I initially wrote about the topic of premarital counseling on my old blog when Michael and I were still engaged and planning our wedding, but as we approach our 5-year anniversary this year, I still think it’s an important topic for engaged couples.
We didn’t choose to do premarital counseling because we were having any sort of trouble prior to our big day, but rather because it sets the foundation for a strong marriage. With the divorce rate so high, we found it important to do everything we could to ensure success. Plus, bonus: many states give you a discount on your marriage license if you take this important pre-wedding step.
Here’s why we would suggest premarital counseling to other engaged couples:
1. It strengthens your relationship.
I distinctly remember that every time Michael and I left counseling, we left with this warm fuzzy feeling about each other. In our sessions, we had a chance to talk about why we love each other, and also discussed potential problem areas that our counselor could help us determine a solution to. We both left feeling equipped with new information about each other and how we can continue to grow as a couple.
2. It helps you prepare for marriage outside of the actual wedding.
The wedding is one day, remember? It’s easy to get really focused on that one day during your planning and forget to put emphasis on what comes after, but what’s most important is to set your marriage up for success. Life is never going to be easy, but premarital counseling can help you both acquire the tools to get through it together.
3. It sets expectations.
What are your thoughts on children, finances, religion, marital roles, sex, social activities, etc., etc., etc. after you’re married? Have you talked about them with your fiancé? Premarital counseling makes you talk about all of your values and beliefs and put them out on the table before you’re married. If you don’t know your fiancé’s preferences now, they might be a marriage-ender later.
4. It opens up the lines of communication.
Michael and I have been pretty good communicators all along (we’re both Italian so the silent treatment isn’t something either of us is really capable of), but counseling teaches us how best to communicate. Plus, adding that un-biased third party in there really helps you see things from both sides.
5. It teaches you how to resolve conflict.
Conflict is inevitable, and in truth, it can be a good thing as long as it’s done right. Wouldn’t you rather it be as harmless as possible? Part of this counseling covers conflict resolution and what’s healthy v. unhealthy. It teaches you how to fight in a productive way.
6. It gives you a positive attitude about counseling in general.
Michael and I are both not really the type to seek counseling, but the truth is that often, people need it! Getting comfortable with premarital counseling means that we’ll both be willing to accept marital counseling if we need it down the road.
Are you and your hubby-to-be considering premarital counseling?