Many couples view pre-marriage counseling as unromantic and unnecessary. But, with the divorce rate what it is now, it is surprising that more couples don’t choose to do it. How much time goes into preparing for a wedding which only lasts one day? Wouldn’t it make sense to put some prep time into your marriage that is supposed to last a lifetime?
I have many couples who come to me for marriage counseling with challenges that could have been avoided had they done premarital counseling. Basic, but important issues, not addressed prior to the “I do’s,” can become problematic under the stressors that most couples face as they begin their life and family together.
Whether it’s called pre-marriage counseling, marriage prep, or premarital counseling, the counseling I provide will give you a reality check about your relationship. The benefit of doing this before the wedding is that feelings of love and positive energy toward your partner are at such a high level. Sometimes “cold feet” appear in the months prior to the big day. This kind of counseling addresses any issues that are raising red flags for you.
Because this is not a one-size-fits-all class, we can tailor your sessions to your needs. Some of the common issues couples may discuss are:
- Money — including your money values, dealing with past debt, saving habits, future expectations, etc.
- Pre-marital Agreements — when they are helpful or necessary and how to navigate through the development of one so that no one’s feelings are hurt.
- Disagreements — how do you handle them now, how you would like them to be handled, expressing anger and frustration in a healthy way, and fair fighting and conflict management techniques.
- Family and Religion/Spiritual Life — planning holidays, pleasing both sides of the family, or not, and, who communicates with whom? do you share religious or spiritual beliefs? how will you accommodate each others’ needs for religious or spiritual expression?
- Children — when, how many, childrearing styles and beliefs, views on adoption or high tech ways to become pregnant if there is infertility, and with what, if any religion, will the kids be raised.
- Home — who is responsible for what chores, how do you incorporate each partner’s living style, and ideas about navigating entertaining, pets, interior decoration, etc.
- Community and Friends — do you like each others’ friends? do you have couple friends? how do you feel about your partner spending time with friends? how much is okay? how active do you foresee each of you becoming in your community, clubs, or groups?
- Intimacy and Sex — are you well matched in your need for affection? how is your sex life so far? are you comfortable talking about sex with your partner and are you comfortable with each others’ bodies? can you see the possibility of each having different levels of desire? how will you handle that?
These and other issues can be included in your counseling schedule. At our first meeting we will determine what is important to you. Sessions are informal and many people find them fun as they get to know one another better. We may do some assessments and you may have some homework. It will be up to you how many sessions you will want. Most pre-marriage counseling can be done in four to five sessions.
Some might say that this kind of couples counseling sounds unromantic. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It alleviates some of the pre-wedding stress, tackles difficult subjects that one or both of you may have a hard time bringing up, and most importantly, by dealing with issues now, you will have more time to explore the romance in your marriage later on!