Premarital counseling is an investment in building a loving, lasting, healthy relationship.
Premarital counseling is an opportunity for you and your partner to discuss your values in key areas of your relationship while you are both excited and in love, before problems present themselves. Like anything else you might plan for, premarital counseling is an opportunity to discuss and plan for things you will encounter in the future. By working through things ahead of time, you can save yourself unpleasant arguments, hurt feelings, and disconnection in your relationship.
Premarital counseling is also an opportunity for you both to explore your relationship needs, preferred communication styles and explore the way you both interact and work together. You are getting married and in love and can’t possibly imagine what might could go wrong, however you are both two unique individuals. We can’t expect anyone to know what we’re thinking, what we need, no matter how many sentences they can finish for us!
Build Communication Skills & Understand Your Attachment Style
The reality is that you and your partner have different perspectives, no matter how similar you feel to one another. Learning how to understand and communicate from those different perspectives is a huge skill that can save your marriage. You may not even realize now how deep your differences go (remember – differences are not a bad thing!). Your culture, upbringing, and personal style can differ from valuing the importance of eating veggies with every meal, where you spend your money, to how you teach your child a work ethic.
You also have preferences for the way you receive and give love. And preferences for how you prefer to connect with others. Understanding your own preferences and that of your partner can increase your connection and ability to give and receive the love you each prefer.
Learn Research Based Relationship Skills
Relationship counseling has an extensive history of research into what works and doesn’t work in marriage. Researchers can even predict divorce based on a few behaviors. Through premarital counseling you and your partner will explore your common behavior patterns and ways of connecting and communicating with one another. Premarital counseling will teach you skills to build a strong, healthy, loving marital foundation.
Relationships are dynamic and change over time. The honeymoon phase bonds us together and keeps us excited about our partner. Later, the excitement may wane, but the love deepens into a long-term romantic love. Relationships settle into patterns, some healthy, some not so healthy. The relationship you have is the one you actively create with your partner over time. Creating a loving, lasting, healthy relationship takes commitment, trust, and the willingness to look at yourself and not just your partner. When both of you are willing to do this you can create the relationship you want for the long haul.
Strengthen Your Relationship Bond
One of the best benefits to premarital counseling is that it can strengthen the bond you have with one another. Learning how to communicate with one another in an effective way, understanding your own and your partner’s needs and how to meet them, and simply talking together about the big things can reinforce and strengthen the connection you have.
Premarital Counseling Questions
Through premarital counseling at Eddins Counseling Group in Houston, Texas, you may consider many questions that explore the values each of you has regarding topics such as parenting, discipline and religion. Though it may not seem important now, or easy to say, “I’m sure that will be easy for us,” it’s much better to talk through these things now.
Once you’re actually faced with value dilemmas as a couple, your relationship may be stressed due to finances or other reasons or you may be shocked to find out that you don’t agree. Premarital counseling isn’t about stirring the pot, but rather thinking through things and becoming aware of the little things you might not have even realized you care about. Having these conversations now in an open, loving way paves the road for a healthy, long-term relationship.
Premarital counseling questions for exploration in your counseling sessions might include:
- Your love for your partner. What drew you together? What are your relationship strengths?
- Your goals and expectations. Through premarital counseling you will discuss a shared vision for your future together. You’ll also want to discuss and explore your day to day expectations of your partner, particularly through life changes such as having children. What gender role expectations do you have and how have your family’s gender roles impacted your beliefs and expectations?
- Relationships with family members. No matter what, the bond between you as a couple is the most important. Other than that, you may want to explore relationships with family members, boundaries, how you spend your time together, how you will spend holidays together.
- How you approach problems and what you need in times of stress. You will have stress. However, everyone handles things differently and it can be useful to know what both your needs are and your partner’s.
- Life and family building. You can discuss expectations ranging from where you’d like to settle down, career plans, and whether you’d like to build a family and what that might look like.
- How will you handle finances. It’s important to understand both how you and your partner manage money, what your priorities and goals are as well as how you plan on managing it together. Consider joint accounts, retirement, budgeting, savings, debts, and major purchases you value such as where to live, children’s education, parental support, etc.
- Spirituality. What are your religious preferences, traditions, values.Do you plan to take the kids to church? Which one? Every Sunday? Not at all?
- Discipline. What consequences will you provide your children? How will you handle conflict, disagreements, and misbehavior?
- Intimacy and connection. What makes you feel loved? What does your partner do that makes you feel connected? What would you like your intimacy with one another to be like?
- Conflict resolution. How do you approach problems and important decisions to be made? How will you resolve conflict? What is your experience with conflict? In premarital counseling, you can also explore conflict resolution styles based on each of your unique personality types and learn effective strategies for working together when disagreements present themselves.
Even though these are tough questions, the answers are important. They’re important not only because they give you another glimpse into your compatibility, but because they will affect the lives of your future children. If you are on opposite sides of the fence in a lot of ways when it comes to parenting, your future family life will be strengthened and enhanced by premarital relationship counseling.
Blending a Family & Step-Parenting
If one or both of you already has children, parenting issues or questions about blending a family or step-parenting may have already surfaced. It can be confusing
both for parents and children! Premarital counseling incorporates skills common to couples therapy, marriage counseling and family therapy on roles and relationships, effective parenting, communication skills, and boundary setting. You may also want to discuss co-parenting and how to involve your partner in the process. It’s normal to experience difficult emotions when blending a family. It can be helpful to process these and ensure you have a solid foundation as you build your family together.
Pre marriage counseling can address your questions and concerns about blending a family, step-parenting and how to help your children transition smoothly. There are a number of factors to explore such as rituals and traditions, roles and responsibilities, managing schedules and time together, relationship expectations and parenting issues, difficulty accepting a new parent, and of course changes in family relationships, Learning communication skills from the beginning and ways to strengthen the bonds with children and each other can go a long way in establishing a solid foundation for your new family.
Build a Healthy Relationship Foundation
Having a stable, healthy relationship has been shown to positively impact your physical health, your mental health, increase resiliency and of course, improve your quality of life. Investing in a solid foundation is well worth it for the long-term!
How to Get Started with Premarital Counseling
Our premarital counseling providers are licensed therapists with specialized marital counseling and couples counseling training. They have worked extensively with couples at various stages of their relationship. They understand the roadblocks couples often encounter along the way as well as the benefit of building communication skills, coping skills, and conflict resolution skills from the beginning.
Further, learning to utilize couples counseling as a resource is an excellent tool for your marriage. Think of it as going to the doctor when you get sick. We aren’t taught relationship skills in school. It’s normal to experience bumps along the way when you’re communicating, bonding and partnering with another person. Relationship counseling is there to teach you skills you haven’t learned elsewhere.