Why Pre-engagement Counseling Might Be Right For You And Your Partner

By: Dylan Buckley

Updated October 21, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Nicole Gaines, LPC

In most cases, the goal of a relationship is to find love with another person and to maintain that love for as long as we can. When we find the individual who we believe to be "the one," the next step to take is to propose to them, marry them, and then live happily ever after. After all, the perfect relationship is one where there is only a happily ever after and there are no conflict or sadness, right? Unfortunately, these picture-perfect relationships don't exist and relationships are hard work that requires your constant care and attention. 

Given that the US has a staggering 50% divorce rate, many couples opt to receive pre-engagement counseling as a way to reduce the risk of divorce becoming a reality later on in the marriage. This type of counseling may help couples to prepare for engagement mentally, will give them the tools necessary to help with communication and conflict resolutions, and, eventually, prepare them for their life after marriage. Overall, pre-engagement counseling is less common than pre-marital counseling but it is quite popular among religious couples and it helps to provide an extra layer of security before engagement. Some couples who are very close to their church may even receive pre-marital and pre-engagement counseling through a member of the church. Many engaged couples who find a counselor have reported significant benefits from engaging in this type of therapy, including a higher success in marriage.

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Is Pre-Engagement Counseling Right for You and Your Partner?

Pre-Engagement Counseling Is for Everyone

Although many religious couples that know they will be married one day will receive pre-engagement counseling, this type of counseling is not reserved solely to religious individuals and other couples seeking to understand themselves, their partner and their relationship better can benefit as well. Many couples seek counseling and look to find a counselor to reinforce their feelings and assure themselves that their partner is truly the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with.

Pre-engagement counseling happens in a safe space where each partner can talk with their partner openly and honestly about their feelings and the future. It is important to understand that counseling is not necessarily just for couples that are having problems. Pre-engagement counseling may just help to put you and your partners' minds at ease regarding compatibility and plans. 

Benefits of Pre-Engagement Counseling

So, you and your partner have decided that pre-engagement counseling is right for you are trying to find a counselor. Congratulations! However, the questions typically don't end here. Many couples want to know what to expect after they have decided to make this choice and what they will be receiving from their counseling sessions after they find a counselor.

For engaged couples that experience a "surprise" proposal or who are anxious to get married, pre-engagement counseling may not be an option. (Keep in mind that you do still have access to pre-marital counseling to ask those important questions still and receive help.) However, there are many reasons to seriously consider receiving pre-engagement counseling or counseling early in the engagement after you find a counselor. Most engaged couples will agree that the engagement period can be stressful, particularly as the wedding date approaches and existing issues between the couple can also add to the problems two people are facing.

Here are some of the benefits that couples can expect to receive when they choose this type of counseling for their relationship.

It Prepares Couples for The Reality of Marriage and Life Together

Depending on your age and your dating experience, this may not be true for you, but for the majority of individuals, a relationship is a much more relaxed experience in comparison to more serious forms of commitment. Relationships are focused on passion, togetherness, and fun, and they often lack the same responsibilities and expectations that come with engagement or marriage. Counseling can provide them with a better look at this future and the many challenges that come with handling all of this with another individual. When they are more prepared for the future, they can take these things as they come and handle them successfully.

It Helps Couples Realize That Divorce Is Only One Option to Marital Issues

Couples who do not have extensive experience with serious relationships or those who have not had to deal with issues in their current relationship will often not know what to do when problems arise in marriage. Faced with these massive issues and lacking the tools or knowledge to tackle these issues, unprepared individuals will go for the easiest way out that provides them with a solution to their problem: divorce. It is an unfortunate fact of life that many will marry another individual without knowing how to maintain a relationship or how to resolve conflicts. However, those who pursue counseling are not only equipped with the knowledge and tools to navigate marriage but they know that divorce is not an effective solution and that both partners can work towards keeping the relationship up with the proper drive and strategy. 

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Pre-Engagement Counseling Covers All Aspects ofA Relationship

Pre-engagement counseling, like any good type of counseling that involves married or non-married individuals, does not focus on only one subject. Generally, pre-engagement counseling helps to provide you with a comprehensive overview of all of these related topics and will give you tools and resources to help you navigate through these kinds of life situations. Even better, pre-engagement counseling can help you focus on some of the current issues you are dealing with and how these may develop later on after you have engaged and married your significant other. Certain counselors will specialize in specific areas and will help you to target these areas to better prevent these areas from becoming an issue for you in the future.

It Helps You Realize That Relationships Are More Than Just Passion and Attraction

More often than not, we believe that we are in love with our partner when what we are truly feeling is lust. Pre-engagement counseling helps us to explore this concept better by helping us to dive deeper into our partner's personality and habits to learn more about who they are and how we fit into that puzzle. Are you able to accept your partner for all of their faults? Can you enjoy doing some of the things that they do? Will you be able to peacefully coexist with this person and keep that love going long after your engagement and marriage? These are all important questions to ask and ones that will help you discover the true depths of your current relationship and whether it would be wise and possible to move forward with your significant other or whether it would be a smarter choice to go your separate ways until you find someone you are truly compatible with and share a stronger bond with.

Pre-engagement counseling can also help couples better understand if they are compatible before any stressors that might occur. Many couples feel pressured to push aside issues during the engagement period, but these may, unfortunately, arise later in the marriage. Additionally, for engaged couples who plan to wait until marriage before having sex for the first time, this type of counseling may help ease apprehension well before the actual wedding day. To put it simply, pre-engagement counseling is one of the best first moves for any couple who plans on being together for a long time.

How to Receive Pre-engagement Counseling

Many religious couples may want to receive counseling from their church. While beneficial, this may not be an option for some or perhaps the person in charge of counselling believes a professional counselor could be of better service. When you are looking to find a counselor, keep in mind there are licensed counselors available who are religious and certified in providing pre-engagement counseling and there are also plenty of non-religious counselors out there for couples who may be seeking non-spiritual counseling as well. Some couples may find that they do not have a counselor they trust or want to speak to near them. Fortunately, online counseling has become very common and has helped many couples prepare for successful engagement and marriage. Online counseling allows couples to be flexible in their schedule and allows them to choose from a variety of counselors until they find the right one for them. If you and your partner are planning on becoming engaged, consider receiving pre-engagement counseling from one of many certified online counselors and start your search today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When should you start premarital counseling?

Today’s couples seek counseling and starting the couples counseling process even before they decide to get engaged or go through the engagement process or become engaged couples. The pre-engagement counseling process is becoming a popular option as couples decide to get engaged and want to make sure they fully understand what it means to be in a committed relationship and find a counselor to help them do so before becoming one of those engaged couples. Taking part in the pre-engagement counseling process allows for dating couples who are considering taking the next step to learn healthier relationship skills and start marriage preparation. Premarital counseling can help prepare, enrich, and assure couples of the strong foundation they have before marriage. 

What does pre engagement mean?

Pre-engagement means “before the engagement.” This means that when couples are dating and are thinking about becoming more serious, they can enlist the help of a licensed relationship expert to help them navigate the murky waters of dating, marriage, and healthy relationships. Couples who want to prepare for a marriage that have little relationship experience can learn important relationship basics from an expert.

Pre-engagement counseling is an especially good option for couples who are planning to have a short engagement or to marry in the near future. When you find a counselor that works for you and your partner, Ppe-marital counseling and pre-engagement counseling offer new couples with solid advice to help them prepare, enrich, and enhance the quality of dating, marriage, and serious relationships. 

How do I prepare for premarital counseling?

To prepare for premarital counseling when you seek counseling and are looking to find a counselor that suits your relationship, write down a list of questions about your relationship that you may have been wanting to talk about with your partner as these can also be part of overall marriage preparation. If you and your partner have been having any relationship issues or concerns premarital counseling is the best place to address these issues with a licensed professional before you become part of engaged couples. Relationship therapists act as a neutral third-party and mediator to help couples to resolve their issues. Prepare to attend your marriage counseling session with a positive attitude and an open mind.

What questions are asked in pre marriage counseling?

After you find a counselor, when couples get premarital counseling, t’s common for your counselor or marriage and family therapist to ask questions about your childhood, parents, family, children, employment, and other personal questions in order to prepare, enrich, and enhance your overall relationship. Talking to someone about the most intimate parts of your life in premarital counseling can feel uncomfortable at first. If you can't seem to find a counselor that suits your relationships try one of the leading therapy provider services like ReGain, where you have the confidence of knowing that your sessions are confidential and discreet. Online couples therapy sessions at ReGain allow for couples to chat with licensed therapists from the privacy and comfort of their own homes. The licensed relationship therapists at ReGain are available online 24 hours a day to accommodate any schedule and provide confidential premarital counseling.

When should you start premarital counseling?

Engaged couples or couples who are planning to be engaged can start premarital counseling or pre-engagement counseling whenever they like. You don’t have to be struggling in your relationship or having relationship challenges to get premarital counseling. Many people take part in premarital counseling to learn relationship basics like how to communicate effectively, how to fight fair, and managing joint finances.

A couples therapist or marriage and family therapist can guide you and your partner to prepare, enrich, and support your marriage -- before you’re even married. Couples who get pre-marital counseling are more likely to find healthy and productive ways to handle relationship issues when they arise. This is because premarital counseling sessions equip both partners with the tools that they need to navigate the inevitable relationship challenges that arise in all healthy relationships.

What is pre marriage counseling like?

Premarital counseling sessions are designed to prepare, enrich and support you in the same way as in individual counseling sessions. When you get premarital counseling online, you’re virtually connected with a therapist such as a marriage and family therapist via audio, video, chat, or phone. Once you and your therapist are connected and you can both see and hear each other, the session begins.

In joint premarital counseling sessions, both partners in the couple join the virtual session to have a three-way conversation with a licensed counselor or therapist. Your premarital counseling session will consist of a question-and-answer session where you, your partner, and your therapist all ask and answer questions about how to engage in the relationship and your engagement process and you decide to get engaged. Your premarital counseling session is where you can ask all of the questions about your relationship that you may have been too afraid to bring up with your partner before.

What percentage of couples do premarital counseling?

Research on premarital counseling shows that couples who get this advanced form of marriage therapy are thirty-percent more likely to report satisfaction in their marriages and intimate relationships. This means that many people are finding getting premarital counseling beneficial for their marriages because it helps prepare, enrich, and enhance their relationship before marriage.

Getting started with pre-engagement counseling, premarital counseling, and couples therapy is as easy as setting up your free therapy account using leading therapy platforms like ReGain. Once you and your partner have downloaded the free ReGain app from the Google Play or App Store, the next step is to log in and create your free couples therapy account.

The automated therapy matching service will present you with a qualified list of therapists licensed to practice in your state. Select your preferred therapist and time slot for your online therapy appointment. From there, you’ll have 24-hour access to the ReGain therapy platform for real-time engagement, support, and advice from your therapist.

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Does pre marriage counseling work?

Psychology experts and researchers have reported up to a seventy-percent improvement in the relationships of people who get counseling. After you find a counselor and start getting premarital counseling, couples counseling, and marriage therapy help struggling couples to learn that there are other options available instead of separation or divorce when relationships get rocky and it can help prepare, enrich, and support the foundation of the relationship. 

Many of the issues that dating and married couples have can be resolved with a third-party intervention that helps couples gain a new and intimate understanding of each other. If you find a counselor that suits your relationship, some couples who get premarital counseling discover underlying mental health issues that may have contributed to the downfall of a relationship had these issues been left untreated.

When couples get premarital counseling, licensed relationship experts can offer professional advice and resources for people who are suffering from mental health issues that are putting a strain on their relationships.

What is Pre Marital Counselling?

Pre marital counseling is basically marriage preparation for engaged couples. Pre marital counseling is good to prepare, enrich, and highlight the pros and possible cons in a relaionship for all couples. Pre engagement counseling is especially important if there have been any strenuous factors on your pre engagement relationship.

How Many Sessions is Premarital Counseling?

After you find a counselor, there is no set number of appointments for premarital counseling. Depending on what subjects can be stressors in a marriage after individual questionnaires are filled out and compared, it will determine the number of tentative visits you and your partner will attend pre engagement counseling or premarital counseling.

Can Unmarried Couples Go to Counseling?

Yes. Pre engagement counseling pre marital counseling or solely couples counseling can all be attending by unmarried couples. If there are issues that could be problematic within a marriage, it is a good idea to get on the same page by seeking counseling which can help prepare, enrich, and highlight these issues. 

Engagement counseling pre engagement counseling and couples counseling are all designed for people who are not yet married. They are the stepping stones for a good marriage.

How Much Does Premarital Counseling Cost?

It depends on how many sessions you attend. After you find a counselor, most counselors charge between $100 and $350 per visit; however, some may offer an engagement counseling pre engagement counseling bundle price.

How Long Should Premarital Counseling Last?

Premarital counseling should provide you both with a satisfactory sessions that help prepare, enrich, and flourish your relationship. If you are ready to run down the aisle, then marriage counseling may be short. However, if there have been issues during your dating lives, premarital counseling may last a while. As long as it takes to either come to an agreement, or agree to disagree, on a topic will be the amount of time necessary for premarital counseling.

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