Avoid The Biggest Mistake Engaged Couples Make…
If you want a healthy, happy marriage that lasts a lifetime, premarital counseling for engaged couples is not optional. Trust me. I’ve been a Denver marriage counselor now for a decade, and I have worked with countless couples who struggled enormously as a result of not addressing some problems prior to getting married.
Make premarital counseling a priority as you’re planning for your wedding. You can either do private premarital counseling one-on-one with a marriage counselor, online premarital counseling, or take a premarital course. Just be sure you do it!
Here’s why counseling for engaged couples is critical to a couple’s long-term success:
1) Your relationship will be much more resilient
Couples who go through good marriage counseling together have stronger marriages. It’s easier for couples who’ve done premarital counseling to weather inevitable hardships together. Because they’ve talked openly and honestly, in advance, about the areas of friction they’ll encounter in married life, they will be better equipped with communication strategies and tools to know how to handle them.
Knowing about the possible vulnerabilities of your relationship and planning in advance for how to address them together, will make it much more likely that you will be able to handle them effectively as a couple when they arise.
Think of premarital counseling as being kind of like a fire-drill for inevitable marriage issues you will have. You’ll both know exactly where the fire extinguisher is, what to do, and be able to put the fire out before it burns down your house.
2) You’ll learn practical skills that will make being married easier
It can take a looooooong time — with lots of yelling and smashed plates — for couples to work out fairly basic life-skills together. Relational skills, like how to talk to each other, manage finances, or delegating who is in charge of what around the house can require intentional conversations and compromise.
Furthermore, discussions on how to handle boundaries with families of origin, getting on the same page with parenting styles or navigating religion once kids are in the picture, or even how a couple spends their time on the weekends can either help create connection or frustration. Even the simplest things can turn into fights when someone starts using “that tone” and constructive conversations about how to solve problems can start to feel very difficult.
It simply does not need to be that hard. Premarital counseling is all about teaching you skills you need to solve problems when they first start to come up. Better yet, it allows you to come to agreements before they even become problems — allowing you to head off yucky feeling fights at the pass.
For example, couples who meet with us for premarital counseling do hands-on activities together. These activities include things like creating budgets, negotiating household responsibilities, learning about boundaries, and — most importantly — how to talk to each other, particularly in emotionally charged situations. Having these concrete skills in place before you get married will allow you to spend a lot more of your time in the few years of your marriage enjoying each other, and less time spent screaming at each other about whose turn it is to take out the trash.
3) It will prevent you from having the “You’ve Changed” conversation five years from now.
Great relationships allow for partners to grow and celebrate the unique differences that each individual brings into the relationship. Neither of you are perfect, and you both have hopes and dreams, opinions and preferences, habits and expectations that may be very different from each other. It’s not important that you are in exact alignment about every aspect of your life — you’re different people, and that’s a good thing. What is important is that you have a full picture of who it is that you’re marrying so that you can decide in advance if the things they are bringing to the table are going to be okay with you in the long run.
Before you get married, it’s important to understand what those differences are, and whether the positive aspects of your relationship outweigh the negatives. You need to know before you get married what things about your beloved that are probably NOT going to change, and whether you can live with them for the next 50 years.
Premarital Counseling for Engaged Couples is an Investment in Your Future Relationship
Getting Married is a Big Deal. Do it Right.
Make premarital counseling a priority as you plan for the big day. Five years from now you won’t remember the flowers or what was in the clever gift-bags, but if you do premarital counseling, you will likely be drawing upon the skills that you learned about how to have a happy and healthy relationship with each other.
Growing Self Counseling and Life Coaching offers private premarital counseling sessions with one of our expert marriage counselors. We’re very pleased to be presenting our Premarital Counseling Class, “A Lifetime of Love.” It meets on Sundays via online Zoom video. The class is 6-hours long and covers all the major foundational topics of creating a happy, healthy marriage.
Learn more about our Lifetime of Love Premarital Counseling Class: A Lifetime of Love
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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