When it comes to marriage, there’s no such thing as too much preparation. This is especially true when it comes to counseling sessions before you get married, known as premarital counseling, which are recommended by most marriage counselors and relationship experts alike. For many couples, the idea of going to premarital counseling can be off-putting and may even seem unnecessary. However, premarital counseling has proven benefits in helping to ensure that marriages not only last, but are also happier and healthier overall…and, if you’re going to commit the rest of your life to another person, don’t you want to be as prepared as possible?
What Is Premarital Counseling?
Premarital counseling provides couples with an opportunity to discuss issues and feelings before their marriage. This can be especially important for couples from different backgrounds or who have grown up in different households or religious beliefs. It’s also beneficial for people who are getting married at a young age, as it allows them time to mature, grow and learn about themselves before making such a life-changing commitment.
Premarital counseling helps couples create goals and expectations for their relationship that align with what they want out of life. Many counselors will focus on communication skills, conflict resolution, and financial planning during these sessions. In many cases, premarital counseling is a requirement for those getting married in certain religions; however, even if you aren’t required to attend sessions prior to your wedding day, it may still be worth your while.
Sometimes couples counseling is only recommended for those who have experienced some kind of crisis in their relationship; however, premarital counseling is beneficial even if there are no problems. It allows you and your partner to discuss and resolve issues before they become serious problems.
What Should I Expect From Pre-Marital Counseling?
Pre-marital counseling can be an exciting way to connect and can leave couples feeling empowered to and prepared to handle relationship challenges. Others couples may find it a little overwhelming if they mistakenly believe that they will have to work through all of their problems during counseling, or else they’ll never get married.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. While premarital counseling can help solve relationship disagreements, most of the sessions are designed to layout information and suggest tools for coping with challenges that may arise.
There are many different things that you can discuss during your time in premarital counseling. Typically, you’ll cover how each person views marriage, how they envision raising children together, and what their expectations are for money management and conflict resolution. You may also talk about what makes each person feel loved or hurt or how they deal with conflict when it arises. This type of conversation will give you a chance to get to know each other better and learn how you communicate with each other as well as provide an opportunity to reflect on some important decisions you’re making together.
In other words, premarital counselors teach you and your partner how to work together and build a foundation that can handle life’s challenges. The expectation is that couples will not ever fight or go through hard times, but rather that they know how to resolve their issues when they arise.
How long does Premarital Counseling last?
Premarital counseling can range from a few meetings, where couples learn about communication techniques, to several months of sessions on topics including intimacy, sex, and finances. Most couples complete their sessions within 5 to 8 meetings.
Longer premarital counseling is recommended for couples that might have deeper issues to work through before tying their knot. It can also be used by any couple where one partner has been previously married and wants help moving past old hurts and mistakes.
What if we don’t have time for premarital counseling before our wedding?
Many couples choose to take advantage of their engagement period as an opportunity for premarital counseling. If you are concerned about taking time away from your wedding planning, don’t worry — pre-marital counseling can also be done AFTER your wedding. The foundation premarital counseling provides is just as relevant after you’re married, than before you’re married. If you missed the window, or feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to fit this in, schedule it after all the wedding chaos dies down. You’ll be glad you did!
Knot Counseling offers a unique approach to premarital counseling
If you think premarital counseling is right for you, call us today for a free consultation but here’s the gist. Our premarital sessions are strong because of our years of working with couples at all stages of their relationship. We do a lot more than go over what you would find in a typical premarital question/answer book. Since we know from experience where couples end up getting stuck, we teach you the skills you’ll need to thrive even in the hardest moments. We also help you create a shared language and understanding.
The first session is used for assessment and it’s where we tease out the areas that may need more attention. In the past, the areas we’ve spent the most attention on were topics like family, sex, expectations, and lifestyle choices. If any of these areas require more time, we’ll do that in subsequent sessions.
The remaining sessions include the following and many include helpful handouts:
- Relationship Goals (our unique guide to goal setting)
- Developing the Know, Like and Trust Factor
- The relationship cycle all couples must go through
- Our 3-step process for staying connected
- Self-awareness (triggers, self-regulation, attachment style)
- Stages of a healthy relationship and where you are
- The Rules of Conflict
- How to talk so that your partner can hear you
- How to listen so that your partner feels supported
- Healthy relationship boundaries
- Forgiveness and the importance of stopping built-up resentment.
At the end of premarital counseling, we check in to see if there’s any additional help you need or if there are any topics you want to revisit.
The cool thing about doing premarital counseling with one of our counselors is that you leave having already established a relationship with a couples counselor. What that means is that if you and your partner hit any bumps down the road, you don’t have to wait until it gets bad or go through the long process of starting counseling. Instead, you can give your counselor a call, pop in for a session or 2, and since you already have the shared language and understand our process, you and your partner will move through relatively quickly.