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

By: Dylan Buckley

Updated July 14, 2020

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. Those who come into a relationship believing this harmful misconception will often be surprised when they do run into their first issue with their partner and are unable to handle it. That is not to say that couples aren't successful but they do need to be prepared and ready to work out their problems.

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 couples 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 to reinforce their feelings and assure themselves that their partner is truly the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with.

Unlike a home environment, which could easily lead to feelings of hostility and judgment if a partner says something that the other partner doesn't take too well, 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. However, for couples who are experiencing problems, counseling can provide an opportunity to work through the issues before any longer-term commitments. A counselor can help couples figure out if the issues are serious or are relatively minor and temporary and provide the couple with the best course of action. If you are going through counseling together and are working through your issues, this can provide an even better look into how the relationship will work out in the future and whether or not your partner should pursue marriage. Our relationships are forged by what we endure together, not by how many great, stress-free times we have.


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Benefits of Pre-Engagement Counseling

So, you and your partner have decided that pre-engagement counseling is right for you. 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.

For 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. 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. For example, couples who have just started a relationship or have not been in one for too long don't have to deal with things such as living together, sharing finances, managing schedules, and dealing with the many other stresses that come with adult life. 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. More often than not, one issue can lead to another, creating a chain reaction of problems that slowly build up and become worse over time. 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. This is why those who undergo counseling reduce their chances of choosing divorce as an option.

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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. Relationships are complex and involve the joining of the lives of two individuals. These two joined lives now must work through different things such as finances, intimacy, family planning, and child raising, careers, communication, future goals, and values, just to name a few. 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

Most relationships start with intense sparks and we become heavily interested with the other partner physically, which translates into passion emotionally. However, when that passion burns away, are you sure that you are as interested in your partner as you believe you are? Passion is an important aspect of any relationship but love is just as important and love is what sustains the relationship as time goes on. 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 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. This type of counseling can provide a judgment-free environment and allow couples to feel safe and honest when discussing issues or potential anxieties regarding marriage. 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. 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 are starting the couples counseling process even before they get engaged. Pre-engagement counseling 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 or marriage. Taking part in pre-engagement counseling allows for dating couples who are considering taking the next step to learn healthier relationship skills.

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. Pre-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, write down a list of questions about your relationship that you may 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. 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?

When couples get premarital counseling, it’s common for your counselor or therapist to ask questions about your childhood, parents, family, children, employment, and other personal questions. Talking to someone about the most intimate parts of your life in premarital counseling can feel uncomfortable at first. When you get relationship counseling from leading therapy provider services like ReGain, 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 can guide you and your partner tp 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 in the same way as individual counseling sessions. When you get premarital counseling online, you’re virtually connected with a 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.

You and your partner can address concerns you may have about the relationship and talk about how to have a healthier marriage by addressing issues more effectively. 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.

How well you know your spouse questions?

Some of your premarital counseling sessions will include couples-based activities like “how well do you know your spouse”? During activities like these, both partners are quizzed on each other’s likes and dislikes to get an assessment of how well each partner knows the other. Many couples are surprised when they take part in couples activities like these.

Some couples find that they knew more about their partner than they previously thought while others realize that they really don’t know their partner at all. Either way, taking part in activities like these helps to shed light on issues with communication and intimacy in your intimate relationships.

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. 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.

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. 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. In many cases, licensed counselors and therapists work in conjunction with offline medical providers like primary care physicians and psychiatrists to coordinate care for therapy clients who are prescribed medication and those who have more debilitating or severe mental health issues.

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.

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. You can choose to begin your couples therapy alone or with your partner by your side.

The quality of your therapy will be the same whether your partner chooses to attend your sessions or if you decide to go it alone. After answering a series of getting-to-know-you questions, the next step is to get matched with a licensed therapist.

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.

What is pre marriage counseling like?

Premarital counseling sessions are designed in the same way as individual counseling sessions. When you get premarital counseling online, you’re virtually connected with a 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.

You and your partner can address concerns you may have about the relationship and talk about how to have a healthier marriage by addressing issues more effectively. 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.

How well you know your spouse questions?

Some of your premarital counseling sessions will include couples-based activities like “how well do you know your spouse”? During activities like these, both partners are quizzed on each other’s likes and dislikes to get an assessment of how well each partner knows the other. Many couples are surprised when they take part in couples activities like these.

Some couples find that they knew more about their partner than they previously thought while others realize that they really don’t know their partner at all. Either way, taking part in activities like these helps to shed light on issues with communication and intimacy in your intimate relationships.

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. 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.

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. 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. In many cases, licensed counselors and therapists work in conjunction with offline medical providers like primary care physicians and psychiatrists to coordinate care for therapy clients who are prescribed medication and those who have more debilitating or severe mental health issues.

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.

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. You can choose to begin your couples therapy alone or with your partner by your side.

The quality of your therapy will be the same whether your partner chooses to attend your sessions or if you decide to go it alone. After answering a series of getting-to-know-you questions, the next step is to get matched with a licensed therapist.

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.

What is Pre Marital Counselling?

Pre marital counseling is basically marriage preparation for engaged couples. Pre marital counseling is good for all couples but is especially important if there have been any strenuous factors on your pre engagement relationship. You don’t want the same issues to resurface after the marriage officially begins.

How Many Sessions is Premarital Counseling?

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.

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 Many Sessions Are Needed For Premarital Counseling?

At least three sessions should be attended for premarital counseling pre engagement counseling or the like. Couples will fill out a questionnaire as part of the first session, and then subsequent sessions will be used to ensure that there will be no issues that could have been managed prior to marriage. The amount of time and money you want to invest in counseling is up to you, but it is money well spent if it saves you from an expensive divorce. 

How Much Does Premarital Counseling Cost?

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

Should Couples Go to Therapy Before Marriage?

If any issues repeated come up prior to marriage, it is a good idea to attend therapy before the wedding. While basic character flaws are not typically a deal breaker, more significant issues can become problematic. Some of these issues may be around:

  • Finances
  • Time spent together
  • Communication
  • Beliefs and values
  • Roles in marriage
  • Affection and sex
  • Dealing with anger
  • Desire to have children
  • Family relationships
  • Decision-making

How Long Should Premarital Counseling Last?

Premarital counseling should provide you both with a satisfactory finally. 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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