You're engaged, and have every reason to be excited. Many fulfilling times lie ahead. At the same time, in the back of your mind you know that more than 50% of marriages end in divorce.
Because most people misunderstand the role of premarital counseling, it is often overlooked as a pivotal step towards preventing divorce down the road. Too many people see premarital counseling as a sign that the relationship must have problems, or as a sign that one or both parties thinks the marriage may not work out. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even a little counseling before getting married is one of the best ways to work out issues so they don’t become bigger problems, which will provide your new marriage with a solid foundation for life.
Premarital counseling can help you and your partner learn to communicate in a more productive way before you face additional stressors that come from building a life together. Counseling is also a great time to discuss and clarify your mutual preferences and hopes for your marriage.
How does premarital counseling help?
Premarital counseling can help the two of you improve your communication as a couple and break out of painful patterns of interaction.
We'll address any hidden or unresolved issues that could otherwise undermine your relationship down the road.
If you're both excited and nervous about marrying your partner, we can explore what's causing the nervousness, and what would help you to feel better about your upcoming marriage.
Premarital counseling is an opportunity to discuss expectations regarding how you and your mate will handle money during the course of your marriage, how much time you'd like to spend with each other on a daily basis, and/or your thoughts about sex and possibly children.
If it would be helpful, we can discuss how past relationship trauma and/or how your relationships with parents, an ex-spouse, or others might affect your marriage.
When should you start premarital counseling?
It’s often useful to start premarital counseling once you become engaged, or soon afterwards. This allows you both plenty of time to build a strong foundation for your marriage rather than having regrets later about not having done the work needed to strengthen the relationship.
You shouldn’t view pre-marriage counseling as a sign that you're not confident about your relationship. Rather, understand it as a commitment to making your marriage work well.
How long should premarital counseling last?
Premarital counseling often lasts the length of a couple's engagement, although it's entirely up to you.
Some couples find the process so helpful that they continue with marriage counseling after the wedding. They see it as a way to foster trust and closeness, and to identify and handle problems before they become full-blown. In short, they put enough attention on “relationship maintenance.”
Do you offer virtual (“online”) premarital counseling sessions?
Yes. I meet with couples via videoconference, and have been receiving very positive feedback regarding this.
If you'd like to find out if I'm the right couples counselor for you and your partner, feel free to contact me to schedule a 15-minute phone consultation at no charge.