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 often 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 no conflict or sadness, right? In actuality, no relationship is without some level of conflict, and that doesn’t make the relationship “bad.” Instead, it means that it’s realistic to assume that there will be ups and downs for you and your partner to resolve.
Why Do People Seek Pre-Engagement Counseling?
Given that the US has a substantial 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 resolution, and eventually, can prepare them for their married life. Overall, pre-engagement counseling is less commonly spoken of in comparison to premarital counseling, but it is quite popular, and it helps to provide an extra layer of security before engagement. Some couples who are very close to their church may even receive premarital and pre-engagement counseling through a member of the church. That said, it’s not just for those who are religious, and you can get pre-engagement counseling from a provider who is not affiliated with a religious institution. Many engaged couples who find a counselor have reported significant benefits from involvement in this type of therapy, including a higher success in marriage.
Is Pre-Engagement Counseling Right For You And Your Partner?
Pre-engagement counseling, put simply, is for anyone. There are counselors who focus on distinct subjects and populations, which can be comforting to know for couples who need a provider with familiarity in a particular area or part of life. If you want to know whether pre-engagement counseling is right for you and your partner, you may want to explore some of the things that it can help with. Here are some of the reasons people look for pre-engagement counseling:
To sum it up, pre-engagement counseling and/or education 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 partner’s 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. Maybe one of the above reasons that people seek counseling resonated with you, or perhaps you simply want to add a layer of security to your relationship. This is excellent, but 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. 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 a portion of individuals, a dating relationship is a much more relaxed experience in comparison to more serious forms of commitment where things like shared rent or home ownership, kids, and money are on the line. This can be especially true if you don’t live together before the wedding. Dating relationships are often focused on passion, togetherness, and fun, and they may lack the same responsibilities and expectations that come with engagement or marriage. Counseling can provide couples 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 For Marital Issues
Couples who do not have extensive experience with serious relationships, have patterns of ignoring topics that may cause disagreement, or have not had to face many challenges in their current relationship will sometimes not know what to do when problems arise in marriage. It is a fact of life that some 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 both partners can avoid divorce and work towards keeping the relationship up with the proper drive and strategy. This isn’t to say that divorce is “bad,” but that, if you’re honest in counseling, you may be able to prevent some difficult situations that could occur later on due to lack of upfront communication.
Pre-Engagement Counseling Covers All Aspects Of A Relationship
Pre-engagement counseling, like any good type of counseling that involves couples, 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 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 after you have married your significant other. Certain counselors will specialize in specific areas and will help you to target these areas to better prevent them from becoming an issue for you in the future. It may also mean that you address matters head-on that you’d be otherwise tempted to avoid, like debt or differing desires around building a family.
It Helps You Realize That Relationships Are More Than Just Passion And Attraction
Sometimes, 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 and how we fit into that equation. Are you able to accept your partner for all their faults? Can you enjoy doing some of the things that they do? Will you be able to peacefully and authentically 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. You can figure out whether you simply have some things to work on, 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 resurface later in the marriage. They may feel like it’s too late to bring up a topic that could stir things up, but this couldn’t be further from accurate. Now is the time! Your future selves will likely thank you.
Counseling can only help you with what you talk about; so, to get the best results, it’s crucial to be honest. Prior to counseling, you may talk with your partner and let them know that what you want is for both of you to be frank and open during sessions so that you can address any relevant points and nurture your future together.
How To Receive Pre-engagement Counseling
It may appear daunting to find pre-engagement counseling, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Many providers, community centers, and therapy offices advertise their services online or are part of an online directory. That said, there are times when dealing with a waiting list, commuting to an office, or other concerns could get in the way for those considering face-to-face counseling. If you and your partner are planning on becoming engaged, consider receiving therapy from one of the many certified online therapists at ReGain. Online therapy has become very common and has helped many couples prepare for successful engagements and marriages. Online therapy allows couples to be flexible in their schedule as they’re able to access sessions from anywhere they have an internet connection. Plus, it’s often more cost-effective than in-person couples therapy. The therapists at ReGain know how to prepare you and your partner for a happy, fulfilling, and more committed relationship.
When should you start premarital counseling?
With it in mind that many couples attend premarital counseling for at least a month or two (though it varies and may take only a small group of sessions), it’s likely best to do it long enough before the wedding that the experience will not feel rushed. You don’t want to hold back in premarital counseling, and you want to give the process an adequate amount of energy, so many find that it’s best to do it soon enough that the pressure of the approaching wedding does not interfere.
What does pre-engagement mean?
Pre-engagement means “before the engagement.” So, where premarital counseling occurs prior to your marriage, pre-engagement counseling occurs prior to your engagement.
How do I prepare for premarital counseling?
To prepare for premarital counseling, consider writing down a list of questions about your relationship that you have been wanting to talk about with your partner. 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’re married. Prepare to attend your premarital counseling session with a positive attitude and an open mind.
What questions are asked in premarital counseling?
When couples get premarital counseling, it's common for the counselor to ask questions about your childhood, parents, family, children, employment, and other personal aspects of your life in order to prepare, enrich, and enhance your overall relationship. Questions about finances and intimacy are also common. Talking to someone about the most intimate parts of your life in premarital counseling can feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s worth it to nurture your connection and set yourselves up for success.
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’d like. You don’t have to be struggling in your relationship to get premarital counseling. Many people take part in premarital counseling to learn relationship basics like how to communicate effectively, how to resolve conflict, and how to manage 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 premarital counseling can 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. This may be why divorce is less likely in couples who pursue premarital counseling.
What is premarital counseling like?
Premarital counseling sessions are designed to prepare, enrich, and support you in the same way as in individual counseling sessions, but in this case, sessions are about you and your partner as a couple. When you get premarital counseling online, you’re virtually connected with a therapist, such as a marriage and family therapist, via audio, video, or text chat. Once you and your therapist are connected, and you can both see and hear each other, the session begins.
In online 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 often consist of a question-and-answer session where you, your partner, and your therapist all ask and answer questions about the relationship. Your premarital counseling session is a good opportunity to ask all of the questions about your relationship that you may have been too afraid to bring up with your partner before.
How beneficial is premarital counseling?
Research on premarital counseling shows that couples who get this advanced form of therapy are thirty percent more likely to report satisfaction in their marriages and intimate relationships. This means that many people are finding premarital counseling beneficial for their marriages because it helps prepare, enrich, and enhance their relationship before marriage.
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 are going to be addressed, there could be very few sessions or several.
Can unmarried couples go to counseling?
Yes, couples counseling can be attended 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.
Engagement counseling, pre-engagement counseling, and various other forms of couples counseling are all designed for people who are not yet married. They are stepping stones for a good long-term union.
How much does premarital counseling cost?
It depends on how many sessions you attend. Some counselors charge between $50 and $250 per visit. However, some may offer a bundle price or sliding scale rates, or they may take insurance. Online premarital counseling through platforms that strive to offer affordable plans is also an option.