July 21, 2022
Can Pre-Marital Counseling Save My Future Marriage?
Written by Sara Lane
She said yes! Congratulations, you’ve found the person you’re ready to spend the rest of your life with. How exciting!
You may be asking yourself…what comes next?
Researching your next steps suggests you’re in the right place. You want to give your marriage the best head start possible.
You want to experience a love with your partner that will last forever.
Research suggests that one of the best ways to prepare for marriage is quite simple – start premarital counseling with your future spouse.
Steps for Success:
1. What to Expect
In addition to gushing over your significant other, premarital counseling involves a good deal of “hard work” interpersonally. Here’s what you can expect from your counseling session:
The first session of premarital counseling will likely involve a meet-and-greet with your counselor, as you introduce yourselves and your relationship. Your counselor may ask you some basic questions such as:
- How long have you been dating?
- How did you meet?
- What do you like about this person?
- When is your wedding?
- What are you hoping to gain from premarital counseling?
You may not have answers to all of these questions and that’s OK. Your counselor may just be getting the ball rolling. These introspective questions are meant to explore who you are as a couple and what areas your counselor will focus on in your counseling sessions.
A more thorough list of premarital questions can be found here.
Common topics of discussion in premarital counseling include issues like:
- Financial habits & debt
- Child-rearing and parenting styles
- Communication how to’s
- Gender roles & expectations
- Conflict resolution road map
- How to handle disagreements
- Faith & cultural differences
- Attachment styles
Imagine for example that the love of your life forgot to mention their mountain of credit card debt. Knowing how you both plan to navigate those finances in marriage is essential to avoiding a conflict collision later.
Pre-marital counseling can help prevent small disagreements before they blow up into something bigger.
If you had always anticipated that your spouse would take out the trash or complete other chores around the house, it’s important to clarify those expectations with your spouse ahead of time.
After all, they may be expecting the same thing of you!
Premarital counseling at its core identifies the weaknesses in your relationship, and inspires growth as you turn them into strengths.
You can better prepare your future spouse and yourself for success simply by booking your first appointment.
2. Honesty is the Best Policy
Whoever said that honesty is the best policy is absolutely right when it comes to premarital counseling. Approaching your sessions with a humble spirit and being willing to learn are important to preparing for positive results.
It may be intimidating to spill your secrets to a stranger, particularly one that you’ve just met. Especially your dirty laundry (ex’s, poor conflict strategies, bad habits, etc.).
But that is absolutely essential to getting the most out of your premarital counseling sessions.
You may fear that your future spouse will react negatively to what you have to say, or even want to end the relationship. However, holding back this information to keep your significant other is a recipe for disaster.
It’s better to share this information in a safe and nurturing environment in premarital counseling than to hold it in til after the marriage. If you withhold important information from your future spouse, it could significantly damage your relationship after you get married.
Contrary to the fear that tells couples to keep their secrets to themselves, sharing risky secrets can actually be a bonding experience. In the long run, it could solidify your relationship and create a foundation of trust for both you and your partner.
3. Benefits of Premarital Counseling
There are many benefits to working on interpersonal issues with your partner. Not only will premarital counseling inspire both people to become better partners, it may illuminate areas of growth between the two of you.
Overall, premarital counseling is meant to give you a blueprint for engineering a successful marriage.
4. Solutions to the Real Conflicts
This may include discussing topics that you and your fiancé often argue over. By getting to the heart of the issue with your premarital counselor, your next argument may be drastically different.
Premarital counseling gives couples the opportunity and space to resolve many of these issues before tying the knot.
At times, it can feel like you’ve had the same argument time and time again with your fiancé. However, adding a neutral party’s third person perspective can be incredibly helpful.
First, speaking to your premarital counselor can clarify the issue at hand. Sometimes the issue isn’t really the issue you’re fighting about at all.
While leaving the laundry on the floor instead of the laundry basket may look straightforward, the deeper issue could be the fact that one person may feel overwhelmed by the tasks at hand. Knowing that each person is ready to support the other can make all the difference in coming to a resolution.
Second, your premarital counselor has a unique perspective: they’re unbiased. While you love your fiancé and are committed to their happiness, it can be difficult to see clearly when emotions are high.
A Third Person Perspective
Your premarital counselor can see your conflicts and relationship from a third person perspective and offer arbitrary insight that can help your relationship.
Whatever conflicts you and your fiancé face, it’s always better to get support and be prepared with a premarital counselor. In fact, studies have shown that couples who participate in premarital counseling are 30% more likely to stay married than couples who did not.
Where to Find A Counselor
If you know that premarital counseling is right for you and your partner, the first step is to find a premarital counselor that is right for you. Every premarital counselor is different, just like finding the right pair of shoes.
You’ll want to choose someone that you’re comfortable with, even if you don’t know them personally. Things to look for when choosing a counselor include:
Finding the right type of counselor. There are many niches in which premarital counselors operate. You and your fiancé will want to work together to find the counseling environment that is right for you. These settings could include:
- Online or in-person mental health professionals
- Premarital workbooks & compatibility questionnaires
- couples counseling (just you, your partner, and your therapist) or couples workshops (with other couples)
Choose a Format That Fits Your Busy Schedule
Whether you and your fiancé are planning a short or a long engagement, there will likely be many decisions to make before the wedding. Be sure to find a counseling format that fits your needs, whether online or in-person.
We offer a variety of in-person and online therapy options, so that you and your fiancé can find the format that’s right for you.
Grounding & Self Soothing
Get instant access to your free ebook.