… Is Skipping Premarital Counseling.
If you want a healthy, happy marriage that lasts a lifetime, premarital counseling 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 with 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, or take a premarital counseling class. Just be sure you do it!
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 PMC to weather inevitable hardships together, because they’ve talked openly and honestly, in advance, about the areas of friction the’ll encounter in married life, and 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, like how talk to each other, how to manage finances, who is in charge of what around the house, how we handle boundaries with our families of origin, how we’re going to deal with religion once we have kids, and how we spend our time on the weekends. 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 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 yucky feeling fights off at the pass.
For example, couples who meet with us for premarital counseling do hands-on activities together 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 who’s turn it is to take out the trash.
3) It will prevent you from having the “You’ve Changed” conversation 5 years from now.
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 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.
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. And this winter we’re very pleased to be presenting our Premarital Counseling Class, “A Lifetime of Love.” It meets for 6 weeks on Mondays starting February 9th at 5pm, at our Cherry Creek location.