someone unless you give the relationship time.
Rushing things only leads to incompatibility. When this happens, some will settle for less and be miserable or seek a new partner in life, leading to divorce.
Counseling in any form most always benefits a person. Having a neutral third party present as you discuss your inventory list provides an objective viewpoint of the relationship.
The benefits of pre-engagement counseling are well worth the time and effort. The biggest advantage that counseling gives you is an insight into yourself and what you perceive the ideal relationship to look like. That's why companies like Regain.us are setting up systems for you to find a therapist right online and talk to them that way too.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the average time before engagement?
In the United States, most couples date for around two or more years before getting engaged. However, many individuals may wait less than two years, even some who wait only a few weeks or months.
The process of marriage preparation can be daunting, and some couples might find it more beneficial to remain unmarried for a longer time. Others might handle the challenges of marriage preparation by remaining engaged for a longer period. Whatever works for you and your situation is completely appropriate.
Before getting engaged or getting married, some couples find it beneficial to seek mental health services to help address any issues or concerns in their relationship. Pre-engagement counseling, premarital counseling, and other similar services are great resources to accomplish this goal.
Premarital counseling isn’t always necessary, but it can help you strengthen your relationship, even if you have no major issues. A counselor can help you understand your priorities and goals in life, such as marriage parenting faith or why you might choose to avoid marriage parenting faith or other principles, among other things. This could also help determine the best amount of time to wait before getting married in your specific situation.
How many sessions are needed for premarital counseling?
Typically, multiple sessions of premarital counseling or marital counseling are necessary to see change and improvement. You can likely expect to attend 5 to 10 sessions (at a minimum), depending on the complexity and severity of the issues.
The time you could spend in premarital or marital counseling largely depends on why you’re there. For some, premarital counseling might be a healthy part of marriage preparation; for others, more serious relationship-threatening issues might need to be addressed, and more time will be spent in therapy as a result.
It’s important not to be afraid of premarital counseling or marital counseling. Though there can appear still to be some stigma around premarital counseling and similar services, they have a lot of potentials to be good for just about anyone. They do not necessarily mean a relationship is in trouble at all.
No matter how much you prepare for marriage can be challenging, and it can sometimes necessitate intervention or guidance from an outside party. Pre-engagement counseling, premarital counseling, and other forms of therapy are designed to help you in the long term, and they certainly have demonstrated that they can do so for many couples.
What is the best age to get engaged?
The best age to get engaged is a personal decision (although in the United States, research shows that more and more individuals are waiting longer to get engaged and married). It’s generally a good idea to avoid rushing into a marriage at an especially young age since the brain isn’t fully formed until slightly into adulthood, after all. Still, no set age guarantees or prevents a healthy marriage.
A good place to discuss marriage parenting faith and engagement, among other topics, is premarital counseling. Premarital counseling is designed to address specific problems you and your partner may be dealing with before, during, and after your engagement.
Pre-engagement counseling, premarital counseling, and other similar services are meant to help us understand what’s important to us in life, whether marriage,e parenting, faith, or something completely different. Counseling can determine how to best approach the obstacles that relationships and life may throw at a couple, forming a strong foundation for anything that could come up in the future.
How long is too long to date before engagement?
There is no right answer for topics like marriage, parenting faith, and other similar ideas. Even if you believe you’re fully prepared for marriage, how long to date before engagement falls under this umbrella can be challenging and stressful. Everyone is different, and even those with seemingly mature self-awareness may question when a relationship is ready for marriage.
Many couples date for a year or two before getting engaged, but that doesn’t mean that only this model is healthy. Some couples date for shorter or longer periods, while some never get married at all.
A good way to answer this question is to gauge your expectations and goals and those of your partners. This way, you’ll be on the same page, lessen confusion, and avoid potential conflict. Communication about expectations of marriage is often key to avoiding conflict.
Premarital counseling is a great space to explore these questions and more (marriage parenting faith, or whatever else you might need). Premarital counseling doesn’t have to be solely for couples who are struggling, either. Virtually anyone can benefit from these sorts of discussions.
What questions does a marriage counselor ask?
Many questions in marital counseling dive deep into the root of relationships and individuals’ priorities in life (marriage, parenting, faith, and others). Here are some questions you might expect to encounter during a premarital counseling or marital counseling session:
If you experience any uncertainty or conflicts over marriage parenting faith, engagement, or other similar life events, marital counseling or premarital counseling will likely be a great resource for you.