Wedding season is upon us! So as an experienced pre-marriage counselor and relationship coach, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about pre-marriage counseling. There are so many reasons why marriage counselors and couples believe premarital counseling is a good investment for a relationship. Here are some FAQs that couples often have when deciding if premarital counseling is right for them:
We have a great relationship and don’t have any issues. How can pre marriage counseling help us?
Even the best relationships could use improvements in conflict resolution and communication. There may be “blind spots” that you’re unaware of that could potentially become an issue later on in your relationship. Pre marriage counseling allows couples to be proactive about these issues before they even arise.
How does pre marriage counseling differ from couples therapy?
In general, premarital counseling is much more structured than traditional couples therapy, particularly if you do a structured premarital program or a premarital class. Many couples enter into premarital counseling without an agenda, or unsure of even what to talk about. An experienced marriage therapist will be able to structure sessions around topics that are common issues that couples tend to come to marriage counseling for later. Typically, premarital counseling is less in depth than couples therapy.
What can I expect in a typical session?
Sessions can be as structured as needed, depending upon the couple. Some couples come into premarital counseling already with an idea of what they would like to focus on, while others enter into the process without an agenda. Premarital counseling can be effective in both of these situations. A good therapist will tailor your sessions to your unique needs. Remember, there doesn’t have to be a problem for premarital counseling to be extremely beneficial. Focusing on relational skills such as communication, conflict resolution, creating common goals, and strengthening relational bonds are key elements in these sessions.
How many sessions do you recommend for pre marriage counseling?
I’ve found the average number of sessions for premarital couples to be 5-7; sometimes more, sometimes less. This totally depends on what couples would like to focus on and how in depth they’d like to go.
There is a lot of information and talking points that we’ve found on the internet on what to talk about before getting married. Why should I pay for premarital counseling?
Private coaching or therapy gives couples the opportunity to focus on the unique needs of their relationship, and to practice new ways of interacting with each other. Additionally, having an objective marriage expert by your side could help you prevent some pitfalls that you may not even be aware of.
Many couples find it helpful to develop a relationship with a therapist so that they can easily come in for maintenance. Similar to finding a good mechanic for your car, having a trusted person to go to for a “tune up” of your relationship is a great benefit.
Pre Marriage Counseling Questions
Many couples want to know… what should we talk about before we say “I Do.” A good premarital counselor will help you explore your relationship from every angle, but here’s a shortlist of pre marriage counseling questions you can try on your own. You don’t need to get on the same page with all of your answers, but starting these conversations will be valuable:
- What are we worried about?
- What does a happy marriage look like to us?
- What’s our vision of financial success?
- Do we want children? How many?
- What we consider infidelity in our relationship? (Including emotional infidelity and financial infidelity).
- What does the commitment of marriage mean to you?
- What are our most important values?
- How do we plan to manage money together?
- Is it important to us to raise our kids in a religious tradition?
- How will we navigate our extended families? (holidays, boundaries, etc.)
- Where will we settle down?
- What will we do about rough patches in our relationship?
- How will we balance responsibilities around the house?
- How are we recreating what we saw in our family of origin in our relationship?
- How do we feel about our sex life? How will we keep the spark alive?
More questions about premarital counseling? We have answers…
I hope this information about premarital counseling helps you both decide if it’s the right decision for you!
xo, Lisa Marie Bobby
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self. She is a licensed psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a board-certified coach, as well as the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.
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