“Make it your goal to create a marriage that feels like the safest place on Earth.”
Is someone you know getting married soon? Maybe it is a close friend, or maybe it is you! If you are getting married, congratulations! As we all know (or have heard), weddings can be extremely fun; but, at the same time, they can be very stressful.
There can be a lot to consider when getting married:
- When to schedule the big date
- Finding an ideal venue
- Inviting loved ones and guests
- Planning the wedding
- Planning the reception
- And the list goes on and on…
But, one thing that may get lost in the wedding planning is premarital counseling. It can be easy to get into the excitement of wedding planning and forget the most important aspect of the wedding: the relationship between the loving parties getting married! Premarital counseling is a tremendous idea for any couple who is about to get hitched, as there are benefits to seeking this type of therapy together as a couple.
What is Premarital Counseling?
Premarital counseling is a type of therapy that is attended by two individuals who are about to pledge a lifelong commitment to one another and have plans to spend the rest of their lives together.
Marriage, for example, is a major event in which people have a celebration for two individuals making this commitment to stay by one another’s side for the rest of their lives. Premarital counseling, therefore, occurs before this event and helps prepare the marrying couple to embark on this impactful, lifelong journey together.
Premarital Counseling Questions
Typically, in a premarital counseling setting, the couple will meet with a couple’s counselor or a marriage and family therapist who will meet with the couple over a course of several weeks to go over a slew of premarital counseling topics. There are different scenarios as to how the sessions could go…
- Sometimes, the counselor will meet with each person individually during the first few weeks, and then the couple will have sessions together
- Other times, the counselor will meet with both individuals together from the onset of therapy, and the couple will continue to meet together over the duration of therapy
Many times, this therapy will lead right up until the wedding is planned (which can be helpful during the stressful time of wedding planning and preparation).
Benefits of Premarital Counseling
There are a number of benefits to premarital counseling that couples may experience. These benefits may come at the time of the counseling (before the marriage) and even after the counseling has been terminated (after the couple has wed).
Benefits of premarital counseling at the time of counseling include:
- Getting to Know One Another Better
- Couples may think they already know each other extremely well (after all, they are making a commitment to spend the rest of their lives together), but in reality, there can still be many things that they do not know about each other
- Sometimes talking with a professional, who is trained in what questions to ask and different areas to pursue, can allow for fruitful discussions and a deeper level of knowledge gained about the other individual
- Address Potential Areas of Conflict
- This is can helpful as conflict can occur both before and after the marriage occurs
- Having the knowledge of when a conflict may occur can help individuals prepare for the conflict, or, even better, help the individuals prevent the conflict from occurring in the first place
- Strengthen Relationship
- By attending premarital counseling, couples often have their relationship strengthened by learning more about the other person and sharing details about themselves and their thoughts that they may not have shared before
- This discussion in a safe space with a professional can allow for deeper intimacy and growth of the relationship.
- Stress Relief
- Talking with a therapist in any capacity can provide a mechanism of stress reduction
- Studies have shown that seeking social support is a major way of reducing stress and anxiety; it is no secret that planning a wedding can be stressful
- Marriage, although pleasant, is a major life change and is a source of stress (remember stress can be good or bad)
- Having a counselor to talk with during this stressful transition as one goes from single to married can be extremely helpful
Benefits of premarital counseling after the counseling has concluded (post-wedding):
- Strategies for Dealing with Conflict
- Having strategies to deal with conflict can be extremely beneficial for couples as conflict is inevitable
- Often times, the issue does not reside in the conflict, but instead with the way the conflict is handled
- Having an idea of how to best handle problems that may come up before they arise can be very helpful to those in a relationship
- This can allow problems to be solved much quicker and can prevent issues from growing into larger issues
- Improved Communication Skills
- Having better communication in the relationship can allow for a more fruitful, caring relationship where each individual is both heard and feels like they are heard
- Understanding how one another sends and receives messages can be helpful in making sure there are less frequent misunderstandings and can help couples stay on the same page as one another
- Navigating Life and Making Decisions
- Often times in premarital counseling couples will discuss things about their future (where to live, how to spend finances, whether or not to have kids, how many kids to have, etc.)
- By discussing these areas beforehand, and with a therapist present to mediate the discussions, couples can get on the same page before these decisions need to be made
- Couples can understand each other’s point of view and where they are coming from when it comes to making decisions, especially major life decisions
- This can help alleviate future stress and anxiety when it comes time to make decisions and can take the guesswork out of the process
- Stress Relief
- Just because the wedding has concluded does not mean the stress will completely subside
- There will always be stressors that present themselves in life and having appropriate stress management techniques can be very rewarding to living a balanced, healthy life
- Further, by seeking counseling together, the couple can help one another with their stress reduction techniques
A Good Investment For All
Altogether, premarital counseling can be an extremely valuable tool for any couple who is considering a lifelong commitment to one another. Premarital counseling can have benefits that are immediate and benefits that are longer lasting. Immediate benefits include stress relief before the wedding and a strengthening of the relationship. Benefits that may come later, even after the wedding, include improved communication skills and helping with making decisions.